Share of Voice (SOV) is a term used in the marketing and advertising industry sector to assign a numerical factor to just how much impact a brand or product makes in a segment over a defined period. SOV measurement is not limited to the field of marketing; political research groups often estimate SOV to monitor the media reach of ideological parties in media outlets such as radio, television and the Internet. In this sense, SOV can be considered a combination of the market share a brand holds and the buzz that surrounds it during a period of time.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online marketing, SOV is the percentage that advertising of a site, product or service holds in particular markets at certain times. For example, if a single Google AdWords piece of advertising is clicked by every other visitor to a specific web page over a 24 hour period, the SOV in that situation can be estimated at 50 percent. If a pizza shop offers an online coupon in a landing page in exchange for the visitor agreeing to subscribe to a mailing list, and 250 out of 1,000 visitors provide their email address, the SOV is 25 percent.
Measuring SOV is a crucial component of a solid social media marketing strategy. SEO and online marketing professionals are used to digging into website analytics to track the success of their campaigns, but social media marketing requires a different set of metrics. SOV is a reliable factor to measure for professionals who turn to online social networks to market their brands. Business enterprises with significant online presences are increasingly paying attention to SOV at a time when Internet users prefer social networks over search engines.
Monitoring SOV and Traffic Volume
Assuming that a business has already established a social media presence and at least a web page or site for a brand, product or service, a simple SOV report can be created on spreadsheet software. First, a data source is needed. This can come from a free service like Social Mention or Ice Rocket, or from paid services like Social Bakers and Wildfire. Social Mention is essentially a search engine that crawls online social networks, and users can modify certain parameters like the date range.
Social Mention includes an indicator of the sentiment of the social media conversations. This indicator displays the number of positive, neutral and negative mentions. One way to figure out the effective SOV is to add up the social mentions of not only the brand, but also of the direct competitors; for example, a pizza shop that delivers in certain area can also run a Social Mention report on other pizza delivery outfits that operate in the same market.
For the second step in gauging SOV, the pizza shop shall determine the sum of the total social media mentions plus those of its competitors. This number can be labeled “Total Mentions.” The next step involves adding up only the positive and neutral mentions that the pizza shop received, dividing it by the Total Mentions and multiplying by 100. The formula looks like this:
Share of Voice = Positive Mentions + Neutral Mentions / Total Mentions (including competitors) * 100
While the number of negative mentions is not included in the formula above, they should not be ignored. If the negative sentiment is higher than the neutral or positive sentiment, the pizza shop should immediately perform damage control rather than worrying about the SOV.
Staying Relevant in the Online Marketplace
Without a dependable social media strategy, a business will find it difficult to stay relevant these days. Measuring SOV is paramount among Internet properties these days. To a certain extent, a high SOV is more valuable than the old benchmark of ranking high in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Google is already moving in this direction with its Impression Share AdWords metric, and the search engine giant’s recent acquisition of Wildfire is further evidence that it is taking social media just as serious as its search algorithms. Google is clearly concerned about its own SOV, and online brands should be paying attention to this development.