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Marketing Academy.

Is your brand strong enough? Measure it with Share of Voice

As we know, marketing is extraordinarily effective in the first years of a brand's life, when penetration and market share are low.

But how can we measure the strength of the brand and understand where we are and our future?

With the Share Of Voice [SOV].

What is share of voice?

To understand this, let's limit ourselves to a simple case, considering only digital marketing. In this context, an organization's Share Of Voice (SOV) is often defined as the share of conversations generated around its brand, product or service, across different channels of communication (news sites, blogs, forums, social media and even offline channels) compared to its direct competitors.

In other words, SOV is a metric that allows us to measure brand awareness across different channels and compare it to that of competitors. We can define it as a sort of competitive analysis. SOV metrics can be further segmented by topic, geography, and language to gain further insight and further improve your strategy.

One of the heuristics present in the literature is that the SOV of a brand is spontaneously similar to its market share (Share Of Market - SOM). When it is not, the growth in brand strength is proportional to the 'extra' share of voice (ESOV), defined as SOV – SOM. Brands that set their ESOV above the equilibrium level will tend to grow; brands that set their ESOV below it will tend to shrink.

ESOV = (Share of Voice) – (Share of Market)

Also as brands get bigger, the efficiency of ESOV increases. It is therefore both a predictor of our future success and an index of the quality of our marketing.

How do new brands with low Share of Voice survive?

It's clear: in the real world many new brands survive, despite low or no SOV. How do you explain it? Rogers's diffusion model, which describes the product life cycle, predicts that new brands can grow exponentially in their first months even without advertising as long as new people continue to try the new product spontaneously, then recommending it to their friends. This obviously presupposes an excellent product. It is no coincidence that one of the mantras of Deep Marketing is that you should invest in marketingonly ifthe product/service is of excellent quality, otherwise the foundations are missing.However, just because new brands could get away with low Share Of Voice doesn't mean they should. To achieve maximum long-term sales in a competitive environment, a brand launch should see the maximum investment possible to activate SOV, because THAT is the exact moment when the brand is seen as interesting and many people are willing to experiment with it. As time passes, this “advantage of novelty” will disappear.In fact, advertising works better when existing memory structures (relating to the brand) are fresh and stimulated, rather than when they are not. Once out of the “prolific” phase of a brand launch, a subsequent relaunch or rebranding is slow and highly inefficient, requiring high levels of spending over a long period.

People clothes
How do small brands with low SOV survive?

How do I measure my Share of Voice?

Measuring SOV is a fairly straightforward process on paper: you need to identify all mentions related to your brand over a period of time, as well as mentions of your most important competitors.

Once you have all the total mentions (of your brand and your competitors), it's time to break out the calculator or Excel sheet to figure out what percentage each brand represents. The formula is quite simple. If “X” is your brand and “Y” and “Z” are your competitors' brands:

Share of Voice = (Mentions X) / (Mentions X + Y + Z) * 100

Trivially, if your brand has 500 mentions and the total mentions are 2000, your SOV is 25%.

If you want to do a more in-depth analysis, keep in mind that not all brand mentions are the same. Comparing absolute numbers is an interesting exercise, but context is key. A qualitative analysis should be added next to the SOV pie chart, to contextualize the results. For example, if you're in the business of providing a high-profile SaaS service, increased mentions of your brand by Taylor Swift fans may not be of great value, as this audience may not be interested in your service.

Copyright Brandwatch
Copyright Brandwatch

How do I quantify the qualitative aspects?

Weighing the qualitative strength of a quote is not exactly within everyone's reach, but let's try to find some elements of simplification. You can qualify mentions by:

  • The sentiment of the post (positive/negative/neutral)

  • The quality of the publication (is it the Wall Street Journal or some unknown page?)

  • The relevance given to your brand in the text (is it in the title of the article? Is it the main topic?)

In general, there are four main areas to focus on when calculating share of voice:

Share of voice on social media

“Conversations” about your brand from consumers across different social platforms increase your SOV on social media. Social media analytics tools simplify the data collection process by identifying all mentions of your brand or product across all platforms. You can then compare your brand measurements to those of your competitors to understand your relevance in the market.

Share of voice PPC

Share of voice PPC measures the visibility of your ad by comparing potential ad views to actual impressions. Google Ads allows you to calculate this as an impression share, taking into account your campaign settings and keywords to determine this “potential” visibility.

Share of voice SEO

Calculating share of voice on organic search is less simple, but can be achieved using SEO tools, which compare the visibility of your search on keywords important to your business with your competition.

First, you need a list of the top keywords relevant to your industry. These are the words that get the most clicks for a particular topic. Then paste this list into a tool like Rank Tracker from the famous Ahrefs, and enter the domains of your competitors. In the “Competitors Overview” tab, the visibility metric will show you your share of organic search entries.

This is the share of all clicks on the keywords that you have tracked, which are directed to each site. Use this data to determine if you have any gaps in visibility on key topics for your business, and see where you might need to increase your efforts to be more competitive.

Share of voice in the media

In media, measure mentions of your brand on websites and news blogs. Which industry publications talk about your brand and in what context? How many industry experts or journalists write about you and in what light? This gives you an idea of the popularity of your brand among peers and industry experts.

Additionally, you can also identify which publications talk about your competitors and compare how many publications mention them versus you. This will give you an idea of which publications to focus on for your outreach and PR efforts.

Conclusion

Ultimately, SOV is a powerful metric, and all in all easy to calculate if we limit ourselves to the basic quantitative aspects. It becomes a much more complicated game when we also take into consideration the "weight" of the different mentions.

Even more importantly: we must measure the Excess Share Of Voice (ESOV) compared to our market share as much as possible, because it is an excellent predictor of the future medium term of our brand. And that's the way to go.

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