Share of voice: What it is and how to measure it
As brands find new channels and avenues to promote their products, there’s no shortage of data to track and measure. The sheer amount of performance data available often leaves marketers overwhelmed. Which metrics matter to you and which ones should you focus on?
Share of voice (SOV) is a metric that illustrates your place in the market, making it a great place to start. It puts all of your other social media metrics into context so you can understand where your brand stands.
Does your brand come up in relevant conversations about the type of products you sell? Do people consider your company a leader in the industry? If not, you might have a problem with your brand’s share of voice.
In this post, we explore this metric in-depth and show you ways you can build up your share of voice on social media and other channels.
Table of contents:
- What is share of voice?
- Why you need to measure share of voice
- How to calculate share of voice
- What you can measure with share of voice
- How to increase your share of voice on social media
- Benefits of measuring share of voice
What is share of voice?
Share of voice (SOV) is a measure of the market your brand owns compared to your competitors. It acts as a gauge for your brand visibility and how much you dominate the conversation in your industry. The more market share you have, the greater popularity and authority you likely have among users and prospective customers.
While SOV typically referred to a brand’s share of paid advertising in a competitive marketplace, it has a broader definition that can include various elements of digital marketing and advertising, including mentions on social media and traffic for certain keywords.
By knowing your SOV, your brand has a better understanding of the challenges and your current position in the market, giving you more insight into how to achieve growth and captivate users.
Why you need to measure share of voice
Measuring your brand’s share of voice helps you see the bigger picture and where your brand fits into it. It adds context to your performance data, allowing you to pinpoint opportunities for growth and improvement.
There are plenty of areas where calculating your share of voice benefits your business:
Social media share of voice metrics extract insights from authentic conversations that are happening on social media. They look at what people are saying about a certain brand or topic and use that information to determine consumer opinions and preferences. Sprout Social’s social listening tools are one way to gain these insights from customer conversations.
With share of voice data, you may be able to identify exactly why people are choosing your brand over the competition or vice versa. For instance, maybe your products are more budget-friendly or your customer service is exceptional. Or perhaps your competitors have a website that’s a lot more intuitive than yours and they offer better shipping options.
Moreover, you may even be able to identify opportunities to reach untapped audience segments. For example, if you run a skincare line, there are people who’ve always wanted to use your products but would prefer fragrance-free versions of them
Knowing your competitors is the key to setting your brand apart. Identifying their strengths and weaknesses will help you develop strategic ways to catch up or get ahead.
Using SOV calculation, you can find out exactly where you stack up to the competition. Which brand is dominating the conversations in your industry? How much share of voice do they have compared to yours? Where are the conversations happening? And what’s the sentiment around those conversations?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help you identify opportunities to improve and set your brand apart. You can uncover new opportunities by conducting in-depth competitor analysis with a share of voice lens.
Share of voice data shows you the number of conversations around your brand and the sentiment behind those conversations. This allows you to monitor your brand reputation and benchmark it against that of your competitors.
Changes in those benchmarks could indicate a brewing controversy or a potential product issue. It’s particularly important to track while running a new campaign. This helps prepare you to quickly develop an appropriate response and manage your brand reputation.
How to calculate share of voice
Use the following formula to calculate share of voice:
Share of voice = Your brand metrics / Total market metrics
The same share of voice formula applies across all marketing channels with slight variations on the specific metrics. For example, while you track brand mentions for social SOV, link clicks will determine organic search SOV.
Now it’s easier than ever to calculate share of voice with tools that can do the hard work for you and give you fairly precise results.
Generally, there are four major areas to focus on when calculating share of voice:
Social media share of voice
Consumer conversations across different social platforms add up to your social media share of voice. This makes it a highly accurate metric since you’re measuring actual posts and conversations from consumers.
Social media analytics tools simplify this process by identifying all your brand or product mentions across platforms. You can then compare your brand measures against those of the competition to find out just where you stand.
The social listening tools from Sprout Social will help you visualize share of voice data. You also get a breakdown of the data based on engagements, impressions, unique authors and sentiment. You can also narrow down the results by network, keywords and other advanced filters.
PPC share of voice
Your PPC share of voice measures your ad visibility by comparing the potential number of times an ad could’ve showed up vs. the actual number of times it showed up. Google AdWords lets you calculate this as Impression Share and takes into consideration your campaign and keyword settings to determine this “potential” visibility.
Here’s how to find this dat: from your Google AdWords account, go to the Campaigns tab and click on the columns icon. Then select Modify columns and click on Competitive metrics. You can then choose the impression share columns you want to track.
You can use your PPC SOV data to determine how effective your campaigns are currently, or where you need to fine-tune your budget.
SEO share of voice
Calculating share of voice on organic search is a little less straightforward, but can be accomplished by using SEO tools that compare your search visibility on important keywords for your business to competitors.
First, you need a list of main keywords relevant to your industry. These are keywords that get the most clicks for a particular topic. Then paste this list into a tool like Rank Tracker from Ahrefs and enter your competitors’ domains. In the “Competitors” overview tab, the visibility metric will show you your organic search share of voice.
This is the share of all clicks from the keywords you tracked that landed on each site. Use this data to determine if you have gaps in your visibility on key topics for your business, and where you may need to increase your competitive research efforts.
Media share of voice
Media share of voice measures your brand mentions across news websites and blogs. Which industry publications are talking about your brand and in what context? How many industry experts or journalists are writing about you and in what light? This gives you an idea of your brand popularity among peers and industry experts.
Additionally, you can also identify which publications are talking about your competitors and compare how many publications are mentioning them compared to you. This will give you an idea of which publications to focus on for your outreach and PR efforts.
To calculate your media SOV, you can use the same social listening tools that you use for calculating your social media SOV. Tools like Sprout already include news outlets and blogs in their analysis, so you just need to select the appropriate filters to narrow down the results on media mentions.
What you can measure with share of voice
Examples of metrics to calculate for SOV include:
- Organic keywords
- Pay per click (PPC) keywords
5 ways to increase your share of voice on social media
Social media is a great channel to actively increase your brand share of voice for quicker results that you can measure and refine.
It can take time to analyze the impact of your SEO and PPC campaigns, which also delays your SOV measurement. And you have a little less control over your media SOV since it involves working with third-party publications.
Meanwhile, social media is easier to control and adjust. You can quickly analyze performance and then make changes to optimize your efforts.
Try out these five tips to boost your social media SOV specifically.
1. Always be active on social channels
For your brand to gain visibility on social media, you need to be active.
A single Tweet a day or Instagram post an Instagram post a day isn’t going to cut it when you consider the millions of conversations happening on social networks every day. Plus, social algorithms continue to prioritize behaviors like active engagement and regular posting. Unless you actively and consistently share content, all the noise will drown out your voice. That means your competitors have the perfect opportunity to grow their share of voice while you’re left behind.
To increase your brand voice on social media, you need to start posting frequently and consistently. You can use our research on the best times to post or examine your analytics to look for trends in how posts at different times of day perform. Keep on track by creating a social media calendar to plan your content ahead of time, and schedule your posts consistently.
2. Engage, don’t just broadcast
Avoid the mistake of solely using social media as just another content distribution channel. Rather, it’s a place for communities to connect and engage with each other.
That means in addition to posting regularly, you should also engage with your audience. Respond to their comments and messages – whether it’s to answer a question, resolve a complaint or provide support.
Beyond customer queries and complaints, consider responding to positive brand mentions. Use the opportunity to acknowledge and thank your loyal customers for choosing you.
In fact, the Sprout Social Index, Edition XVII: Accelerate found that consumers think that the top traits that make a brand best in class on social offer strong customer service (47%) and engage their audience (46%).
It’s no wonder that brands like Wendy’s are so popular on social media. The fast-food chain actively responds to fans and haters alike.
that sounds good tbh
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) July 15, 2021
You can use the right content formats to create more opportunities for your followers to engage with you. Create social media polls, ask them questions, get them to vote between two options in your Instagram Stories or start a hashtag challenge and get them to participate.
You can also encourage people to share user-generated content to drive more social media visibility for your brand. Then engage with those posts and share them on your accounts.
3. Create share-worthy social content
One of the best ways to get people talking about your brand is to create share-worthy content.
Create content that provides value to your audience, which will then encourage them to share it with their audience. That means your content should do any one of the following:
- Educate and inform them
- Inspire them
- Entertain them
You could share tips, motivational quotes and how-to guides that are practical and relevant to your audience. Or you could share the latest industry news to inform them about the landscape. You could even share relevant memes and jokes that your audience can relate to. Whatever you decide to share, make sure it resonates with your audience and fits your brand voice and identity.
Cult Beauty, for instance, regularly shares makeup inspiration videos, skincare tips and memes related to the beauty industry.
Did somebody say 'dream team'? ✨
Posted by Cult Beauty on Wednesday, July 7, 2021
4. Push conversations to social
If your customers are engaging in other channels like your blog posts or customer service, consider finding ways to drive conversations to your social profiles. You can consolidate conversations that are occurring across multiple platforms to drive more engagement and ultimately increase your mentions and share of voice.
One way to get your customers to go to social rather than email or phone support is to highlight social customer care on your website. This could be faster response times, easy communication or even getting quick answers with chatbots.
Pushing conversations to social will drive more engagement for your brand socials. It also increases your brand’s social share of voice since there are more conversations and mentions of your brand on social.
In many cases, the conversations will be visible to the public. So a good customer response will reflect positively on your brand reputation. As our Index data on the value of customer care shows, demonstrating how you respond to customers with questions and concerns can help push other prospects closer to a purchase.
5. Go beyond social to drive interest
Increasing your brand’s share of voice doesn’t stop at social media. There are plenty of ways to boost your brand voice using other marketing channels:
- Seek out guest posting opportunities on reputable blogs and feature industry influencers in your own blogs. This is a great way to gain brand mentions in major publications, which can simultaneously boost your media and organic search share of voice. Moreover, when those publications and influencers share the content with their social media followers, it will spark conversations about your brand and boost your social media SOV.
- Ramp up your SEO efforts to get your content on the first page of Google and get more visibility. For starters, focus on user intent in your keyword research and use those keywords to create high-quality content that people are searching for.
- Run attractive and enticing paid ads through channels like social and paid search to boost brand awareness. Test out different types of copy and ad creative to see what delivers the best results. You can also adjust your keyword and campaign targeting to drive more visibility for your ads.
Benefits of measuring share of voice
Some of the benefits of measuring share of voice include:
- Perform competitive analysis on a market-wide scale. Get the big picture of how competitive the market is and whether you’re an up-and-comer or the dominant player in the industry.
- Use SOV as a way to segment your target audience. Calculating SOV is a powerful way to analyze your audience, but you can take further steps to organize this data into segments for more insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Look at your SOV within crucial regional markets, demographics and more.
- Evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns. If you launched a campaign recently, determine whether you made gains in your SOV that indicate your marketing message and tactics were effective.
- Improve future campaigns based on findings in SOV reports. Use the insight from your analytical reports to expand your reach, get involved in social conversations and ensure your voice is amplified across marketing channels.
Tap into your share of voice data
Your social data can tell you a lot about your brand’s share of voice and how to boost it for overall business success. Yet according to the latest Sprout Social Index, Edition XVII: Accelerate, a whopping 46% of marketers still use social data only as a marketing resource rather than bringing it into org-wide strategy. So capitalize on the opportunity to leverage your social data and grow your share of voice while uncovering valuable customer insights.
Download the latest Sprout Social Index™ to learn more about how other marketers are using social data.
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