Successful marketing is all about ROI, ensuring that your key performance indicators (KPIs) are paying off. If handing out flyers around your business was the best way to drum up business and had measurable results, that’s what you’d continue to do to secure your market share; however, in an increasingly digital world, generally online efforts give the best indication of success–that is, if you know how to measure them. One way to measure success is to understand your ‘Share of Voice’ metric in your next marketing or PR campaign. Let’s take a look at what ‘Share of Voice’ is and how you can figure out yours.
What is ‘Share of Voice’?
Think of ‘Share of Voice’ as an audience’s attention. How often is your brand or product talked about compared to your competitors in organic search (for our purposes, at least)?
The official definition is that share of voice is an analysis of which websites rank most often for a given set of keywords in organic search. Typically, you’ll have similar keywords to your competitors, and, ideally, you’ll outrank them when it comes to your share of voice. But you’ll want to know how much of that share you have so you can gain as much as possible or change your odds.
Traditionally, the term ‘Share of Voice’ refers more specifically to online advertising and is an ad revenue model that weights the percentage of adverts shown on a website. For example, if your website has four advertisers, each advertiser has a quarter of the share. With the appropriate share of voice, no one ad will be seen more than the other three with ad exposure optimized amongst limited advertisers, which will keep everyone happy. To create a limited ad share, advertizers often pay more for the privilege.
That’s the traditional definition and application, but this term has now been applied more generally in marketing as advertising strength or brand presence. This metric can be applied to ads, social media, and organic traffic to determine what you need to do as far as creating content, identifying link building opportunities, and diversifying your social media.
Calculating ‘Share of Voice’ for organic search
Share of voice is often determined by impressions but it’s better to calculate your share by clicks. If a result gains more clicks (or views), it’s fair to say they’ll gain more attention. Paid tools we employ, augmented with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, can do these calculations faster but there’s also a way to calculate share of voice manually.
1. Choose keywords to analyze
Choose a group of related keywords (based on a theme or specific product or service you offer). Keep in mind that a paid tool can help automate some of this process but let’s calculate it the long way.
As a general note, the keywords you should rank for can be determined by analyzing your buyer personas; mapping the buyer’s journey for each persona; and by interviewing your potential customers, customers, partners, and sales representatives to help understand who is buying your product or service and how you can help them solve their pain points (what it’s all about!).
Tools such as SEMrush also allow you to conduct a keyword gap analysis. You can use Moz, SEMrush, Alexa.com, or another keyword tool to discover the first page rankings for any of the top domains that rank for your core topics.
2. Choose competitors to compare
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you want to choose your competitors for comparison. You’ll want to make a note of all of the domains and sub-domains of your competitors.
It’s important to note that you can more easily calculate your organic share of voice than advertising because it’s unlikely you’ll know how much your competitors spend on advertising; you can only estimate that figure, which is why it is easier to calculate your share of voice for organic search.
3. Record the rankings for each keyword
This step is the long one, especially when doing it manually! For every keyword you’ve chosen, you need to find out if you rank for it (in the top twenty spots at most). It’s best to do this by going Incognito in Chrome so you aren’t receiving personalized results (Hello! Google’s search journeys!). You can also use the Moz extension’s custom search feature.
Again, only search the top 10 to the top 20 results; since the top 10 results get the most clicks, going beyond the top 20 spots won’t give you any useful data. However, if you are in the top 20, it might mean you’re improving and your website’s rankings are going up.
4. Determine the share of voice for each keyword
Once you know who you’re comparing to and the rankings for each keyword put the information in a spreadsheet. Record every time you appear and your competitors appear for all domains and sub-domains.
List the domains, the rankings, and the average click-through rate (CTR) in a spreadsheet. You can take the click-through rate percentage from this page on Dejan SEO.
So, that means if the domain ranked first, it would get 43.2% CTR; if it ranks second, that figure would be 30.7% CTR; if it ranks fifth, 15.1% CTR and so on (as in the table below).
Then, for every keyword, add up your CTRs of as many positions as you and your competitor received. If you ranked 4th and 8th, for example, your total CTR for that keyword would be 19.7%+10.1%=29.8%. That percentage would be your share of voice for that keyword. You’ll have to do this long-form calculation for every keyword you’ll like to analyze.
5. Calculate the overall share of voice
To calculate your overall share of voice, you’ll take an average of the share of voice for each keyword. If you have ten keywords, for example, you’ll add up your percentages from the last step and divide by ten. That figure will be your overall percentage of share of voice. Of course, you’ll want to do that for the comparison companies too! (Unfortunately, yes, it’ll take ages!)
6. Refine your calculations
These calculations have some problems in that they assume all keywords have equal weight. So, you’ll want to account for monthly search volume.
To calculate the estimated search traffic by volume, take the keyword share of voice (percentage from above) x keyword monthly search volume = estimated monthly traffic.
Once you have this estimated monthly traffic value for each keyword, add together all of the values for each keyword divided by the total monthly search volume for each keyword (added together so you might get a keyword with 1,600 and another with 320 and another with 880–add this figure up for all of the keywords you’re working with) and multiply by 100 and you’ll get a more accurate share of voice percentage.
What do you do with this information?
Once you have an idea of how you compare with your competitors, you’ll want to analyze your content to see where you can improve. What are your competitors writing about? Where do they get links? Can you get links on those pages too? Do you need more social media engagement? Should you try out some ad campaigns? Do you need a website redesign? Is high bounce rate meaning people are staying on your pages? Is there something wrong with your user experience? Do you need branding work to increase awareness of your brand and message? Overall, it’ll give you an idea of where you are in your marketing efforts.
Do you need help calculating your Share of Voice?
If you need help with your share of voice metric or any others, contact Key Medium today. We can help you improve your marketing and increase your rankings as well as branding, web design, web development, and SEO services.
Elaine Frieman holds a Master’s Degree and is a UK-based professional editor, educational writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, traveling, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.