If you've ever been in charge of gathering reports for your marketing team, then you know there are a plethora of metrics you can measure.
One metric that gets overlooked is share of voice. However, this is a versatile metric that you can use in a competitive analysis for social media, organic traffic, or even paid advertising.
As a marketer, share of voice is important because it helps you understand how well your brand is performing against the competition. Below, we’ll review everything you need to know about share of voice.
What is share of voice?
Share of voice is a marketing metric that allows you to compare brand awareness on different marketing channels against your competitors. You can use this metric to measure how well your ads, social media mentions, or even website traffic compare to the competition. Ultimately, you can see how much of the conversation you dominate in your industry.
This metric was mainly used as a way to measure success in paid advertising, however it's much more than that now. You can calculate share of voice for organic traffic and social media, in addition to paid advertising.
By calculating your share of voice, you'll have a better understanding of many people know about your brand, and you can identify areas to work on. For example, if you have a high share of voice in social media, but not as much in organic traffic, then you know you need to improve your organic traffic strategies.
While share of voice isn't the same thing as market share (more on that below), share of voice tends to correlate with market share and revenue. For instance, the more you're dominating in the conversation online, the more market share you'll have and the more authority you'll have among users.
Share of Voice vs. Share of Market
While share of voice measures brand awareness on a particular channel, market share is the percentage of a market that a single company controls by revenue or number of customers. The two metrics are similar in concept (calculating how well you do versus your competitors), but market share only refers to the percentage you earn with regard to sales and share of voice refers to the percentage of the discussion you earn across various marketing channels.
Share of Voice Formula
To calculate share of voice, divide your brand's measures by the total market measures. This could be your social mentions, paid advertising clicks, or website traffic.
To find these numbers, you'll need to use some of your marketing tools. You can look at your social media automation tool, for instance, to count how many mentions your brand has. Then, you can calculate how many mentions your competitors have. After you add all those together, you can divide your mentions by the total to find the share of voice percentage.
Calculating share of voice should help you learn which channels need your attention the most and how you stack up against competitors. Now, let's see which channels you should calculate share of voice for.
Share of Voice Metrics by Channel
When it comes to advertising, it's important to find your share of voice to see how much ad space you're taking up compared to the competition.
To find this, you'll divide how well you did in a paid advertising metric (such as impression shares), by the total number in the industry.
For PPC ads, you can look at impression shares, which represent the amount of times your ads were shown to users compared to the number of times your ads could have been shown, based on your keyword and campaign settings. If you’re using Google Ads, you can find "Impression Share" into your account, going to campaigns, clicking the column icon, selecting “modify.” From there click “competitor metrics” and then add impression share columns by checking the boxes next to their names. Then click “apply” and the impressions data should show up in your table.
Share of voice is important in advertising because it will help you budget, measure campaign effectiveness, and give you a competitive advantage.
News Outlets and Blogs
Measuring your share of voice across news and media tracks how often your brand is mentioned across these platforms. Find out which publications are talking about you and the context of these mentions.
Use this information to help you identify writers or outlets that would be interested in covering your brand or related topics, find out industry related trends, and compare how competitors are doing. Harnessing this information can simplify research for your PR team and give you helpful industry insight.
You can get notifications of mentions using Google News alerts, but for more in depth feedback, you’ll want to use a listening tool.
SEO and Organic Search
To measure your brand’s share of voice in organic search, you’ll need to look at your brand occurrence in search results pages (SERPS). Typically the number of impressions is the metric used to measure this, but you could also use clicks. There are several tools you can utilize to pull this information (more on those in the next section).
Performing an SEO share of voice analysis will help you figure out which websites rank most for a set of keywords of your choice.
Once you’ve decided on a list of keywords or topics you’d like to focus on, pop them into a keyword research tool. Pull the 1st page (SERP) rankings from the results for each topic. From there you can export this data into a table or chart to get a better visual of the data.
Social media is one of the main channels where you can use share of voice as a measure of success since social media is where consumers go to be heard. Statista reports that in 2021 there were 295 million social media users in the U.S. alone. With even more users around the globe, you’ll want to tap into the conversations people are having and use that data to improve your marketing strategy.
With social media, you can measure brand mentions, hashtags, reach, impressions, or even sentiment.
To calculate, use a social media tool to measure brand mentions. Calculate yours, your competitors, then add those numbers together and divide your mentions by the total.
Share of voice is important in social media because it will help you determine which competitors are getting mentioned more, so you can analyze what you do versus what they do. This will help you identify gaps in your strategy. Ask yourself, what platforms are working for your competitors, which influencers talk about them, and where they're the most popular.
Share of Voice Tools
- HubSpot Social Media Management Software
- Google Ads
While calculating share of voice may seem daunting at first, the good news is there are plenty of software and tools available that will help you gather the information you need. Here are some of our favorites.
Best for: Social Media Share of Voice
This all-in-one tool will help you build and track marketing campaigns, but it is also an effective social listening tool. With HubSpot, you can create keyword monitoring streams, track social media interactions and trigger email alerts when prospects mention your brand. Save time as this tool allows you to track multiple social platforms in one spot, automate monitoring, and focus on the interactions that matter most.
Why we like it:HubSpot let’s you link all of your interactions back to your CRM and makes it easy to evaluate campaign results with their ready-made reports.
Best for:Social Media Share of Voice
Hootsuite lets you keep an eye on conversations mentioning your brand, monitor relevant keywords, and hashtags. Similar to HubSpot, Hootsuite allows users to access this information from an easy to use dashboard without having to toggle back and forth from various social media accounts.
Why we like it: Hootsuite is a great entry level option for those new to social monitoring tools.
Best for: News, Blog, and Social Media Share of Voice
Talkwalker monitors brand mentions across news, social media platforms, blogs and the web. This tool also dives deep to help you get insight on not only share of voice, but user sentiment. Talkwalker will give you sentiment analysis for up to 25 languages, a great option for those who do business internationally.
Why we like it: Their AI visual listening feature lets you track brand logos on the web and across social media to help you gain a more comprehensive picture of how your brand is doing.
4. Google Ads
Best for: PPC and Advertising Share of Voice
When you need to measure PPC share of voice, it’s hard to beat Google Ads as a tool. To find your PPC share of voice, use their impression share metric. Conveniently, Google's tools work together, so if you already have Search Console, you could link it to your Google Ads account.
Why we like it: Google Ads is so widely used, it’s often already a component of marketing campaigns. Having the Impressions share metric built in makes pulling this data a simple task.
Best for: SEO Share of Voice
When measuring SEO share of voice, Ahrefs is a reliable tool. You can easily get a snapshot of your organic traffic compared to your competitors using their batch analysis feature. Alternatively, you could use hrefs to track competitors' share of voice by comparing them against the keywords you want to rank for. It’s a great overall tool for most SEO needs.
Why we like it: Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that can help you tackle a myriad of SEO tasks from topic research to website audits.
Best for: SEO Share of Voice
Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is another great all-in-one SEO tool that can also help you measure share of voice. This can be done through SEMrush’s position tracking tool. You’ll need a business subscription to access it, but it’s worth it for large enterprises. In addition to the position tracking tool, you can measure share of voice by location or topic, as well as discover new competitors.
Why we like it: in addition to share of voice metrics, SEMrush can be utilized for content marketing needs and technical SEO. Their keyword gap feature can help you identify areas for organic search improvement.
Best for: Web and Social Media Share of Voice
Brandwatch is another tool that can help you track your brand’s share of voice across social media, web, and news mentions. You can compare share of voice by brand or opt to compare customer sentiment, location, and other demographics. This tool is great if you’re looking to dig into customer insights of your competitors.
Why we like it: Brandwatch’s customer sentiment analysis will help you identify any roadblocks or risks, plus add helpful context to the data in your reports.
Now, you might be wondering, "How can I generate these reports?"
Share of Voice Reports
To create a share of voice report, you should be able to use your marketing automation tool to gather the numbers. Most of the tools listed above, like HubSpot, will generate reports for you, or have the option to export the data.
If exporting you can put the data in whatever format you like as long as it makes sense to you and your team. You can simply create an excel sheet and begin calculating the share of voice for several channels including social media, news, advertising, or organic traffic.
Calculating share of voice is a great way to learn how well you perform against your competitors. Use the insights you gain to better serve your audience, stay on top of trends, and outperform the competition. The best part is that you can use this metric for several marketing channels, from advertising to social media.
This article was originally published March 10, 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.