Share of Voice (SOV): A Measurement for PR, Social Media & SEO

Key Takeaways 📈 📊

  • SOV is a Controversial Metric: Share of voice is often criticized for lacking depth and actionability. It can be easily manipulated and doesn’t consider the sentiment or context of brand mentions, which can be crucial for understanding a brand’s image and reputation in the market.
  • Sentiment Matters in Mentions: The article emphasizes that not all mentions are equal. A positive mention from a high-authority site is more valuable than a negative mention from a low-authority site, highlighting the importance of considering the quality and sentiment of mentions when evaluating SOV.
  • Differentiation Between Media Types: The author suggests that SOV can be measured across various platforms, including traditional media, social media, and specific forums like Reddit. Each platform may require a different approach or tool for measurement, such as Brandwatch for Reddit mentions.
  • SEO Perspective on SOV: From an SEO standpoint, SOV can be analyzed at the site level, keyword level, and search volume. Various SEO platforms, like SEMRush and Moz, can compare a site’s organic web traffic to competitors, providing insights into organic search or traffic share.
  • Advertising Share of Voice (ASOV): ASOV measures the relative proportion of advertising spent by a company or product category against all other advertising. It can be calculated in terms of total media spent or by looking at specific media, providing insights into a brand’s advertising presence relative to competitors.
  • Importance of Consistency in Tracking: Consistency in tracking brand mentions is crucial for calculating SOV. The same formula should be used to calculate the competitive SOV to ensure accurate, apples-to-apples comparisons, which can inform strategic decisions in marketing campaigns.
  • Audience-Specific SOV Measurement: Measuring audience share of voice, especially on social media, can be more advanced and requires a thorough analysis of the audience. This approach allows brands to understand how well they connect with specific audiences, such as CIOs, and enables direct engagement through content and paid social media.

Share of voice is a weak metric. It’s not as weak as measuring earned media value, but it’s close. It’s easy to game, and it’s not actionable. So it’s okay to disagree.

Why it matters:

While SOV is an essential measurement approach, it’s important to do it right. It would be best to consider using more advanced methods to prove marketing and communications’ value.

Here’s a quick digital share of voice video in case you don’t like reading.

One reason it’s so easily gamed is that there’s no standard definition or methodology for what constitutes a brand mention. Does a retweet count? What about a Facebook post? How about a news article mentioning the brand but not including a link? There are no clear answers and no set standards.

Another issue with using share of voice as a metric is that it doesn’t consider the sentiment or the context of the mentions. A positive mention from a high-authority site is worth more than a negative mention from a low-authority site. Still, most share of voice reports don’t account for the brand sentiment, which is a huge gap.

Finally, share of voice is a vanity metric. It doesn’t mean anything. Seeing your brand mentioned 50% more than your competitors may be nice, but so what? What matters is whether you are increasing brand awareness, building your reputation, and selling products. That’s what matters.

Measuring the share of voice is great for a PowerPoint slide if you lead your competitors. But there are other ways to calculate and measure the business value using analytics and then use it to inform your PESO marketing strategy.

Despite all this, share of voice remains a popular metric, particularly in PR and digital marketing. That’s because it’s a manageable number to track, and competitive metrics are sometimes hard to acquire. Plus, it’s an indicator of brand awareness.

What is Share of Voice?

Share of voice is a metric that measures the percentage of mentions or coverage a brand or product has compared to its competitors. When applying this metric to media landscape analysis, some PR pros refer to it as share of coverage. However, in social media, it’s often referred to as share of conversation or share of audience and is used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

However you define it, the math is the same.

Here’s a basic example. Let’s say that Brand A and Brand B are both mentioned 100 times in the media. But 60 mentions for Brand A are positive, while only 30 for Brand B are positive. So, even though both brands were mentioned an equal number of times in the news, Brand A has a higher share of voice because it has a higher percentage of positive brand mentions.

Monitoring share of voice over time can help determine your level of brand relevance when comparing yourself to your competitors.

How to Calculate Share of Voice (SOV)

There’s no one right way to calculate share of voice. It depends on the data source, what you’re trying to measure, and how you want to weigh the results. It counts the number of mentions of your brand or business. It’s basic math. Arithmetic.

Let’s dig deeper from the above example but break it down by each component. One of the critical components of measuring share of voice is determining the data source. In other words, where do you want to pull the mentions from? Here are a few to consider:

  • Traditional Media
  • Social Media
  • Reddit (Specific Subreddits)

For traditional media, you would count the number of articles published that mention your company or product, including broadcast media, over a set time. But even traditional media metrics can be broken down even more. So, the more focused you can be with your share of voice, the better insights you’ll get.

  • Target media: A list of the top media publications that are important to track coverage against. This list could be the top 50 business media, 10 tech media, or 25 trade media. In this scenario, you would ignore all the media mentions not on the target media list.
  • Relevancy: You could also measure share of voice by looking at how relevant the mentions are. In other words, if you’re a B2B company, are the mentions coming from B2B or consumer-based publications? Again, this will give you insights into where your target market perceives your business and brand.
  • Authority: You could use authority as a measurement of share of voice. This takes into account both the publication and the author. For example, an analyst’s mention in The Wall Street Journal would have more weight than a mention on a blog from someone who’s not an expert in the field.

I think we can agree that not every media outlet is created equal. Some media outlets have more business impact than others. It’s also important to take note of different mention types. Some are more valuable than others. Here are a few additional ways to segment the data for share of voice:

  • Headline mentions: The number of times your brand or product is mentioned in the article’s headline.
  • Media engagement: The total aggregate of engagements (social media shares, likes, comments) generated from the media coverage.
  • Reach of publications: The collective reach of each publication where there is coverage (reach in this context is calculated as UVMs).
  • Unique share of voice: The total volume of unique mentions (e.g., mentions of Brand A only, whether in the headline or the body of the article).

When calculating share of voice, you must be consistent with how you are tracking brand mentions. It should be the same share of voice formula to calculate the competitive share of voice. This will give you an apples-to-apples comparison.

The second key component to a brand’s share of voice is determining the period you want to track. This could be monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. It depends on your business and what makes sense when calculating your metrics.

Third, you need to establish the competitors you want to track. Make sure these are actual competitors and not just companies that happen to be in the same industry as you.

Types of Share of Voice Analysis

Tracking a brand’s share of voice on social media involves using social listening tools to analyze mentions across platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. While simple percentage metrics provide a snapshot, additional context around authoritative voices and relevant topics yields a more nuanced understanding. Extending beyond social, share of voice can also be examined through mentions on Reddit, which is structured into niche interest forums.

From an SEO standpoint, share of voice refers to a site’s proportion of organic search traffic compared to competitors. Whether measured at the site, keyword, or search volume level, share of voice metrics benchmark a brand’s visibility and reach. By considering social listening and SEO data, marketers can better understand brand awareness and optimize content strategies accordingly.

Tracking Social Media Share of Voice

Social media share of voice isn’t different from tracking a brand’s share of voice from traditional media. You write your boolean, select the content sources and date range, and click “Run” using a social listening tool like Talkwalker. If you’re a B2B company, you’ll want to focus on Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. You might want to track TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat if you’re a consumer brand.

After that, the math is the same and involves counting the number of mentions.

Building on the example above, assume that Brand A and Brand B are mentioned 100 times on Twitter. Still, Brand A has more social media mentions from authoritative accounts (influencers, media, etc.) While the share of conversation percentage might be equal, it doesn’t tell the whole story of how Brand A performs on social media.

When calculating the share of voice on social media, most people focus on the number of mentions. But the authority should also be taken into account. For example, a mention from an influencer is more valuable than a mention from a random person.

Share of conversation can also be measured by analyzing engagement. This includes social media shares, likes, RTs, and comments. The total aggregate of these data points and insights gives you a better understanding of how well your brand is doing.

Topical Share of Voice

A topical share of voice analysis can be used for social media, traditional media, or both. In this scenario, you’ll want to first build a comprehensive boolean query around a specific topic, like Remote Work. This topic is relevant for enterprise tech companies that provide unified communications or collaboration software to other businesses. For example, a Boolean query might look something like this:


((remote OR hybrid OR flex* OR “future of” OR digital) ONEAR/3 (work* OR team* OR office)) OR (#digitalworkplace OR #digitalworkforce OR #futureofwork)

You create branded and competitive keyword filters to isolate the share of voice metrics. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

  • Remote Work mentions: 100,000
  • Brand A mentions: 500
  • Brand B mentions: 100
  • Brand C mentions 50
  • Brand D mentions 35

In this case, you filter the brand and competitive mentions within the 100,000 Remote Work mentions data set. The next step is to divide each subtotal of each brand mentioned by the aggregate total of all brand mentions. For Brand A, this would be calculated as 500 divided by 685 (500+100+50+35), equalling .729 of 73% share of conversation.

A topical share of voice analysis can be used for social media, traditional media, or both.

This data is deceiving, so context is essential. The metrics aren’t saying that Brand A is mentioned 73% of the time related to the larger Remote Work conversation. The correct way to interpret this share of conversation calculation would be to say, “When comparing Brand A to its top 5 competitors, Brand A’s share of voice is 72%”. If you wanted to calculate Brand A’s share of conversation against the entire industry conversation, you would divide 500 by 100,000, giving you .5%.

Audience Share of Voice

Measuring audience share of voice is a bit more advanced. It would first require you to do a social media audience analysis and then move forward with a share of voice analysis. For example, this would be used if you were trying to understand how well your brand was connecting with a specific audience versus all of the major social media networks.

For example, you’re a B2B tech company and want to understand how well your brand resonates with CIOs (Chief Information Officers). The first step would be to build a listening tool and add all social profiles. Let’s assume you identified 1,000 CIOs. The next step is to create a brand and competitive Boolean filter, which would isolate all mentions of your brand versus mentions of your competitors. It may look something like this:

  • CIO mentions Brand A: 150
  • CIO mentions Brand B: 143
  • CIO mentions Brand C: 101
Measuring audience share of voice is advanced. It would first require you to do a social media audience analysis and then move forward with a share of voice analysis.

In this example, Brand A’s share of voice among the CIO audience is 150 divided by 394, which equals 38%. Measuring the share of conversation among a specific audience is highly actionable because you can directly engage with this audience through content and paid social media.

Tracking SOV on Reddit

Reddit is another channel that can be used to measure share of voice. It can be an excellent resource for generating insights because of how Reddit is structured. There are specific subreddits (forums) that are focused on certain topics. For example, there’s a subreddit for everything from cars to fashion to technology. This makes it a great place to track brand mentions and compare them against a competitive set.

To track brand mentions on Reddit, you can use Brandwatch. Just enter your brand name and set the date range. You’ll then see all of the brand mentions within the corresponding subreddit.

Share of Voice for SEO

There are several ways to think about share of voice from an SEO perspective. Some refer to it as share of “organic search” or “organic traffic.” For this post, we’ll talk about a few different approaches.

  • Site-level SOV
  • Keyword Level SOV
  • Search volume SOV

The site-level share of voice can be done with a few different SEO platforms–Semrush and Moz. The easiest way to capture SOV is to compare your site’s organic web traffic to some of your competitors. Here is an example of Amazon’s share of organic traffic:

  • Amazon (1.2B site visits from organic search) 68%
  • Walmart (274M site visits from organic search) 15%
  • eBay (179M site visits from organic search) 10%
  • Walmart (142M site visits from organic search) 8%

You can further break down the data and insights by branded versus unbranded, paid, and organic keywords.

Keyword-level share of voice is a tad more complicated but not impossible. Knowledge of Excel will be required.

The first step is to use one of the SEO tools above and run a keyword analysis report. Once you export the results, you can create a pivot table to get the total number of keywords you and your competitors are ranking for. Then, you would calculate the number of times you rank for the targeted keywords and divide that total by the number of competitor domains also ranking.

Another way of analyzing SEO share of voice is by the keyword search volume. Below is data from SEMrush:

  • Walmart online shopping (110K)
  • Costco online shopping (90K)
  • Target online shopping (60K)
  • Amazon online shopping (49K)
  • Macy’s online shopping (22K)
  • eBay online shopping (18K)
  • JCPenney online shopping (18K)
  • Ross online shopping (18K)

In this scenario, we look at the user’s intent when searching in Google. They already know exactly where they want to go online to shop. The thing to remember about this SEO share of voice metric is that there are a lot of variables that come into play. For example, a large creative campaign can remind users to shop at a retailer’s site. Other variables can include:

  1. In-store signage reminding shoppers about online shopping
  2. Media coverage
  3. Paid search
  4. Other digital marketing activities

Share of voice is an important metric to measure TikTok SEO. By understanding how much traffic your site gets from specific keywords, you can identify the most important ones and focus on improving your rankings for those terms.

What is Advertising Share of Voice?

Advertising share of voice (ASOV) is a metric used to measure the relative proportion of advertising spent by a company or product category against all other advertising. It can be measured in terms of total media spent or by looking at specific media.

ASOV is essential for companies and brands because it can indicate their competition level and how much market share they are capturing.

There are various ways to calculate advertising or media share of voice. One way is to take the total amount spent on advertising for a particular product or company and divide it by the total amount spent across all products and companies. This gives you the percentage of advertising spending attributable to the product or company you are interested in.

Another way to calculate ASOV is to look at specific media, such as television, radio, or print. Then, you would take the total amount spent on advertising for the product or company on that specific media and divide it by the total amount spent on advertising across all media. This gives you the percentage of advertising spending attributable to the product or company on that specific media.

Advertisers use this metric to measure their performance in the total market and help them decide where to allocate their advertising dollars. It can be used to compare the performance of different products or brands or to track the growth or decline of a product or company.

Final Thoughts On Share of Voice

Understanding share of voice (SOV) is crucial for marketing professionals in today’s competitive environment. Marketers can effectively gauge their brand’s digital presence and influence using keyword planners, search engine analytics, and social media monitoring. This approach allows brands to make informed decisions, fine-tune their campaigns, and boost their market share across all PESO channels.

Remember that a comprehensive SOV strategy goes beyond website traffic and Google Ads. It involves understanding your brand’s presence across various channels, including social media and other online platforms.

Incorporating keyword and campaign settings into your SOV analysis can offer valuable insights into your brand’s performance. By utilizing tools like Google Ads and Keyword Planner, you can pinpoint areas of opportunity and enhance your marketing efforts. Moreover, search engine share of voice is an essential metric to consider, as it showcases your brand’s visibility in organic search results.

In short, grasping and calculating SOV is critical to marketing strategy. Marketers can gain a competitive advantage and achieve significant brand outcomes by employing the right tools and methods.


How do you define share of voice?

Share of voice refers to the proportion of overall conversation for a particular topic dominated by a specific brand. It is a measure of brand awareness and visibility.

What is an example of a share of voice?

If Brand A gets mentioned in social media, news articles, blogs, etc, 100 times while its competitor Brand B gets mentioned 50 times, then Brand A has a 67% share of voice while Brand B has a 33% share of voice.

What does 100% share of voice mean?

A 100% share of voice means a brand completely dominates the conversation around a particular topic or keyword phrase. No other brand is mentioned about that topic.

What is share of voice coverage?

Share of voice coverage refers to the percentage of places a brand is mentioned in traditional media versus its competitors. Wider coverage signals greater visibility and reach.

What is the difference between share of voice and share of conversation?

What is the difference between share of voice and share of conversation? Share of conversation looks at the percentage of overall mentions a brand gets, while share of voice analyzes the percentage of share from authoritative, relevant, or target sources.

What is the relationship between share of voice and market share?

A higher share of voice typically precedes and influences greater market share by improving brand awareness and perception. However, it is not a guarantee of market share growth.

How is share of voice calculated?

Share of voice percentages is calculated by dividing the number of mentions for a brand by the total number of mentions for all brands in the competitive set.

Why is share of voice important?

Share of voice represents brand health and visibility. Tracking it over time and against competitors helps identify gaps and opportunities in marketing and content strategies.

What are some key benefits of share of voice?

Key benefits include gauging messaging effectiveness, informing budget and channel decisions, monitoring reputational threats, and predicting future market share direction.

How can you increase share of voice?

Ways to increase share of voice include content amplification, influencer engagement, paid media campaigns, optimizing for organic search, improving link building, and monitoring conversations across channels.

What are some challenges with tracking share of voice?

Challenges include incomplete data, inconsistent measurement methodologies, distinguishing quality vs quantity of mentions, lack of context, and determining optimal competitive set.

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.