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What is Share of Voice? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Whether it's pie or advertisements, everybody wants the biggest slice! In marketing, that comes down to a concept known as share of voice. In this lesson, we'll define that term and look at a few examples.

Eat a Piece of Pie

Think back (or ahead, if you prefer) to that magical holiday known as Thanksgiving. Family, friends, football and... you guessed it, food. One of the highlights of the menu for many people is dessert: pecan pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, insert your favorite pie here. If you're like me, the bigger the piece, the better! So, let's imagine that pumpkin pie, cut into four giant pieces. If I eat one of those four giant slices, what share of the pie did I have? I had 25 percent (and probably a stomachache).

You're probably thinking, ''So what, you ate a lot of pie.'' But, there's a lesson hidden here. The pie equation is a good way to remember an important marketing concept known as share of voice (SOV).

Finding Your Share of Voice

Like the 25 percent of the pie I ate at Thanksgiving, share of voice also represents a percentage. In marketing, it tells you how much of the advertisement, or conversation, a brand has in a particular platform, such as on a website, on a blog or in social media, versus its competitors. Typically, share of voice is based on a defined period of time, such as 24 hours or 30 days.

For example, if you're reading an article on a popular newspaper website and there are five advertisements from five different brands placed on the page, each advertiser has 20 percent share of voice. However, if one of those advertisers bumps up their placements to two ads, while each of the other three ads are singles, that advertiser has increased its share of voice to 40 percent. Why? Because it has more of the advertisement space, or conversation, on that particular page.

Share of voice can be used to calculate a brand's presence in any number of marketing avenues, including pay-per-click (where advertisers place ads on search engines and pay for each click on that ad) and social media, which can come in handy when you're trying to figure out whether you or your competitor is dominating the chatter on Facebook or Twitter.

Here's an equation to help you figure your own share of voice:

Your ads / Total ads = Share of voice

In our earlier example, when the advertiser increased their ads to two out of five possible slots, their formula looked like this:

2/5 = 0.4 (or 40 percent)

Share of Voice Examples

So, where can we find some good examples of share of voice? Let's start with an unusual example.

Target

In 2005, for the first time ever, The New Yorker magazine had a single advertiser that took over its entire publication. The issue included up to 18 advertisements, with many drawings by major artists, all featuring the popular retailer. By purchasing the entire edition, Target not only cleared the path to grab all the readers' attention, but they enjoyed 100 percent share of voice in that issue.

YouTube

The popular video sharing site isn't so much a participant in share of voice as it is a vehicle for allowing brands to up their presence. YouTube offers something that they call a ''takeover,'' where a brand can appear in a custom masthead (or top header of a webpage) and garner 100 percent share of voice for its products or services.

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