That would be every marketer’s dream, right? To be able not only to know but to predict in advance the market shares of your brand using a free tool, easy to use and within reach of your browser. Yet it is a wind that is blowing ever stronger in international advertising effectiveness circles. Led in particular by Les Binet, honorary member of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in the United Kingdom and head of effectiveness of Adam & Eve DDB, a new metric is beginning to gain ground: the Share of Search. Through a research based on 15 sectoral cases, Les Binet and his colleagues argue that the SoS (share of research for incorrigible French speakers) is able to predict the market shares of a brand.
What is the search share?
Like its predecessors, share of voice and market share, this new metric assesses the place of a brand in its sector in terms of searches. It is therefore a fairly simple mathematical formula to define it. It is thus enough to divide the number of searches of a brand by those of its category to have the SoS of the latter.
Why is SoS important?
Share of voice is a notoriety indicator while market share is a conversion indicator. But any marketer knows that between these two levels are other stages of the conversion funnel, including the very important consideration. Since consideration is an indicator of the effectiveness of communication when compared to share of voice, it is also an indicator of the effectiveness of commercial action when compared to market share. This is where the Share of Search comes in, an indicator of the consideration of a brand. Easy to access, just use Google Trends to get it, it remains easier to access and less expensive than obtaining voice share and market share figures. Being a dynamic indicator, according to Les Binet, the evolution of this metric predicts that of the market share of a brand, his work even making it possible to specify that in the automotive sector, these evolutions materialize in market shares. 12 months later when they take less than 6 months to purchase telephones.
How to use the Share of Search?
The Share of Search is not an objective metric but an observation. In other words, it is not a question of acting to increase its SoS but rather of relying on the results that emerge to adjust its strategies.
Of course, depending on the category and the brand, the SoS is not precise to the comma. A brand like Mercedes will always be highly sought after, but its budget requirement still discourages many automotive prospects, for example. Moreover, the think tank Share of Search of the IPA specifies that it only contributes up to 83% of the market share, the rest depending on the commercial efficiency of the brand among other factors. On the other hand, a purely quantitative analysis of the Share of Search could lead to major errors of judgment. Indeed, we do not look for a brand only for positive reasons. A bad buzz or a controversy could lead to an increase in searches while having a negative effect on market share. Examples such as Volkswagen’s diesel gate or the 2018 boycott in Morocco are proof of this. Thus, all the effectiveness of the use of this metric does not depend on the formula but on qualitative elements such as the definition of keywords or the consideration of controversies.
But as the work of the IPA continues to explore the ins and outs of Share of Search, any marketer who neglects it would be needlessly depriving themselves of information that could mean the difference between success and failure.
By Amine Lagssir, Strategy Director at DPR Group