Does the Squeaky Wheel Really Get the Grease?

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How does share of voice get us to business outcomes?

Many communicators believe that their brand should have an active voice in relevant conversations.  And to prove that they were vocal, they produce a lovely pie chart showing their “share of voice.”  Great.  You made some noise.   But can you measure the positive impact from your share of voice on outcomes?  I hope that your boss was not fooled by that pie chart.

Like impressions counting, determining a brand’s share of voice is a metric, not a measurement.   It’s just one indicator of campaign activity.  What we really want to measure is whether or not your participation in the conversation helped you to reach one of your goal outcomes.

Share of voice is a valid metric, but let’s use it appropriately to actually do some measurement.  You’ll have to add qualitative analysis to the share of voice you’ve quantified.  Here’s how:

  • Timing matters.  Ditch the pie chart and track that share of voice over time.  Longitudinal changes in share of voice are revealing.
    • When do your competitors talk?
    • Are you all talking at the same time, or taking turns?
    • Is an obvious timing advantage visible for future exploitation?
  • Messages matter.  Enhance your data with message identification to study what each competitor is saying.  
    • Are you all saying the same thing?
    • Are you delivering your message well?
    • Is there some obvious differentiation that you could exploit for your brand?
  • Organic Sentiment is telling.  A lot of companies are only measuring their own voice, but conversations are 2-sided affairs.   Take off your blinders and also look at organic social media mentions of the brands or topics you are evaluating.
    • Is the audience agreeing with the message you are using?
    • Or is a competitor’s messaging or timing getting more favorable mentions from consumers?
    • Who’s engaging with your voice?
    • Is one type of consumer a more positive advocate for your brand than others?

Now, when you walk into your boss’s or client’s office, you’ll be able to give your expert insights about when to talk, what to talk about and how to boost advocacy and raise sentiment for your brand which in turn should influence outcome goals such as purchase intent, brand sales or brand reputation changes.

And the cycle begins again.  Off you go to make some more noise and leverage your share of voice to impact outcomes.  Keep measuring to see how changes in your share of voice can turn into better outcomes.


Metric – a unit of measurement

Measurement – a system of evaluating metrics to determine how they can change desired outcomes.

Share of Voice – the percentage of published content and conversations about you compared to your competitors.