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The Beginner’s Guide to Share of Voice

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The Beginner's Guide to Share of Voice


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.

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 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.

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Share of Voice Metrics by Channel

Advertising

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

1. HubSpot Social Media Management Software

share of voice tools HubSpotBest 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.

2. Hootsuite

share of voice tools HootsuiteImage Source

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.

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3. Talkwalker

share of voice tools TalkwalkerImage Source

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

share of voice tools Google Ads

Image Source

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.

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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.

5. Ahrefs

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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.

6. SEMrush

share of voice tools SEMrush Position TrackingImage Source

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.

7. Brandwatch

share of voice tools BrandwatchImage Source

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.

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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.

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MARKETING

Closing your team’s technical gap without hiring

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Closing your team's technical gap without hiring

It’s no comfort knowing you’re not the only one having trouble finding tech talent. Demand is high, supply is low. And everyone has teams and projects stuck in limbo.

What would be comforting is a solution. Well, here you go.

I’ve helped many marketing teams close the gap in their technical capabilities without writing a single job description. The reality is you have many more options than you can envision right now. All you need to do is expand your frame.

Expand Your Frame

When making a decision, framing helps you focus on the proper outcomes. The hard part may be setting the frame to the right size. Make it too small and you miss big chunks of the panorama. Too large and you lose the details. 

It’s also a fantastic way to think more strategically. While others are getting up in tactics, e.g., hiring, you can think of the outcome you’re hoping to achieve and determine the fastest way to get there. 


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The frame here is not that you need to hire someone, it’s that you need a certain set of tasks completed. Instead of hiring you should consider two other options: automation, i.e. no-code, and adjusting your team’s priorities. Looked at that way, you may already have all the skills you need.

No-Code & the New Engineers

The rise of no-code software tools is one of the most significant developments in the marketing world. No-code tools are meant to be used by non-technical folks. They have drag-and-drop interfaces and tend to be highly user-friendly. Examples include Zapier, Tray.io, and countless others.

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A huge problem for marketing teams is their technology is too complex. Doing anything significant means getting an engineer. Even sending emails requires technical help. With multiple no-code options in every category, there’s no need for this.

Instead of hiring someone to support marketing automation, find a software solution anyone can use. In practical terms, it means avoiding options like Salesforce, which requires in-house expertise, hundreds of pages of documentation and the proper alignment of the moon to make it work. Other solutions are drastically easier to use, though they may have less functionality. 

I tell my clients to prioritize the ability to connect their tools rather than just their raw capabilities. You may have the best email marketing solution, but it’s not as valuable if you can’t easily export data to a CRM. Be biased towards no-code, and you can avoid hiring.

I recently helped clients connect their Hubspot, Google Sheets, and a website using only no-code tools like Zapier. We were able to get everything done in a matter of weeks with no involvement from their engineers. In addition, the marketing team could send better-targeted emails and measure their performance better. All they needed were the right tools.

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Adjust Your Priorities

Think over how your team spent their time over the past week. Were they working on the highest impact tasks? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the answer is no. It’s easy to fall prey to “busy work” or get stuck doing jobs that should be automated.

Bill Gates once said there’s no point hiring someone to do an inefficient process. You’re just scaling bad habits. Instead, clean up your processes before adding more bodies. You may discover plenty of time to research software tools and tackle new tasks.

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Read next: Broaden your marketing ops talent perspective

The fastest way to adjust your priorities is to run a time audit of your team. Ask each member to record how they spent their time over an average week. You can then work with them to figure out how to remove tasks from their plates. Low-hanging fruit includes manual input, work that no one sees or failure work—where tasks are redone multiple times. 

After running an audit for one team we found they spent way more time cleaning up data rather than using it. We figured out what was causing the errors and duplication, solving them through formulas and other measures. They were able to shift around 20 hours to other tasks. Many teams have similar hidden opportunities.

Digital-First Means Being Lean

Being digitally savvy isn’t about hiring as many people as possible. Digital channels offer the ability to be lean as you scale. Think of influencers who run channels with millions of views out of their parent’s basement. They have a lean but effective production. Years ago, the Instagram team had less than 100 people before being acquired by Facebook.

As you shift into digital, you have the opportunity to restructure your marketing teams and take advantage of trends like no-code. The first step is to expand your frame. After that, you might see more opportunities.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy, and Data and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions. He helps executives at the most innovative medium and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class. He has done this across five continents and in three languages. His ideas have helped hundreds of thousands of people make better decisions.

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