Attaching value to a marketing campaign is the goal of every agency. Can share of search (SOS) be a valuable tool to predict market impact? Let’s find out.
Marketers tend to use survey data that are based on questionnaires to track. However, people don’t always do what they say, don’t say what they think and don’t always know how they feel. And over the years, the relationship between tracking metrics and actual purchase behaviour has weakened. With time, new ways to track brands have evolved, based on not what people say but what they do online.
This is where Google comes in. One particular metric based on Google search data is SOS. It is a new way (metric) to track brands and advertising, not the paid search advertising but a share of organic google search.
SOS replaces Share of Voice (SOV), an earlier metric that brands depended on to know where they stand in relation to their competition.
How to measure the share of search?
In simple terms, the number of searches for a brand, divided by the number of searches for all brands in the same category, can predict the market share.
Share of search = number of searches for your brand/ total searches for all brands in the same category.
To put it in another way, changes resulting in the share of search now will be reflected in future changes in market share.
Significance of SOS
SOS shows the result of marketing activity by interpreting the interest a brand acquires through online searches.
Even as the metric has been used for several years in digital marketing, recent research by the broader marketing sphere highlights the metric’s value in the wider marketing mix.
SOS grants a metric that’s not only useful but very easy to obtain as well. It could potentially be utilised as a proxy for much harder to get metrics like SOV or Share of Market (SOM).
Is this metric beneficial?
SOS gives an exceptional stop-gap solution. By tracking a business’ SOS as compared to other competitors, a strong correlation can be seen between SOM and that, which indicates that it could be used as a potential replacement.
Les Binet, Head of Effectiveness at adam&eveDDB and a recognised expert in Econometric says SOS changes in SOM, with his research showing a strong correlation between the two.
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Are there any shortcomings?
According to Shann Biglione, co-founder and Head of Product at Kelp, “SOV is a measure of input. A thermostat. But when it comes to your share of search, you’re measuring an outcome. It’s a thermometer, and you can’t really use it to turn up the heat.”
Biglione states that SOS is not a measure of inputs but outcomes. In contradiction, SOV is judged by advertising spend, and not the result. Basically, a brand relies on Google’s understanding of the events surrounding the brand they are searching for. This can be problematic as it cannot be directly related to what marketing channels are being used and what is being used.
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How SOS could help brands
- SOS can provide a vision to brand power and the cross-channel impact of brand deployment. This is probably more effective than expensive brand surveys that require panels.
- SOS can be valuable to monitor this metric, regardless of delayed effect between a brand campaign and a rising or falling market share.
SOS is not a holistic solution, however, a useful tool to have in a marketing stockpile. It can act as a substitute for other expensive and complicated tools to obtain measures, making planning budgets far easier. It can also be a fair predictor of overall performance, making it a compelling metric for marketers to track.