Background

Share of search (SoS), dividing the number of searches made for a given brand by the total searches for all brands in a particular category, has been gaining some significant ground recently as a much more reliable proxy in the advertising world for share of voice (SoV). Getting a handle on SoV is critical for budget setting, predicting growth and forward planning but it can be devilishly difficult to accurately measure.

That’s where SoS comes in – Les Binet, Group Head of Effectiveness at adam&eveDDB, has been looking at SoS as a key measurement factor for some time and recently presented his research in detail. You can see his presentation at https://vimeo.com/465319431 but his key findings are that SoS correlates with market share and that SoS is a leading indicator and predictor of Share of Market.

This is something that many of us knew instinctively, and it’s nice to see some solid research applied to validate it. But what does that mean for PR and communications professionals, and specifically, those us working in the B2B technology world where the relative shortage of available data, compared to the FMCG sector, can lead to significant errors and anomalies in the analysis?

Applying the concept

There’s little doubt that we should all be looking at ways to assess SoS. Although increasing SoV isn’t all that we hope to achieve with our PR toolkit, it is high on the list precisely because, as Binet notes, when SoS goes up, share of market tends to go up (and the converse is also true).

If any industry has struggled with viable measurement methodologies over the years, it’s PR. Advertising value equivalent (AVE) has largely been discredited but it’s still hanging on, primarily because it’s easy for those outside of PR to get their heads around. We do have viable alternative methodologies to measure SoV but, in the main, they are much harder to understand, they are open to interpretation and unfortunately, they are also open to manipulation. SoS, on the other hand, is based on hard data and measuring it is something Babel has been doing for a number of years in one form or another.

Measuring SoS has become an essential tool for us…