Share of Voice vs Share of Search

By Georgia Ward

In a recent article for Marketing Week, columnist and marketing professor Mark Ritson shared details of a new metric to challenge the traditional ‘Share of Voice’ theory to enable brands to understand their position in the market more accurately in-keeping with modern marketing channels.

What is share of voice & share of market? 

Share of voice (SOV) is a measure of the market your brand owns compared to your competitors, while share of market (SOM) is your brand’s percentage of total sales for the market category for the same timeframeBy calculating both SOV and SOM, brands can see the link between the top and bottom of their marketing funnel – how much they need to spend to generate a certain percentage of the market. 

The SOV formula: SOV = Your brand’s total spend total market spend 

The SOM formula: SOM = (Your brand’s revenue from X time period/ (industry revenue from X time period) 

Although, in theory, these measurements are a good gauge for your brand visibility and how much you dominate the conversation in your industry, the data that is needed to calculate an accurate percentage is not always readily available, which can make it difficult to regularly measure.  

So, what’s the alternative? 

Ritson shared the concept of ‘Share of Search’, a new theory being tested by marketers to track the comparison of online brand searches within a specific category, rather than the total marketing spend. The concept of the formula is to measure a brands position further down the marketing funnel to get a more accurate analysis of its performance in the market. 

Ritson provided the following example of how share of search could work: “If we apply the idea of SOV to search and call it ESOS – excess share of search – we could incorporate those different category relativities and the impact of brand size too. Your brand has a 15% market share but enjoyed 30% of the total search frequency last month. Congratulations, you have +15 ESOS and we know that translates into X% of market share growth in your category per year. 

One major benefit of share of search is that brands who don’t rely heavily on regular advertising can benchmark themselves against their competitors, unlike SOV. Also, search data is continually updated, unlike industry revenue data which is usually available on a quarterly or annual basis, meaning that businesses can regularly track and measure their share of search. 

So, is this the future of marketing measurementWe ask the hospitality marketing experts at Custard: 

Georgia, head of marketing: 

“This concept is a very clear way for businesses who are in very definitive markets, such as hotels and venues, to measure their performance and brand position. Search is the largest responsive channel for brands to be using right now, with 51% of all internet traffic driven from organic search results and 97% of consumers searching for a business online before making a purchase or booking. Being able to frequently access this insight and benchmark themselves against their competitors is invaluable to assess their marketing efforts against their objectives. This type of data is gold dust to marketers and brands, so I am positive that this will soon be a regular metric used in reporting, as long as Google can deliver it in an accessible format.” 

Petra, CEO & founder: 

“Without a doubt the hospitality industry must focus on ‘search’ right now. Searchability, discoverability and sales funnels are key to securing revenues from lucrative audiences. A share of search is exactly what we want to use to focus on measuring the success of a brand and its communications strategy. The market is very fragmented right now and finding tangible, credible metrics to measure share of voice is complicated and doesn’t always inform enough to adjust marketing or business strategies. By focusing on share of search and investing more into searchability, brand communication and analysing consumer behaviour we can ensure every pound is well spent rather than wasted in brand ego and broadcast that doesn’t convert to bookings. 

Anna, account manager:

“Searching behaviour online has inevitably shifted in the past 12 months, reflecting the necessity for answers, solutions and innovation in such a constantly changing landscape within the industry and beyond. Regularly monitoring which hospitality businesses are driving online interest gives a much stronger insight into customer demand than simply seeing which businesses can shout the loudest through share of voice. It becomes an accurate assessment of the business through the eyes of the consumer, rather than through the eyes of the business itself. Nailing your online discoverability should therefore take prominence in your marketing strategy to monitor, assess and revise your content on an ongoing basis to reflect online behaviour, appropriate sentiment, and demand.

Maria, account director:

“It’s about time we have a measurement suitable for the digital era. There is still so much talk about ‘share of voice’, but the research is pretty clear: There is little correlation between how much people are talking about a brand on social media and how well these brands actually perform in the real world. Search data, however, is a much better indication of intention to buy, which makes it a key measurement of actual consumer behaviour. In the current climate, it is vital for businesses to put discoverability at the top of their marketing agenda, investing in searchability and analysis of what their customers are actually looking for.” 

To read the full article on Marketing Weekclick here 

If you are looking to elevate your marketing strategy and generate more outcomes from your efforts, Custard can support you in driving your business forward. Get it touch with our team for more information.