Share of Search: The New "One Number You Need to Know" for Media and Ad Effectiveness

By Thought Leaders Archives
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The king is dead, long live the king. Twenty years ago, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was introduced with great fanfare as "The One Number You Need to Grow." This article, published in Harvard Business Review by Bain’s Fred Reichheld. introduced the NPS. NPS was further popularized a few years later in Reichheld’s book, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth.The premise was that a single survey question that focused on customers’ willingness to recommend a product to someone else correlated directly with differences in growth rates among customers. Reichheld argued that willingness to advocate was "perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty."

The Net Promoter Score was designed as a simple, easy to measure and easy to explain metric that would help companies to measure and improve their performance. “By substituting a single question for the complex black box of the typical customer satisfaction survey, companies can actually put consumer survey results to use and focus employees on the task of stimulating growth,” said Reichheld.

The appeal of a simple but powerful metric remains as important as ever for managing successful brand growth. But today, it’s time to pass the mantel of "the one number you need to know to grow" to a new metric – Share of Search (SOS).

Share of Search is proven to be highly correlated with and predictive of market share. And whereas the NPS touted the benefits of a single survey question, Share of Search is even simpler – no surveys are required. And it is ‘always on.’

An extensive review of Share of Search data was undertaken in 2021 by the esteemed Institute of Practitioners in Advertisers (IPA), the U.K. trade association for ad agencies. The work was led by Les Binet, the respected advertising effectiveness research and a blue-chip Share of Search Thinktank from companies such as Adidas, Google, Kantar, LinkedIn, Publicis Media, PhD and Unilever, as well as Share of Search providers such as My Telescope and EDO.

In short, the IPA analysis of multiple studies (30) across multiple categories (12) and multiple countries (7) concludes, "We believe that SoS represents a proxy for the demand side of the ‘marketing’ equation. That’s a powerful statement and a powerful endorsement about the power of tracking share of search to measure and track marketing effectiveness."

Among the findings that support the value and efficacy of Share of Search:

  1. Share of Search (SOS) = Share of Market (SOM) across categories, countries, and languages. There is an 83% correlation.
  2. There is also a strong correlation between changes in Share of Search and changes in market share.
  3. Share of Search is also a good proxy for aggregate Mental availability, a metric espoused by Professor Byron Sharp, author of How Brands Grow.
  4. Spend (share of voice) is related to Share of Search, with broadcast/mass reach media having the highest impact
  5. Creative efficacy drives share of search more than media efficacy, but only by a small amount -– they are both important (on average).

What does all this mean? Driven by the need to align business objectives and marketing investments, and the need for efficient, ongoing measurement, CMOs and brand managers are well served to measure and track Share of Search as a leading business metric to measure media and advertising effectiveness.  It is available on a continuous basis -- for your brand and your competitors; it does not require surveys; and it is an accurate proxy for important, leading indicator of key metrics that impact your business, including sales, market share, and media and ad effectiveness.

Albert Einstein once said, "Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler." Share of Search fits that bill. It may not be the only number that matters, but it’s far too important not to be a key part of your marketing dashboard.

Self-published at MediaVillage through thewww.AvrioB2B.complatform.

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