Who's Winning the Battle Between Paid and Earned Media?

360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter Weighs In On Ad Age's Digital Crash Course

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There are two basic weapons in the battle for online attention: creativity and technology.

Ever since the advent of the remote control, audiences have tried to banish ads, and ad blocking is making the battle between a marketer and its target audience even more pitched.

Given this dilemma, do advertisers shore up their efforts through technology, essentially force-feeding their message to the audience? Or do they double down on creative in hopes of catching the audience's attention?

Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i and the expert in our final installment of Ad Age's Digital Crash Course, brings a fresh perspective to the debate, pointing out that content an audience willingly watches should not be equated to content audiences avoids.

"I'm paying to interrupt your experience, and that's considered equal to something your best friend just shared with you?" Ms. Hofstetter asked. "That doesn't make any sense."

The advertising-averse consumer disdains just one side of the marketing mix: paid media. Meanwhile, earned media is doing what its always done, gathering and holding the collective attention of those who wish to consume it.

If so many consumers are turned off by page take-overs; ignore banner ads; get creeped out by social media marketing; and are annoyed by 30-second pre-roll in front of a video, then why do marketers still rely so heavily on paid media? In this video, Ms. Hofstetter explains why.