‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted…’

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Since John Wanamaker made his notorious statement, discussions about the impact of marketing or the ROI of a campaign have regularly come up in just about every board room. Digital marketing should make it possible to quantify everything and settle the discussion once and for all. But is that really so?

‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’

John Wanamaker

Digital marketing has certainly made the number of activation and conversion campaigns more quantifiable, but that were precisely the campaigns that were already the most quantifiable in traditional media and direct mailing. Branding remains a challenge, and a new dilemma has arisen: the ROPO effect (research online, purchase offline), that is the impact of digital media on purchasing in physical channels.

We believe that the solution no longer lies in setting up expensive market research to survey consumers. There often remains a gap between what consumers say and what they actually spend their money on, and most importantly, these surveys are merely snapshots.

Today, the solution lies in utilising online behavioural data from Google Trends, the largest database of human behaviour available that is continuously measured and free to access. The solution is called ‘Share of Search’.

What is Share of Search ?

Share of Search indicates the share occupied by a brand in the total number of search queries for brands in a specific category. As with Share of Voice, new research proves that Share of Search is an accurate predictor of market share evolution.

It goes without saying that Share of Search alone cannot fully explain market share and changes in market share, and that there are other factors lower down in the funnel that influence conversion. In addition to factors such as price, physical availability (or phygital availability in a digital work) remains a key factor.

What exactly does this mean for your brand?

From an intuitive perspective, it is logical – if you invest in campaigns to boost your brand awareness, you expect that improvement to lead to more demand. Online is the first step towards increasing the number of searches for your brand. Using that intuition, the branded search volume (the number of search queries containing the brand name) was in the dashboards that S1 (then MediaDonuts) created for my previous employer.

Starting last autumn, a number of very well documented and quantitatively substantiated cases have come to light in the UK, including from Les Binet and James Hankins. We have translated those insights into our S1 methodology, in which Share of Search is the KPI for quantifying the potential of the brand. In other words, it quantifies the ‘mental availability’ of the brand in Byron Sharp’s model in ‘How Brands Grow’.

We would be happy to carry out a free audit so that we can provide you with insight into the learnings that the online behaviour of potential buyers on search and social media could provide for your brand.

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