Share of Voice: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Measure It

It may not seem like a major concern in some respects, but effective competitor research will reveal a heap of insight into strategy and process, and will help you improve your system in-step. 

But how do you measure your performance against your competitors? Once you are tracking the relevant data points, how do you get a quick overview of whether their efforts are succeeding, and yours are failing, and where you stack up with respect to broader trends? 

Calculating your comparative share of voice is one way of doing this. Share of voice covers overall online visibility, including organic search data, social media, and PPC performance. When combined, these metrics can make for a competent assessment of your own, and each of your competitors’, market share.

In this post, we’ll break down what exactly share of voice is, how you can calculate it, and useful it can be in your marketing efforts

What is share of voice?

In its simplest form, share of voice (SOV) is the number of times a brand is mentioned on the web vs. the number of times competitors’ brands are mentioned.

Share of voice covers both brand awareness and customer engagement, as it reflects how often a brand is seen online and how well the customers engage with its content.

Back in the day, share of voice was about advertising efforts only, essentially a brand’s share in the total advertising market. But with social listening tools, share of voice can now reflect total online visibility, going beyond PPC and into real-user feedback.

Ultimately, measuring share of voice provides reliable competitor intel and consumer insights.

And in a world where nearly everything happens online, this is essential research.

Why measure share of voice?

Share of voice is the next of kin to market share. Assessing SOV gives you a full picture of the landscape in your market, based on how much each brand in your niche is talked about.

Share of voice is a reflection of both your marketing and product decisions, which makes it a crucial metric for evaluation of your overall efforts. 

And it can provide you with a range of valuable insights – here’s a look at some of them:

Competitor intel

Getting to know your competition is the starting point of strategic research.

The beauty of social listening tools is that they enable you to discover new competitors, calculate their share of voice against yours, check languages and sources of their mentions, and even explore niche influencers and brand ambassadors.

Once you’ve identified all the biggest names in your niche, you can run brand-by-brand comparisons to see exactly where you’re lagging. Take a look at the overall mentions, then dive deeper into country and language insights to learn from the brands with the highest visibility in any given location. 

Consumer insights

SOV calculation run by social listening tools is based on real-user conversations on social media, so it’s only logical that by analyzing these conversations you gain insights into consumer behaviors and industry trends.

Through this, you can learn (from) your audience by tapping into what they have to say about you and your competitors. What is it they love and hate about your products? Are there any segments of the market under-served by your competition? All of these insights are available upon looking into brand mentions.

And because social listening tools enable you to also interact with customers in-app, you can promptly resolve complaints or promote your products to your competitors’ audience. 

Brand management

Reputation assessment might not be at the top of your checklist, yet it’s one of the primary use cases of social media monitoring tools.

When measuring SOV by fetching and analyzing mentions of a brand online, social listening tools can also run sentiment analysis, breaking all brand mentions into positive, negative, and neutral measurements. 

This can be particularly useful for benchmarking your brand reputation against your competitors’ to draw links between brand management and KPIs. With the initial figures on hand, start tracking fluctuations in your own and your competition’s reputation over time, e.g. during marketing campaigns and other awareness-raising activities.

Keeping tabs on the sentiment of brand mentions allows for reliable and prompt interpretation of customer feedback.

How to calculate share of voice: best social listening tools

With a clearer picture of the benefits of measuring SOV with social listening tools, let’s take a look at some of the best toolkit options on the market. They cover a range of small to big business operations and rely on real-time data.

1. Awario

Awario is an enterprise-level tool with small-business pricing. It relies on data from all social networks and the web to deliver instant mentions of your brand, product, or a keyword of any complexity. Alongside mentions, you get social media analytics, leads, and influencers, which gives you the most of social listening at the lowest possible price.  

Awario’s share of voice formula is determined by the overall number of mentions and reach. You can then run comparative analysis to see how the buzz around one brand compares to any competitor brands. In addition to that, Awario lets you compare the sentiments of mentions, as well as countries, languages, and sources. 

2. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management and analytics tool. It covers social listening, content publishing, customer engagement, and audience analytics, powering your strategic decision-making.

Sprout Social’s share of voice formula is multi-component – metrics to measure are organic and PPC keywords, impressions, reach, revenue, mentions, and hashtags. In addition to share of voice monitoring, the tool’s competitor comparison allows you to identify industry gaps and discover new business opportunities.

Similar to other social listening tools, Sprout Social offers sentiment research, influencer recognition, campaign analysis, as well as customer feedback and a whole slew of demographic insights.

3. Brandwatch

Brandwatch is the ultimate enterprise-level tool for advanced brand management. It offers powerful social media monitoring and analytics for bigger companies and agencies, which makes it the perfect fit for market research.

Brandwatch boasts its own analytics tool which delivers share of voice reports across organic search, PPC, and social media. You can narrow brand SOV down to a certain platform or page type by creating categories and rules. You can then set Brandwatch to calculate share of voice over time for continuous campaign intel.

Final thoughts

Measuring share of voice is the closest you can get to assessing your market share, and with the advanced social listening tools available today, it makes all the sense to monitor brand mentions and calculate the amount of buzz you and your competitors receive.

Add to this sentiment and customer insights, and you have a reliable market research engine, automated to deliver as you need.

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