Share of voice: a quick guide for marketers
What does share of voice really mean, and how do you measure it? In this guide, we’ll explore the different facets of this essential marketing and PR indicator.
Table of contents
a. Definition of share of voice in marketing
In digital marketing, the share of voice of an organization (also commonly referred to under the acronym SOV) is usually defined as the share of conversations generated around their brand, products or services on different channels (news sites, blogs, forums, social media, even offline channels) in comparison to its direct competitors.
In other words, it is an indicator that allows you to measure brand awareness on your different marketing channels compared to your competitors. This is basically a form of competitive analysis. This indicator can also be further broken down by topic, region or language to extract additional insights for your strategy.
Some marketing professionals even go beyond mere brand mentions, and look at the SEO ranking and click through rate of owned content for specific keywords.
Pro tip: don’t limit yourself, go beyond simply measuring your social media share of voice and explore your brand presence on other channels.
b. Share of voice vs share of topic: what’s the difference?
These two terms are almost synonyms. The only difference is that share of voice might refer to a more general context (overall comparison with competitors), while the share of topic specifically indicate that you’re comparing brand mentions within a specific topic of conversation.
Let’s say you’re an automotive brand who produces electric cars - you’ll monitor public discussions on the topic of electric cars, and compare how much your brand is mentioned compared to your competitors. You could also measure your brand mentions linked to autonomous cars, or the safest cars, for example, and contrast these results with the previous topic.
Basically, share of topic is very similar to the concept of share of voice, just focused on a specific subject matter.
The share of topic indicator is used to evaluate the performance of a brand’s communication strategy. Your overall share of voice might be very strong, but are you top of mind in discussions surrounding topics that are directly linked to your products and services? Are your key messages reflected in the conversations of your consumers? This metric will help you determine whether you’re getting to your target audience.
c. Share of voice vs impression share: what’s the difference?
Impression share looks at the percentage of people searching for a specific keyword that will be shown your ads. This number will be impacted by the amount of budget you have available compared to the daily search volume of said keyword. Basically, impression share allows you to measure the audience penetration of your ads, while the share of voice looks at your overall brand awareness. This metric is typically used to measure the performance of Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.
If you want to learn more about this metric, I recommend this article from the Digital Reach Agency blog.
In order for people to buy your products and services, your brand needs to be visible. This is why brand awareness is one of the top objectives of most marketing teams, but which indicators do you use to measure your performance? The share of voice of your brand is a great metric to help you gauge how visible your brand is as well as to evaluate the results of your marketing efforts over a specific time period, in a specific region, or amongst different channels.
A thorough analysis of your share of voice will help you understand the impact your brand is making on the industry, as well as identify how you can improve your social strategy and reach your business goals.
The “Elbow Grease” Approach - Use a free mention or alerts tool
Identify all mentions of your brand for a set period of time, as well as those of your most important competitors through automated alerts (yes, this will take time!).
Once you have your total number of mentions (own brand + competitors), it’s time to pull out your calculator or excel sheet and calculate the percentage represented by each brand. Here’s a little formula to help you picture this, if you’re looking at your own brand (brand X) in comparison to your competitors (brands Y & Z).
(Number of mentions of brand X / total number of brand mentions (X+Y+Z)) x 100 = share of voice in %.
If you want to go deeper in your analysis, remember that not all brand mentions are equal. Comparing absolute numbers is an interesting exercise, but context is everything. Add a qualitative analysis next to your share of voice pie chart to put these results in context (e.g. a surge in brand mentions from Taylor Swift fans is probably not very valuable if you’re a high-level SaaS provider, since they’re most likely not the type of consumer that might buy your product).
You could qualify these mentions based on:
- The sentiment of the post (positive/negative/neutral)
- The nature of the publication (is it the Wall Street Journal? Is it a relevant trade publication?)
- The prominence of your brand in the text (is it in the title of the article? Is it mentioned in passing? Is it the main topic of the article?)
Potential tools you can use: Google or Talkwalker Alerts (also include Twitter results).
If you want to go beyond the spreadsheet approach we suggested above, here are a few tools you may consider to help you automate this task.
Talkwalker Analytics - one platform to automate your share of voice monitoring
Calculating share of voice can be very tedious and time-consuming without a listening tool to help you collect all of your brand mentions. Additionally, let’s face it: you just won’t be able to capture everything manually or through freemium solutions. Just look at our client HelloFresh, who’s now finding 400% more monthly mentions thanks to the monitoring system they’ve put in place!
Advantages of a professional listening tool when it comes to share of voice:
● Broader coverage (news sites, blogs, forums, social media platforms, hidden visual mentions in images and videos)
● One platform for all your data: online, social, own company data
● Ability to slice and dice the data based on specific topics, channels, markets, languages, etc.
● Ongoing monitoring of your brand reputation through real-time dashboards.
● Automated reports delivered straight to your inbox at the end of each month to gain time.
Pro tip: Consider monitoring visual mentions of your brand (earned mentions of your brand logo in images and videos), especially if you’re a B2C brand. In the age of the smartphone, people upload billions of lifestyle videos and images on social, and several of these feature your brand logo without mentioning your brand in the text.
Let’s make it very simple: you need to get your audience and others to talk about your brand. Here are three main segments you should consider:
● Traditional media: these mentions are traditionally achieved through great PR & sponsorship strategy.
● Influencers/industry experts: there is a reason why 69% of marketing & PR professionals rank influencer marketing as an important or top strategic priority. A brand mention by the right influencer can do wonders for your brand awareness. Start building long-term relationships with key players of all sizes within your target audience.
● User-generated content: As Jay Baer puts it in one of his articles, “the best way to grow share of voice is to delight your customers. Delighted customers create satisfaction-driven content, which reaches other customers and prospective customers of your brand, essentially doing your marketing for you.”
You might still be wondering what a share of voice report looks like in practice. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: here is a simulated brand report for Tesla, one of the automotive industry’s most radical players!