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Why Increasing and Measuring your Digital Share-Of-Voice Matters!



October 7, 2012

Now more than ever, clients want a highly measurable advertising campaign. Clients operating in today’s marketplace want to see that their investment can be measured appropriately to ensure they get what they need. Since the dawn of marketing, share-of-voice (SOV) has been extremely important to those brands wishing to be provided with a measurable aspect to their advertising. It is important as it allows brands to measure their ROI’s (Return on Investment) by comparing and analysing the effectiveness of reach, frequency and ad ratings that their campaign has generated within their target audience. Although research has focused on traditional media forms in growing and determining a brands SOV and measurements of ROI, the need for growth and measurement of your brands online SOV in your campaign strategy is becoming more and more crucial.
According to SVNewtork, people engage for a far longer period with brands/advertisements online than they do via traditional media. There is a far bigger ability to provide reach, frequency and engagement, in a more cost-effective way, to your consumer via online media. For example:

• Their ‘Holiday’ campaign for Apple iTunes saw the average user spending 3 minutes and 25 seconds engaging with the brand and preparing content to share with friends.

• Visa’s Winter Olympics campaign gave consumers the chance to choose which Olympic athlete’s video they preferred to watch during the engagement. This campaign saw an averaged 99 seconds of video viewing among those reached. As well as this, the engagement got over 150,000 new Facebook fans for Visa throughout the month this campaign ran.

A Millward Brown research report provides an analysis of BrandZ data, describing how digital SOV is important to brand growth. They have found that brands that increase their digital SOV are more likely to grow their market share over time. They also found that brands that increase both their overall SOV and their digital SOV are particularly likely to grow market share. The result of increasing your online SOV, using user-initiated engagement, and virility is also a huge lift in consumer intent to purchase.

• In addition to objectives like driving awareness, Unruly found that 43% of viewers of Corona’s First Flight video campaign said they were “very likely” to purchase Corona in the future.

Millward Brown note that measuring digital SOV is challenging because it involves more than simply measuring the exposure that brands pay for. Brands must leverage their online assets (e.g. websites and social media) as well as earn as much free exposure as they can through search, online news, viral and ‘buzz’. Therefore, a proper measure of digital share of voice must reflect the paid/owned/earned (POE) nature of digital, and requires the integration of many different online assets. Although difficult to measure, many companies have started to use measurement tools, such as Synthesio, to measure their online SOV.

• Synthesio’s work in monitoring Orange’s online SOV showed a significant ROI, as well as winning them a Forrester Groundswell Award for best international B2C listening project.

It is easy for me to sit here and tell you that you should be growing and measuring online SOV. Online media matters in terms of reaching and engaging with an ever-so attention deficit consumer, so you need to be considering increasing your online SOV as it can be measured in correlation to your marketing objectives or goals. In reality, it is a relatively new, innovative way of measuring if your online activity is paying off in terms of your brand objectives. ‘Cautious clients’ will be wary about delving into such an unknown and hard-to-measure phenomenon. However, there are a significant amount of brands which have invested time and effort into growing and measuring their online SOV in line with their brand objectives, and have had significant returns as a result:



Keeping the beer flowing is Heineken’s main goal for the coming years. The brand continues to grow and dominate the social media ‘beer-sphere’, so-to-speak. This major beer brand has over 6.8 million “likes” on its Facebook account, making it the largest worldwide fan base of any beer brand on the platform. As well as that, Heineken’s Twitter account measures as the highest SOV for a major beer brand, basing this on measuring average mentions against other major beer brands. Heineken continue to use social media as a marketing tool so that their online SOV is increased. It has been estimated that the brand will spend 15 % of its marketing budget on social media and measuring their online SOV in order to help keep the conversation flowing as well increasing their sales and market share over the coming years.

New Belgium Brewing Company


This American brewing company is constantly growing online, measuring online SOV against marketing objectives. The company recently told Ad Age that its Facebook fans are responsible for $50.7 million in yearly sales. This is a nice return on investment, considering they spent approximately $235,000 on their social media last year alone. This just shows how a company which invests in the growth and measurement of their SOV can generate significant and measurable returns on their advertising investment.

Columbia Tri-Star


This film company asked its agency Universal McCann Los Angeles to increase its SOV using a relatively low budget . The answer? They  used digital media to increase their online SOV in order to drive sales.  The campaign targeted specifically entertainment-oriented, tech-savvy young men most likely to purchase DVDs and home videos. Columbia Tri-Star took over the top target-related digital portals i.e.. entertainment and sci-fi sites for a couple of hours one Friday, as this was the day that consumers would be most likely to make entertainment decisions. As a result, Sony’s online vendors reported huge sales increases, one vendor even reported a 25% sales increase during the time the campaign was live. As well as that, the DVD debuted in the number one position for sales and remained in the Top-Twenty Chart for three months. Increasing your SOV through online means is also a cost effective way of reaching your advertising goals.



Nissan monitor social media in striving to be the most innovative brand in the car market.  Their key objective through the growth and measurement of online SOV is reputation. Nissan use Synthesio’s Social Reputation Score so they can measure their online SOV in order to link brand reputation, share of voice, and brand loyalty. They do this to create a benchmark that can be connected with overall performance and ROI.



L’Oreal recognises the importance of increasing their online SOV and engaging with their consumers. They spend an increasing amount of money on digital ads, globally and locally, but they do recognise the difficulty in measuring online SOV. At the moment, L’Oreal is working to build its own metrics to measure SOV and ROI as the budget for online spending grows each year.

PG Tips


In an attempt to reverse a long-term decline in the U.K. tea market and ignite sales for its PG Tips brand of tea, Unilever re-introduced “Monkey” to social video in 2007. The PG Tips Monkey campaign broke the mould in terms of cutting through buzz, especially online, and increased brand sales.



Cadbury Gorilla advert went viral over social media, driving online chatter and increasing the brand’s online SOV. YouTube received 500,000 page views in the first week after launch. Cadbury Gorilla campaign, which has won several awards, successfully leveraged TV and viral marketing which exceeded its expectations. Measuring the success involved isolating the impact of SOV and the viral campaign on brand growth.



Throughout their online campaign “Nightlife Exchange Project”, Smirnoff wanted to increase traffic to it’s digital platforms. Smirnoff measured online SOV as well as total SOV in order to reach its campaign goal. They exceeded pre-set KPI’s by 89% and had first global sales growth in five years

Final Thought…

No matter what your brand or product, large or small, high or low involvement, building and measuring your digital presence is crucial in reaching your brand objectives for a campaign period. Knowing your online SOV is also key to understanding the effectiveness of your advertising, public relations, and overall online marketing efforts in generating coverage and giving your brand a reputation or personality. However, most importantly, it can be measured in correlation to your marketing objectives or goals. Different brands will adopt different strategies in building and measuring their online SOV. However, the reality is that online SOV is needed is a crucial insight in building any brand in today’s times, no matter what your campaign objectives are. The effectiveness associated with owning attention online stands as a competitive differentiator for those marketers who understand and recognise the importance of the opportunity that online SOV brings. Although a relatively new and ‘scary’ phenomenon in the eyes of many clients today, there are brands that have started increasing and measuring their online SOV in order to reach their campaign goals. So clients, why not join the trend? Pardon the pun, of course.


October 7, 2012


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