Understanding share of voice (SOV) in marketing: It’s definition, importance, and calculation explained

Marketers are tasked with analyzing and calculating countless metrics to measure the success of their campaigns. One of the most important social media statistics is SOV, a metric that represents the percentage of total advertising or marketing spending in a particular brand’s industry. SOV is a powerful metric and tool that gives you, the marketer, insight into a brand’s level of online visibility and influence within their market and helps you conduct comprehensive competitor research.

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Overall, understanding SOV is a crucial part of your marketing team’s efforts when you’re selling social media packages. In this article, we get deeper into SOV meaning and why it’s important, as well as how to calculate share of voice, and how to apply the results of your share of voice calculator in your marketing campaigns.

Understanding Share of Voice (SOV)

Before you can measure and make use of SOV metrics, it’s important to understand exactly what they are and why they’re important.

Share of voice (SOV) definition

SOV is a metric that measures how much exposure a brand is receiving in comparison to other brands in its industry. The amount of the market a brand owns is measured as SOV, meaning the SOV is the amount that particular brand is dominating digital media conversations.

Why is SOV important in social media marketing?

SOV gives businesses insight into whether their social media efforts are effective in garnering awareness and consumer engagement for their brands. Additionally, SOV gives digital marketers and brand managers a better idea of where they stand in comparison to industry competitors.

SOV can help businesses better understand their market position, identify potential areas for improvement, and evaluate the efficacy of their social media strategies.

Why should you measure Share of Voice?

There are several reasons it’s beneficial to measure share of voice for any brand:

  • Competitive analysis: SOV helps you determine how a brand is performing against others in the same industry. It helps identify which competitors are dominating online conversation and adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Campaign optimization: SOV may indicate if a brand’s advertising efforts aren’t as effective as their competitors’. This offers opportunities to optimize campaigns for heightened visibility and engagement.
  • Identifying industry trends: SOV can help you recognize industry trends and adapt marketing strategies to meet consumer behavior and demand.
  • Brand awareness: SOV helps determine if brand awareness is increasing as a result of your marketing efforts.

How does SOV differ from market share?

SOV and market share are both important metrics that you can use to measure the success of your clients’ marketing campaigns. However, they provide you with uniquely different data.

  • Share of voice: This refers to the percentage of overall conversation in a particular whole market or industry that your grand has gained in comparison to similar businesses. It measures visibility and measurable brand awareness.
  • Market share: This is the percentage of total sales in a specific industry that a brand achieves. It measures a business’s financial success and gives marketers the ability to determine how well a brand is performing in the marketplace.

Examples of SOV in action

SOV has various use cases that make it an effective measure of digital marketing success.

  • Measure social media presence. Brands can use SOV to measure their exposure on major social media networks like Instagram and Facebook. To do this, look at the percentage of total social media conversations happening regarding a specific topic and compare how many brand mentions are about your business or your client’s business vs. your competitors’ businesses.
  • Analyze visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Determine the visibility of a brand in organic search engine results and adjust strategies accordingly. If the brand’s visibility is limited, that might help determine whether investing in paid advertising clicks or revamping search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is necessary.

Applying SOV to Your Marketing Strategy

SOV is a great metric to analyze when determining whether your marketing strategies are effective. However, it’s a useless number if you’re not incorporating it into your marketing strategy.

Incorporating SOV into your marketing plan

As a social media marketer, understanding and calculating a brand’s share of voice for your clients is an important part of your

SOV and organic search

SOV can help you analyze your keywords and determine where you stand among the competition when it comes to search engine rankings. Use SEO share of voice calculations to identify which businesses are your biggest online competitors and track their keyword rankings against your own.

You can also use SOV to learn how well your website is performing when it comes to website traffic, click-through rates and search engine rankings. The insight SOV offers can help you further develop your SEO strategy, determine your keyword performance, and analyze media spending. Tools such as Google Analytics and SEMrush help with this.

SOV and paid advertising

Develop more effective paid advertising strategies based on what your competitors’ successes with SOV. Use this metric to monitor what your competitors are doing well and adjust your bid strategy accordingly, increasing your bid for keywords that your competitors are performing well on and decreasing bids that aren’t helping you gain revenue.

Take advantage of tools such as Google Ads accounts and Facebook Ads manager that can help you track your SOV for specific ad placements and keywords. These aids can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent on analyzing your SOV.

SOV and social media

Measuring share of voice on social media networks provides valuable information about how your own brand is performing against the rest of your industry and helps you optimize your strategy better than most other metrics. Analyzing your competitors’ social media activities, as well as your own, helps you better understand what marketing strategies work with your target audience and identify ways your marketing efforts can be improved. This process is a vital part of providing social media management packages.

When making adjustments to your social media campaigns, experiment with different types of content and engagement strategies. Keep in mind that there are more than 4.74 billion social media users worldwide (Hootsuite). What’s interesting to some won’t be interesting to all, so playing with different post styles is the best way to find what works with your target audience.

Use Vendasta’s Social Marketing tool to make it easier to monitor your brand’s share of voice on different social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Business Profile.

How to measure SOV

The following formula is the standard to measure share of voice:

Brand measures/Total market measures

This formula can be used to calculate share of voice in several areas, including:

  • Social media
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) digital marketing
  • Online media

There are several digital marketing and share of voice tools that can help you find the information you need to calculate share of voice.

How to calculate SOV

How you calculate your SOV and the share of voice tools you use to find the data you need to do it depend on what you’re calculating share of voice for.

Social media

You can calculate your social media SOV manually, but the fastest way is to utillize social media listening tools that monitor social media conversations and track the volume of online mentions a brand is receiving online. These share of voice tools enable you to calculate your mentions and competitors’ mentions. Once you’ve gathered this information, you can use the formula in the previous section to calculate your SOV.

Once you’ve selected a social listening tool you like, set up alerts for your competitors’ brands and your own to stay on top of social media mentions and maintain up-to-date SOV calculations. This can be done utilizing brand names, social media handles, or keywords.

Pay-per-click marketing

Your Google Ads statistics can provide you with the metrics you need to calculate your PPC share of voice. Instead of SOV, you’ll find this metric listed as Impression Share when accessing it via Google Ads. The number shows you how many times your ads were seen by internet users vs. how many times they could have been accessed based on the keywords and audience you’ve selected for your campaigns.

The number of eligible impressions your campaign could receive is based on:

  • Target audience settings
  • Keyword and campaign settings
  • Approval statuses
  • Ad quality
  • The quality of ads competing for the same views

The Impression Share metric can be found in your Google Ads dashboard.

Online media

The SOV you receive in the online media indicates how often your brand is talked about by news outlets, websites, and blog posts. The easiest way to calculate your online media SOV is with social listening tools which can be programmed to crawl the blogs and news sites for online mentions of your brand and the brand names of your competitors.

Tips for getting accurate SOV calculations

The more detailed statistics you can access, the more accurate your SOV calculations will be. Keep the following tips in mind before you begin calculating SOV:

  • Free social media monitoring tools are less reliable. They don’t always cover major social media networks and they typically provide limited statistics. Furthermore, most free tools won’t give you the option to track your metrics over time.
  • Focus on brand mentions when calculating social media SOV. Because social media SOV is focused on how regularly consumers or influencers talk about a particular brand, the most accurate way to calculate this is by looking at brand mentions instead of customer engagement.
  • Use limited search parameters when you use social listening go calculate online media SOV. Instead of programming your listening tools to crawl all websites for mentions of your brand or competitor brands, have it search for news articles, magazine articles, and blog posts only.

How to create an SOV report

Monitoring social media reputation management is a key part of offering marketing services to SMBs. Thankfully, Vendasta’s reputation management software makes this and SOV reporting simple. Follow these steps to create an SOV report:

  1. Populate the Business Name field with the company’s most common name to ensure that results are representative of how often it appears in specific categories.
  2. Select service categories that represent the range of products and services offered by the business. Choose an assortment of broad and niche categories—each one selected will create a separate pie chart in the Competition tab.
  3. Enter the names of top competitors. Choose businesses that sell similar products and services to the brand you're calculating share of voice for.

What’s an ideal SOV percentage?

It goes without saying that most brands can’t have a 100% SOV. The only way that’s possible is if they’re operating in a highly niche industry without any competition.

While there’s no ideal SOV to aim for, it’s worth noting that the more saturated an industry is, the lower the SOV is likely to be. When analyzing the SOV, consider how much competition there is and instead of aiming for a particular percentage, compare your own to the SOV of your top competitors.

Frequently asked questions

What is 100% share of voice?

100% SOV occurs when there’s no competition within a brand’s industry and a brand is the only one competing for consumer attention with a specific service, product, or keyword.

Is share of voice a good metric?

SOV is an excellent metric that can help brands determine how well their marketing campaigns are performing. It’s the best way to measure a brand’s exposure on social media, PPC advertisements, SERPs, and online media.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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