Understanding the ‘art and science’ of share of search
A measure of performance and potential leading indicator for future success, share of search is emerging as a new metric to add to the marketer’s armoury with possibilities that stretch far beyond the hype.
The concept of ‘share of search’ is sending ripples of excitement through the marketing industry. A metric based on freely available Google Trends search data dating back to 2004, share of search is being touted as an accurate proxy for market share and potentially even a leading indicator for future growth.
Marketing Week columnist and Mini MBA founder, Mark Ritson, is already a fan. In a recent column, he suggests that rather than focusing purely on the link between share of voice and share of market, marketers should think about comparing online searches for the different brands in their category. Ritson argues that, as it is further down the marketing funnel, share of search should be “more predictive than share of voice”.
Applying the idea of excess share of voice to share of search (ESOS), he says brands will be able to see how their total share frequency is increasing relative to their market share, which could then be used as a predictor for future growth. Plus, he contends that the ESOS approach helps brands get a better sense of their overall competitive set.
One of the key names behind the share of search research is group head of effectiveness at Adam&EveDDB, Les Binet. He has spent several years analysing the search ecosystem from a user perspective, drilling down into the terms people use in any given sector and what that means for brands.
“What marketers have become obsessed with is saying, ‘This person at 10am on Friday started clicking on the following links and searching for the following things. We think he’s about to buy a car today, so we’ll bombard him with stuff’,” Binet tells Marketing Week. “What I’m doing is looking at the macro behaviour of society.”