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So what is your brand’s digital share of voice?

by Nigel Hollis | February 02, 2012

New evidence presented in this point of view (POV) by Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director for Digital at Millward Brown, suggests that a brand should maximize both its digital and traditional media share of voice if it wants to grow. Knowing that digital share of voice (SOV) is a driver of growth is important, knowing that you can also measure that SOV is even better because then you can manage it effectively.

As Duncan notes, the argument that SOV matters is an established and validated one; there is clear industry evidence that higher TV SOV is likely to lead to increased market share. Knowing this, Millward Brown set out to see if the same finding might apply to the digital arena.

Lacking a historical measurement of SOV and market share data, Millward Brown used Consumer Value (CV) scores (CV is a survey-based estimate of market share) with BrandZ data, using share of awareness as a surrogate for share of voice to reflect  how well a brand had cut through and lodged itself in consumer memories.

Subsequent analysis showed that brands with a larger overall share of media awareness are more likely to grow their share, and that growth is amplified if the brand also has a higher digital share of media awareness.
Brands that are able to increase their digital share of awareness, while simultaneously increasing their total media awareness, will almost double the likelihood of increasing their share of awareness compared to increasing total media awareness alone.

One of the key findings from the analysis is that the correlation between gains in both SOV measures and market share is stronger for infrequently purchased brands than for CPG brands. As noted in the POV, this makes good sense given the growing importance of search and consumer ratings in the online shopping process. You might not think to research a packaged good online, but if buying a car, mobile phone or booking a hotel stay, these days most of us start our shopping process online.

While BrandZ provides the proof that digital SOV is important, it is not enough to help clients manage their digital assets, which is why Kantar Media and Millward Brown have developed an ongoing monitoring system called Kantar Digital Share, which takes data from eight digital channels and combines them into a cohesive whole. The eight channels include paid (e.g. search and online ads), owned (e.g. web sites and fan pages), and earned (e.g. pass along and buzz).

The good thing about this approach is that it helps provide a more comprehensive view by combining activity across digital channels and putting the brand’s own activity into a competitive context. Different brands will need to employ different online strategies in order to be successful, but the data will help them understand whether their digital media are punching their weight.



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  1. Duncan Southgate, February 08, 2012
    Thanks for sharing Nigel!

    Jorge, to your point, it can be tricky for brands in developing markets to know where to start with digital. The list of possibilities can seem almost endless! The Kantar Digital Share solution probably isn't the place to start with measurement - it's tricky to monitor the digital whole until some of the major constituent pieces are well established! The framework can however still be a useful one for organising thinking. I think brands venturing into digital are well served at first by simply establishing some kind of owned presence, either a fan page on Facebook or their own website. In the early stages they are almost certain to need a significant amount of paid media spend on prominent publisher sites to get their campaigns messages and owned spaces noticed. Assessing and optimising online ad buys with AdIndex and fan pages with FanIndex are therefore great places for researchers to start. Beyond that, for certain categories search will be essential, for others it will be more of a nice to have. And once all those basics are in place, measuring the earned viral effects and the buzz generated in social media can also complete the digital share picture. It certainly won't and shouldn't always be a linear process, but hopefully that works as some general guidance!
  2. Jorge Bueso, February 08, 2012

    In Central America (CAM) and the Caribbean (CAR), market research firms have to deal with a client base that in some cases has digital presence but just to have a presence… and no more. They do hope that in some way they can build their brand with digital communication. However, they need more guidance on how exactly to go about this matter.

    Another obstacle they must overcome is the low penetration of Internet access in the countries of CAM and CAR. A small target segment may indicate to them that the presence and activities are not a worthwhile investment to research. Given the possibility of small ROI on these activities, they decide to wing it and hope something good happens.

    I believe it is our duty to establish ourselves as trusted advisors with our clients and help them explore this new realm of communication. In order for this to happen, we need more tools at our disposal to at least act wise and knowledgeable about digital topics. Kantar Digital Share sounds like a system that can aid in defining where the brand is before using more tailored solutions (FanIndex, AdIndex, Link for Digital, etc.) to evaluate a specific situation.

    I also believe that what happens in bigger markets will trickle down to developing markets, eventually. Maybe understanding the history of digital research in those bigger markets (US or Europe, for instance) can save us in CAM and CAR or any other developing country a couple of swings and misses when we step up to plate.

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