What is Share of Voice – Advertising, Marketing, Digital

This a short post that clarifies the “what is SOV?” query, and puts the concept in perspective. Share of voice is a very commonly used terminology in the marketing and advertising of brands. The term may sound complex and raise an eyebrow for someone who hears it for the first time.

But don’t be confused by that because it means exactly what you may have understood (or you would have been very close).




What is Share of Voice (SOV)?

Share of Voice Definition(s)

So, what does SOV mean? Abbreviated as SOV, share of voice is defined as the share of total advertising exposures that a brand gets.

In a nutshell, it is a way to measure a brand’s presence and to gauge how visible a brand was within an advertising medium during a specific time period. It is usually represented as a percentage of the total exposures.

Though it is vital to keep in mind that the share of voice definition, can vary from brand to brand. It can also depend on the methodology and the advertising medium used.


What is Media Buying?Check out our detailed guide to understanding the basics of media buying.



Share of Voice Calculation


If you’re wondering how to calculate share of voice, and you think it is a complicated process. You’re wrong. SOV calculation is as simple and straightforward as its definition.

However, you would need some marketing data about your competitors to be able to calculate it.

Share of voice can be calculated against the total industry, multiple categories, or your direct competitors.

Imagine a Telecom client, TELECOM-A, in an advertising / media market with a total of 100 ad exposures. If the total telecom exposures are 40 ads, and TELECOM-A’s exposure is 20 ads, then the SOV of TELECOM A would be 50% against competitors, and 20% against the industry.

Simple. No?

Most commonly, only your direct competitors are considered when calculating SOV.

That’s because you need to understand the competitive environment with relevance to your own brand.


Share of Voice Formula

Total advertising exposures that your brand gets (divided by) Total advertising exposures in your category. 

This gives you the percentage of where you stand against your competitors, when it comes to gaining maximum visibility for your brand.