The share of voice, or SOV, measures the percentage of media spending by a company compared to total media expenditure for the product, service, or category in the market.

Knowing how to calculate share of voice allows you to measure a brand’s presence and to gauge how visible the brand was within a specific channel, during a particular time.

You calculate the share of voice by taking your advertising spend and dividing it by the total of all market advertising spend for the same type of product or category.

So why does that number matter? Well, a high share of voice can lead to increased awareness which should ultimately lead to an increase in sales and overall market share.

Keep in mind though that it’s not just enough to throw money at your audience to increase your share of voice. What your saying in your marketing is still crucial. After all, it isn’t exactly useful to have the highest share of voice if your message doesn’t appeal to your target customer.

The following are a few examples where the definition of share of voice (SOV) may vary in different mediums:

Marketing Share of Voice

Some marketers look at share of voice across the total of a brand’s marketing efforts vs. those of the entire category. For example, if someone wanted to understand his or her brand’s visibility throughout an integrated campaign. It’s possible to look at share of voice this way; however the resulting calculation may be misleading due to the nuances of each channel and how they report data.

Advertising Share of Voice

Within media buying and planning, share of voice is a term for looking at the total media exposures of a paid brand message combined with your competitors. A share of voice calculations is critical when assessing the return on your media investment, whether it’s TV, outdoor, digital or other advertising channels.

Digital Marketing Share of Voice

As a digital marketing agency, we can attest first hand that calculating a digital SOV is tricky since many of the digital channels report data slightly different since their users – and how those users leverage that platform – tend to be vastly different. Additionally, “digital” tends to include earned media (organic) and paid media which may complicate the equation.

Learning how to calculate a digital share of voice, is still a useful exercise, however, even if you are not able to view a complete picture across multiple platforms as you would with traditional media. The key is understanding how it’s different and using your number as a general guide for changes and optimization.

Social Media Share of Voice

Similar to digital marketing, understanding your social media share of voice tends to be tricky. Before you can calculate your share of exposure of social channels, you need to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Many social platforms do not share the same criteria for social share of voice, and so you may find some data comparing your exposure to competitors, while other data compares total engagements vs. competitors.

Regardless of what type of share of voice you’re trying to calculate, it’s critical to understand the data inputs so you can follow the math and see the insights when they appear. As with all metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), there is no silver bullet. Instead, it’s about identifying subtle trends and taking action on them accordingly.

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