What is Share of Voice? A beginner's guide to Share of Voice
How many times have you come up with a brilliant idea, business or otherwise, only to find out later that someone had already thought about it? Nowadays, no matter what industry you're operating in, you'll always have competition.
Competition isn't inherently bad. It forces you to improve, to grow faster, and to learn from other people's mistakes. Even though I mentioned above that no idea is truly unique, there's always something that can leverage your company against your rivals: excellent customer service, more affordable options, or client perks.
But without keeping your eye on the market and your competitors, it's impossible to figure out your strengths and your weak spots that you need to work on. That's when the share of voice metric comes into play. By measuring your share of voice, you're killing two birds with one stone: you figure out how much of the market your brand and your competitors claim and you see what people are saying about you and other brands on the market, what they like and dislike.
In this blog post, I'll explain what is Share of Voice, what business insights you can derive by measuring it, and how to calculate your Share of Voice using Awario (or other social listening tools). Let's start with the first question.
What is Share of Voice?
A Share of Voice (or SOV as it's sometimes abbreviated) is a metric that allows you to calculate how much of the market you take up compared to your competitors. Historically, it's been measured for paid advertising, i.e. how many ads you run on TV or in print compared to your competitors. However, digital marketing allows you to go even further and compare your brand awareness with your competitors.
Social listening enables you to count how many times your brand or products are mentioned online and then compare it to your competitors' mentions. In my humble opinion, this metric is much more helpful since you can understand how many people actually mention your brand, and not just glaze over your ads on TV.
All in all, Share of Voice metric represents the real customer feedback. You can see how popular you're on the market, how customers feel about you, and even why they favour you or your competitors. Let's discuss how exactly knowing your Share of Voice can be beneficial for your business.
Why Share of Voice is important for brands?
However thorough your competitor research is, it's impossible to know the market share of each of your competitors. Luckily, Share of Voice is the next best thing: it's only logical that the more popular a brand is, the more market share they have.
While other marketing metrics such as customer engagement, brand awareness, and net promoter score are helpful indicators of business development, only Share of Voice puts your success into the context of the market and allows you to see the industry through the eyes of a customer.
Share of Voice is truly a multi-purpose metric that can be helpful for different departments and in different scenarios. Here are some of the benefits you get when measuring and tracking your Share of Voice:
That's probably the most obvious one. Measuring your Share of Voice goes far beyond simply getting a number of your online mentions compared with online mentions of your competitors. Using a social listening tool like Awario allows you to tap into the specific mentions and obtain valuable data insights.
For example, comparing several brands in Awario reveals how their Share of Voice changes with time, which brand has a higher percentage of positive and negative sentiment, what topics are brought up most often in relation to each brand, where in the world your customers are and more.
Organic customer feedback
Social listening allows you to analyze actual mentions of your and your competitors' brand and products which means that you get access to unbiased customer insights for the entire niche you're working with.
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By looking at the mentions of your competitors, you can find out how to make your own products and services more appealing. What are the customers' complaints and pain points when it comes to your rivals? Can your business compensate for them? Using Awario, you can engage with individual customers directly from the tool to recommend your product that would solve their issue. You can also notice trends in the conversations and change your business strategy according to the unfilled gap in the market. Based on what you learn by tracking your competitors' mentions, you can emphasize your advantage over them in the marketing campaigns you put out.
Speaking about marketing campaigns, measuring SOV can help you here as well. First of all, when monitoring online mentions of your competitors, you can discover what marketing campaigns of theirs are mentioned the most and see the target audience's reaction to them.
Secondly, if there are several rival marketing campaigns running at the same time, you can calculate SOV for each. This will help you see which campaign was the most successful in reaching the target audience (mind you, all the campaigns are competing for the same target audience) and what made it so successful. Awario will also break down what parts of your target audience responded more to which campaigns: you may discover that while your competitor's campaign was more popular with men in England, your campaign got more positive buzz from women in the US and find an explanation and data insights behind this trend.
So now that we know why we should measure the Share of Voice, let's figure out how to do it.
How to measure Share of Voice?
Now that we know what is share of voice and why we should measure it, we can go through the stages of calculating your SOV. I'll be using Awario for calculations and analyzing social listening data. If you work with a different social listening tool, the workflow should be similar but steps 3 and 4 may differ depending on the analytics your tool provides.
Step 1. Create alerts for your brand and your competitors
The first step in calculating your SOV is figuring out how often you and your rivals are mentioned online. To do that, you need to create social media monitoring alerts for each of the brands on the market. I'd also recommend creating an alert with niche-specific keywords and go through these mentions in order to identify some competitors you might have missed.
Creating a social media monitoring alert in Awario is a pretty straightforward process. Your keyword will be the brand or product name. If it's a common word that's often used in a different context, you might want to switch to Boolean search to specify the spelling (for example, only collect the mentions that spell the keyword in upper case) or add some negative keywords.
If you're interested in the market of a particular country, you can specify the location of the mentions. You can also specify the data range and sources of mentions.
Once you set up alerts for each of your competitors, you can calculate your Share of Voice.
Step 2. Calculate the Share of Voice
Awario is able to automatically calculate SOV for three brands (with the number being expanded to 15 brands in the near future). However, if you have more than two competitors, which you probably do, there's a simple formula that allows you to count Share of Voice for any number of brands:
SOV = Your brand’s online mentions/Total online mentions x 100
You can find the total number of mentions by selecting multiple alerts in the Mention Statistics report. This way Awario will show you the total number of mentions for all the alerts selected.
For example, let's say we are calculating SOV for 5 brands in the video streaming industry. HBO boasts 117K mentions so we divide this number by the number of combined mentions of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and HBO and multiply it by 100. We get HBO's Share of Voice — 9,9% of the total market share.
With Awario's data, you can calculate your Share of Voice both for the number of mentions and your Reach, i.e. the number of impressions.
Step 3. Get specific
In the first step, I mentioned that you can choose countries for which you want to calculate your Share of Voice. If you're operating internationally, it still might be a good idea to calculate SOV for specific markets to find out whether there are business opportunities on the map that you might have overlooked. For example, you may discover that your product is popular in Poland and decide to leverage your marketing budget there or localize your product for Polish audiences. However, this will require a bit more effort on your part. Here's how to calculate your SOV for an individual country if you didn't specify location in the alert setting:
- Go to the Mention Feed of the alert and filter them by country.
- See the number of mentions next to the name of the alert.
- Do the following for each of your competitors.
- Follow the formula from Step 2.
Another data insight you can focus on is the source of mentions. For PR department, this will be especially useful since by limiting sources to new websites you can calculate your SOV for the media. You can specify the sources for the mentions in the Mention Statistics report in the top left corner.
Step 4. Check out social listening analytics
When we were discussing the benefits of measuring SOV, we talked about all the insights you can obtain by using social listening to measure Share of Voice. Now is the time to go to Awario's alert comparison report where you can see:
- Sentiment analysis
- Gender analysis
- Mention map
- Language breakdown of the mentions
- Topic cloud
...for you and your competitors. You can also go through the Mention Statistics report of any competitor and see their key social listening insights.
Step 5. Dive into the online mentions
In addition to social listening analytics, you can also check out customer feedback by going through the mentions of your competitors. If you're interested in their weak spots, use filters to see only negative mentions. This way you'll be able to tap into their customers' complaints, realize how your offer can respond to them, and even promote your brand right from Awario by engaging with unhappy customers on social media.
To see why your target audience chooses your competitors, do the opposite, and take a look at the positive mentions. This will show you what customers value about your competitors and perhaps give you pointers on what you can improve.
As you see, calculating your Share of Voice is much more rewarding than you could expect, but the process itself is quite simple and doesn't require much time if you're using the right tool. Tracking your Share of Voice goes beyond looking at the number of your mentions and puts it into perspective while simultaneously giving you a ton of competitive intel and business insights that you can use to change your strategy.