Taking it back to middle-school biology, an “ecosystem” is defined as “a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” In reference to the above definition, your Digital Marketing Ecosystem consists of 3 different spaces, which contain various interconnected elements. How effortlessly these elements and their respective spaces interact with one another will dictate your success as a system (aka a brand). We’ll address the three spaces that every digital marketing ecosystem should consist of and further explore the elements that make up each space.

Rented Space

Your rented space is where you play by the rules set forth by the environment. For example, blog post links are fed to Facebook, high-quality photos belong on Instagram, and ready-made infographics are at home on Pinterest. As marketers, we post at the opportune time with the ideal frequency and we never exceed 20% text in Facebook Ads. In our rented space, we use the features available to us in order to share our message, and ultimately send traffic to the place where we can dictate the rules.

Earned Space

Your earned space represents the environment’s thoughts and opinions of your brand. It’s anywhere people gather to retell your story and review your services. It may be tempting to pay people to say certain things or employ black hat tactics to rise to the top of search engines — but the truth typically emerges at one point or another. To ensure the healthiest relationship between your rented, earned, and owned spaces, it’s best to stick to the basics: offer a high-quality product &/or service, create valuable content and continue to network within your industry and community.

Owned Space

The only space that is truly yours is your website. You dictate the format and the messaging. You’re literally the king of this domain. Trailblazers beware! While there is always room for innovation, your audience expects things to flow a certain way. Your owned space needs to play nicely with your rented and earned spaces — meaning the transition should be seamless. At no time should he or she have to wait for a page to load or bounce around in search of a phone number.

Enough with the ecological metaphors, how does one ensure their rented, earned and owned spaces are all working together? Here are a few ground rules.

Opt for complete solutions.

As a digital marketing agency, we often come face-to-face with small business owners who are unwilling to let go of the wheel. They either want to maintain control of each piece themselves, or they have sought out piecemeal solutions thinking that asset diversity applies to marketing. On the contrary, your rented, earned and owned spaces should feature the same messaging, to the same established audience and funnel all of these individuals to the same destination. This isn’t a scenario where your right hand shouldn’t know what your left is doing — the ideal digital marketing ecosystem consists of groups and elements that are all working toward the same end.

Nurture each space.

Because each space and their elements are interconnected, you shouldn’t neglect a platform where your audience lives. It’s important to first analyze data to identify where your audience in fact lives. If business is booming and Facebook is only responsible for a negligible percent of your website traffic and conversions — by all means, pull the plug! However, if your content is sporadic and adds little value to your community, we’d recommend giving it an honest go before writing off a space where 1.9 billion users live…

Let data drive you.

If you’re still wondering how one “identifies where your audience lives” — it’s time to take a dive into the data. At Alter Endeavors, we don’t believe having a presence in every available space is the best approach. Our method is to select spaces based on where your audience currently lives online and where your brand can offer them value. While we customize the content for the functionality and the demographics of the platform, there is always brand cohesion. We incorporate analytics into our strategy to ensure users see more of what they engage with and are reminded of the owned space where they can easily purchase the product or employ the service they’re searching for.

We encourage you to audit your digital marketing ecosystem and identify which spaces may be lacking. If you’re unsure of how to go about this or know you’re missing key elements — don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll dive into the data and provide the ecosystem overhaul your business needs.