Why Marketers Should Embrace Share Of Search As A Metric

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Share of search provides a useful metric that any marketer can use as a surprisingly accurate proxy for the important, but often expensive, calculation of a brand’s market share, says a leading planner.

Many brands talk about market share but, because it’s a slow-moving measure, very few truly engage and understand the causal relationships that drive it, notes strategist James Hankins.

Writing for WARC, he acknowledges the difficulties that arise in analysing market share –getting hold of the necessary data is not cheap and can be difficult for all but the biggest brands and businesses.

But there are other ways to get to the same end. Many people already use Google Trends as a simple short-term signal to check whether their campaigns are working or not, Hankins points out

“With a few tweaks this information can become a powerful and extremely useful source of long-term time series data with applications for both contextual analysis and the development of predictive trajectories linked to long-term business success,” he maintains.

That’s where Share of Search comes in: this, says Hankins, provides every brand in every country (subject to Google Trends’ consistency of algorithm) with access to an accurate proxy of market share.

“The SoS calculation itself is simple. Calculate a rolling 12-month average of the various brands to be analysed, including your own. Total this. Divide each individual brand’s 12-month rolling average by the total and turn into a %. This is Share of Search, using Google Trends data.” (For more detail, read the full article: Share of search: The most important metric you’ve never heard of.)

The importance of contextual analysis arises when a brand’s share of search goes up in response to a negative event.

And the rolling 12-month technique “imbues the technique with predictive quality reducing as it does the impact of monthly movements”. Additionally, says Hankins, “when used as a diagnostic/planning metric it can act as a signal that market share is moving, in advance, due to shifts in trajectory.

“Thus, this is pre-emptive of success, a leading indicator if you will.”

Credit: WARC

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