One of the single most important metrics a brand can measure is its share of search. After all, how can customers make purchases from you if they can’t find your online storefront or your products in a busy marketplace?
Often, a shopper searching your brand name is an excellent leading indicator for sales volume. Your brand is top of mind and desirable.
But what if you don’t show up in the first few search results, either on Google or a marketplace like Amazon? What if your competitors are capturing a wider audience, pulling customers away from you?
Measuring your share of search can keep you informed about all of this and help you identify strategies to be there when shoppers are ready to buy.
What Is Share of Search?
To put it simply, share of search is the amount of people searching for your brand, divided by the amount of people searching for all of the brands in your category.
Often, this metric is used as a way of measuring a brand’s health and can indicate market share.
Share of Search vs. Share of Voice
Before brands started calculating their share of search, they were measuring their share of voice.
To get this metric, a brand compares the amount it spent on advertising during a particular period with the total amount spent on advertising within their industry.
For example, if an electronics company spent $7 million on advertising, but $70 million was spent in the entire industry, then that brand’s share of voice would be 10 percent.
The issue when it comes to calculating this metric is that the rise of online advertising makes it nearly impossible to keep track of how much is being spent overall within your niche. The data just isn’t as reliable.
Share of search works similarly but is much easier to calculate because search data is more readily available and often more reliable.
Why You Should Measure Share of Search
Measuring your brand’s share of search can have a multitude of advantages.
No. 1: Easy to Calculate
All you need in order to calculate share of search is recent search data and a calculator, making it a quick and easy metric to measure. Because of its low cost, you can check in regularly and stay up to date with your competition.
On top of this, you don’t need to spend as much time manually researching your competitors. SEO tools and basic tactics will highlight all the top brands for any given search, showing you who to focus on when trying to maintain or improve your search positions.
No. 2: Reliability
With share of voice, you are tracking the effort being made with no way of measuring how well those efforts are landing with your audience.
Share of search allows you to see the number of people who are actually engaging with your brand via search engines like Google and Amazon. Tracking this allows you to see a more accurate view of your conversion funnel and provides market share insights that can be directly tracked.
No. 3: Useful for Marketing
Since share of search doesn’t rely on a brand having a high budget and a large advertising amount spent, it’s a metric that can be more universally measured by any brand, regardless of size.
Analyzing your search data can provide insights into your areas of improvement. You can use share of search to improve your customers’ experience on their path to purchase, especially in the research stage.
It’s also accessible to brands who don’t participate in traditional advertising, choosing instead to focus on content creation, direct marketing tactics, or other efforts. Not only is share of search more relevant for these brands, but it would also provide a more accurate view of market share for their competitors.
How to Measure Share of Search
As stated previously, share of search is relatively simple to calculate:
Share of Search = Number of searches for your brand ÷ Number of searches for all competitor brands
It’s important that you include brands of all sizes in your calculation, so you get the most accurate picture of the market possible. Consider running these numbers on a regular basis, perhaps monthly or quarterly, in order to stay up-to-date and see which of your strategies are working and which need improvement.
If you’re new to this metric, you can also do some research going further back and see where your brand was ranking in the past. This data can provide insight retroactively into your advertisement effectiveness and engagement.
There are several free to use tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner that can help with finding this data.
All you need in order to calculate share of search is recent search data and a calculator, making it a quick and easy metric to measure.
Aspects to Consider
Though share of search can be an excellent metric for measuring a brand’s success, there are still times when the data that comes from this research can be misleading.
For example, when a scandal occurs.
Just this year, used car company Carvana has been having financial issues and breaking headlines surrounding its potential bankruptcy and the letting go of hundreds of employees. This publicity has resulted in a rise in searches for the brand, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
When events such as this occur, share of search data may show that Carvana has a greater overall search volume, but in reality, the company’s negative publicity could be losing them customers rather than gaining market share.
It’s important to stay informed about any current events going on in your market category so you can be mindful of your data.
Share of search can provide great insights into your brand performance. Continuously tracking this metric will let you know what’s succeeding in your advertising strategies and what areas could use some improvement, preferably before you lose out to the competition.