If you’re running any kind of influencer marketing campaign, then you probably spend a lot of time poring over data—data about your influencers, about their audiences, and especially about the performance of your campaigns. For any posts you sponsor, you’re definitely looking at the reach and engagement. If your campaign is about more than drumming up awareness, you might be tracking conversions—website registrations, newsletter subscriptions, or even sales. As time goes by, you’re probably comparing your most current data with the older stuff as a way to track your progress. This is as it should be: if you’re not mired in data, you’re doing something wrong.
But, here’s the thing: if you’re only paying attention to the metrics of your campaigns, you’re not getting the whole picture. If a big part of the draw of influencer marketing is that it puts branded content in front of huge audiences in an authentic, organic way, then why do people only measure how their paid-posts are doing? Wouldn’t you want to know the long term effect these campaigns are having on the actual authentic conversations being had (i.e. the ones you haven’t paid for)?
Reach, engagement, and all the other stats around a campaign are essentially just moments in time. Think of it in terms of another type of campaign, a political one. Two candidates show up to a room packed with voters and start working the room to secure support. Candidate A shakes hands with 100 people but has meaningful engagement with only 20. Candidate B also shakes hands with 100 people, but engages with 70 of them. Clearly Candidate B has the more successful campaign. Except the next day, all 20 people who spoke with Candidate A start talking with their friends about their experience, while Candidate B’s audience isn’t really saying many good things, if they’re saying anything at all. Over time, many more people are talking about Candidate A. So who had the more effective campaign?
Six Social Media Share-of-Voice Metrics You’re Not Using
Data Needs Context to Be Useful
As you can see from the campaign comparison above, isolating your data to a single “moment” doesn’t really give you all you need to know about your success. Understanding your Share of Voice gives much greater context to the effects of your campaign, when measured properly. Here, “properly” means that you need to be monitoring the entire conversation, not just the ones around your sponsored-influencer generated posts.
Popular Chips, in influencer marketing platform focused on Instagram, recently released an update that includes this powerful feature. It’s essentially a social listening feature that quietly collects data and then issues reports on a quarterly basis (Share of Voice metrics aren’t all that useful on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis). Users setup their SOV reports by adding in all the relevant keywords for themselves and their competitors. Each keyword is then monitored—every hashtag, mention, or photo tag that matches any of the keywords is counted and stored for the report. And at the end of the quarter, you’ll get something that looks like this:
The above example shows the activity around 10 fashion brands—posts are along the X axis, engagement for each post on the Y. Just at a glance you can tell that Fashion Nova definitely has the highest level of engagement. Remember, though, that these aren’t necessarily posts by the brands themselves. These are any post by any influencer or public account, if they’ve used the predefined keywords in a photo tag, mention, or hashtag.
Of course, this is just the high level overview, a visual representation. There are 75,000 posts included in this report, but you can drill down onto any dot on the graph and see exactly what the post is that’s behind the peak or valley that’s caught your eye. Even more important, are the six metrics included in this report that give you real numbers showing the exact share of the conversation each brand has. Looking at this example, it’s pretty obvious that Fashion Nova is dominating the conversations around fashion brands, but this wide-angle view can’t possibly tell the whole story. And in some situations, the differences might not be so clear—the lines on the graph could be so close that it’s hard to tell the difference. This is why it’s key to go deeper, to really understand your share of all this activity.
1. Share of Engagement
This metric, as you would expect from the name, measures the engagement (likes and comments) on all of these posts. That’s the engagement by the followers of the people who are creating these posts. Whether it’s Kylie Jenner or your next door neighbor, if they’ve posted about one of the monitored keywords, the platform will record all the engagements for that post.
Here you can see that, for all the 20 million engagements recorded for all 75 thousand posts, just over half of them were in response to those where Fashion Nova keywords were used.
This very useful for seeing how much organic conversation is happening. By comparing the engagements for the sponsored posts they’d been tracking over the same time period, brands can see the indirect impacts of their advertising. This same math can be applied to any of the below stats, as well.
2. Share of Posts
This metric shows just how top-of-mind Fashion Nova is. Of the 75 thousand posts related to a fashion brand, they were the brand of record in 46% of them.
Here’s also where you can see how context can help in surveying the landscape. Fashion Nova’s engagement numbers are a direct result of the number of posts made about them: nearly 50% of the posts were FN-related, and they held just above 50% of the engagement.
But now look at Pretty Little Thing: they only show up in 10% of the posts, but (as you saw above) they account for nearly 29% of the engagement.
3. Share of Video Posts
A subset of the Share of Posts metric, this one focuses solely on each brand’s presence in video posts. Even on Instagram, video is becoming increasingly important—social video generates 12x more shares than text and image posts combined.
Here again, Fashion Nova is on top—by a long shot. Just shy of 80% of all videos using fashion brand keywords are about them. With numbers this disparate, it’s easy to conclude that Fashion Nova is spending its time focusing on video. Even though these include videos posted by regular old users, these kinds of numbers aren’t possible without a concerted effort.
And that is indeed the case: they regularly run Instagram contests for their followers to show themselves off in FN gear, tag the brand in the post, and hope they win whatever fabulous prize is being offered, like a trip to LA for a fashion event.
4. Share of Video Views
Once again, though, when we see the kind of engagement that these brands are getting, we get a little more understanding of what’s going on.
Fashion Nova is heavily on top here, as well—no surprise, given how they own the video portion of the social conversation. But here’s Pretty Little Thing once again, with impressive return on their effort. Only 293 of posted videos (6.7%) were about them, but they got almost 30 million views (nearly 12%). They don’t have nearly the share of voice that Fashion Nova does, but content around them seems to generate a lot more enthusiasm, relatively speaking.
5. Share of Influencers
Here, the data is restricted to conversation happening in the influencer community. These aren’t necessarily influencers who the brands have paid or partnered with—these are all the influential accounts that have joined in the conversation.
Statistically, there’s not much difference between the share of influential voices tagging these brands, yet Fashion Nova’s share of voice is magnitudes larger than Forever21’s. And Pretty Little Thing’s voice manages to get a lot done at a comparative whisper.
6. Share of Potential Reach
The final metric accounts for the total number of followers of all the accounts whose posts were included in this report. Looking at the numbers you can draw a couple of conclusions.
First, Fashion Nova’s share of all these people isn’t as high as you would think given the levels of posts and engagement they’ve achieved. If you’ve got 50% of the posts and engagement, and still only reaching 35% of the potential audience, that means much of the engagement is by people with smaller, likely non-influencer, accounts—and they’re engaging over and over. In other words, a lot of their voice-share comes from organic and authentic posts.
Pretty Little Thing’s share of potential reach indicates that influencers (probably paid or gifted) are carrying the conversation on their behalf, and that kind of changes my earlier conclusions about their having a more enthusiastic audience. They are getting great engagement rates, and their share of reach is respectable given their output. But it’s not translating into the organic conversations that increase your overall share of voice.
Meanwhile, Forever21 has 23% of the influencers talking about them, but less than 15% of the potential reach, and less than 8% of the engagement.
Claim Your Share
Share of Voice may be “the metric that matters in 2018,” according to at least one article, but you can see how just that on its own isn’t enough. Notice how as we went through each of the metrics, conclusions could be drawn, and then redrawn, as new information became available. For anyone managing the social media marketing of a brand or company, these are vital metrics to include in your analysis.
You can see how looking at the performance measures of your campaigns only tells part of the story. Maybe you hit 11.5 million video views, like Forever21, but SOV analysis fills in the blanks and lets you know that isn’t quite cutting it. Competitors may be getting millions more, and their voices could be drowning yours out. By getting a clearer picture of your own performance, and the chance to research what other brands are doing successfully, you can work to make your voice louder and more articulate than all the others.