Share of Search (SoS): Examples & Formula

Explore a comprehensive guide on Share of Search: its workings, importance, calculation, and optimization with real examples and expert insights!
(Last Updated On: November 1, 2023)

Share of Search (SoS) is a metric that quantifies a brand’s visibility in search engines compared to its competitors. It’s calculated by dividing the number of times people searched for a specific brand by the total searches for all brands in the same category, often expressed as a percentage. SoS is an invaluable metric in digital marketing, offering insights into a brand’s popularity, potential market share, and growth prospects.

Understanding How Share of Search Works

Share of Search (SoS) operates as a mechanism to measure a brand’s online presence by evaluating its search volume relative to competitors within the same industry or category. It provides critical insights into a brand’s visibility, popularity, and potential market share. 

Key Components:

1. Search Volume Data:

The initial step involves collecting data on the number of times consumers searched for specific brands or products within a defined timeframe.

2. Total Category Searches:

Calculate the aggregate search volume for all brands in the category to establish a benchmark.

3. Brand’s Individual Search Volume:

Isolate the search volume pertinent to the brand in question.


Divide the brand’s search volume by the total category searches and multiply by 100 to convert the ratio into a percentage.

Share of Search (SoS) has emerged as a pivotal metric for brands striving to gauge their digital presence, market influence, and competitive standing. It reveals the proportion of searches a brand commands within its industry, acting as a barometer for brand popularity, consumer interest, and potential market share growth.


Brand Awareness:

SoS is synonymous with the level of brand awareness in the digital realm. A higher SoS denotes enhanced visibility, indicating that a brand is top-of-mind for consumers.


If Coca-Cola has a 70% SoS in the soft drinks category, it suggests a dominant online presence, with the brand being the most sought-after search term relative to competitors.

Consumer Interest and Preferences:

By evaluating SoS, brands can discern shifts in consumer interests and preferences, vital for tailoring marketing and product development strategies.


A surge in Tesla’s SoS might correlate with growing consumer interest in electric vehicles, signaling a market trend.

Market Share Prediction:

Renowned marketing expert Les Binet highlighted the predictive power of SoS, stating, 

“Share of Search can be used as a leading indicator of market share.” 

This attests to the metric’s potency in forecasting future market dynamics.

Competitive Analysis:

SoS facilitates a granular analysis of the competitive landscape. Brands can identify rivals with significant search shares and devise strategies to bolster their position.


In the smartphone domain, if Samsung discerns Apple’s higher SoS, strategic actions like SEO enhancement and targeted ads can be deployed to amplify Samsung’s digital footprint.

Strategy Optimization:

SoS data is instrumental for topic research, optimizing marketing, advertising, and SEO strategies. Brands can identify gaps, opportunities, and trends, honing their approaches for maximal impact.


If a new cosmetic brand discerns Esteé Lauder’s towering SoS, insights can be gleaned to sculpt SEO and marketing endeavors, elevating the newcomer’s online presence.

Expert Insight:

Marketing luminary Mark Ritson accentuated SoS’s significance, asserting,

“Share of Search is the biggest, most important, digital metric you’ve probably never heard of.”

Mark Ritson

This underscores the metric’s often-underrated capacity to delineate brand health, market trends, and competitive positioning with precision.

Share of Search (SoS) is a key metric that enables brands to measure their online visibility in comparison to competitors. It represents the proportion of search queries for a specific brand relative to the total search queries in its category. Here, we delve into the intricate process of calculating Share of Search, aided by illustrative examples for clarity.

Step-by-Step Process:

Step 1: Collect Search Volume Data

Gather data on the number of times users have searched for a particular brand or product using search engines like Google. This can be done through tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.

Step 2: Total Category Search Volume

Compute the combined search volume for all brands or products in the same category to get the total searches.

Apply the formula:

Share of Search (%)= (Brands Search Volume/ Total Category Search Volume) x 100


Let’s consider a real-world example involving three prominent brands in the smartphone industry: Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi.

Step 1: Collect Search Volume Data

Apple: 600,000 searches/month

Samsung: 400,000 searches/month

Xiaomi: 200,000 searches/month

Step 2: Calculate Total Category Searches

Total searches for smartphones = Apple + Samsung + Xiaomi

Total = 600,000 + 400,000 + 200,000 = 1,200,000 searches/month

Step 3: Calculate Share of Search for Each Brand

Apple SoS:

Apple SoS (%) = ( 600,000/1,200,000 ) x 100 = 50%

Samsung SoS:

Samsung SoS (%) = (400,000/1,200,000) x 100 = 33.3%

Xiaomi SoS:

Xiaomi SoS (%) = (200,000/1,200,000) x 100 = 16.7%


In this example, Apple commands a 50% Share of Search, indicating its dominant online presence in the smartphone category. Samsung follows with a 33.3% SoS, while Xiaomi trails at 16.7%. Brands can use this data to analyze their online visibility, and market reach, and evaluate the effectiveness of their SEO and marketing strategies.

Key Insights:

  • Apple can leverage its high SoS to optimize marketing strategies and further strengthen its market position.
  • Samsung might seek opportunities to boost its online visibility and strive to close the gap with Apple.
  • Xiaomi, with the lowest SoS, could focus on enhancing SEO efforts, innovative marketing campaigns, and possibly entering untapped markets to increase its share.

Further read: How to submit website to search engines?

Share of Search vs. Share of Voice: Understanding the Distinctions with Examples

In the complex and multi-faceted world of marketing analytics, metrics like Share of Search (SoS) and Share of Voice (SoV) play pivotal roles in assessing a brand’s digital and overall market presence, respectively. Though they might seem similar at first glance, they serve distinct purposes and offer unique insights. Below, we dissect their differences, supplemented with concrete examples for comprehensive understanding.

1. Share of Search (SoS):

SoS measures the number of search queries a specific brand receives relative to the total searches in its category. It is often expressed as a percentage and is a direct indication of a brand’s online visibility and popularity.

Key Characteristics:

Digital Focus: SoS is strictly based on online search data.

Consumer Interest: Indicates the level of organic interest and demand for a brand or product.

Real-Time Insights: Offers almost real-time data, making it a dynamic tool for assessing current market trends.


Imagine the online search data for three competing smartphone brands: Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi. If Apple receives 50% of all searches related to smartphones, it has a 50% SoS, indicating strong online visibility and popularity.

2. Share of Voice (SoV):

SoV, on the other hand, is broader. It quantifies a brand’s overall presence in the market, considering multiple channels including advertising, PR, social media, and more. It reflects the brand’s ability to capture the audience’s attention relative to its competitors.

Key Characteristics:

Multichannel Focus: Incorporates data from both online and offline marketing channels.

Brand Presence: Measures the overall noise a brand makes in the market.

Comprehensive: Considers advertising, mentions, social media presence, and more.


Using the same brands – Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi – if all smartphone-related mentions, advertisements, and publicity are considered and Apple accounts for 40% of the total, then Apple has a 40% SoV, reflecting its overall market presence.

Contrasting SoS and SoV with an Illustrative Scenario:

In the digital landscape, Apple commands a dominant position with a 60% Share of Search due to high consumer interest and online search volumes. However, when considering overall market presence including advertising, media mentions, and offline promotions, Apple’s Share of Voice drops to 45%.


SoS highlights Apple’s strong digital footprint and consumer interest. It’s a testament to the brand’s online popularity and visibility.

SoV, being more comprehensive, illustrates that competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi are also significant players, investing heavily in advertising and promotions, thereby diluting Apple’s overall market noise.

Utilizing Share of Search in Brand Positioning: Insights and Examples

Share of Search (SoS) has become a pivotal metric for businesses looking to evaluate and enhance their brand positioning. It offers actionable insights into online visibility, consumer interest, and competitive standing, equipping brands with data to carve out a distinctive space in the market. Below, we explore how SoS can be instrumental in brand positioning, elucidated with practical examples.

Key Ways Share of Search Influences Brand Positioning:

1. Understanding Consumer Interest:

SoS data reveals the extent to which consumers are searching for your brand online. A higher SoS indicates increased consumer interest, and vice versa.

Example: If Nike has a 60% SoS in the athletic footwear category, it signals strong consumer interest, suggesting that Nike is a top-of-mind brand for athletic shoes.

2. Competitive Analysis:

By evaluating SoS, brands can identify their standing in comparison to competitors. It offers insights into which brands are leading in online searches, unveiling competitive strengths and weaknesses.

Example: If Adidas identifies Nike’s higher SoS, it can dissect the elements driving Nike’s online popularity, helping Adidas refine its strategies.

SoS can also uncover emerging market trends. Fluctuations in SoS can indicate shifts in consumer preferences, providing early signals for trends.

Example: A sudden surge in the SoS for electric cars might indicate a growing consumer inclination towards sustainable transportation.

4. Tailoring Marketing Strategies:

Brands can utilize SoS data to tailor their marketing initiatives. It enables them to focus their efforts on areas with high consumer interest, ensuring optimal resource allocation.

Example: If Samsung identifies a high SoS for its latest smartphone model, it can amplify marketing efforts around that specific model to capitalize on existing interest.

5. SEO Optimization:

SoS insights are crucial for SEO optimization. Brands can identify the keywords and topics associated with high SoS and optimize their content accordingly.

Example: If a skincare brand identifies a high SoS for “organic skincare products,” it can optimize its website and content with relevant keywords to capture this audience segment.

A Practical Scenario:

Imagine two emerging coffee brands, A and B, vying for a prominent position in the highly competitive coffee market. Brand A has a 30% SoS, while Brand B sits at 15%.

Actions for Brand A:

Capitalizing on Strength: Brand A, with a higher SoS, can deduce it’s doing something right. It can double down on its current strategies, perhaps enhancing online content or optimizing SEO to further boost online visibility.

Market Analysis: Analyze specific elements driving its SoS – it could be a popular product line, effective keywords, or a successful marketing campaign.

Actions for Brand B:

Strategy Refinement: With a lower SoS, Brand B needs to reassess its online strategies. It should evaluate Brand A’s strategies, look at the market leaders, and identify gaps in its own approach.

SEO and Content Enhancement: Focus on improving online content, enhancing SEO, and perhaps launching targeted marketing campaigns to boost online visibility and searches.

Google Trends is a robust tool for gauging the popularity of search terms over time and across locations. It is particularly handy in calculating a brand’s Share of Search (SoS) by providing insights into how often specific terms are entered into Google’s search engine. This guide outlines the step-by-step process of using Google Trends to calculate SoS, illuminated with examples for clearer understanding.

Step-by-Step Process:

Visit Google Trends. You don’t need a Google account to access and use this tool, but having one may offer additional features and save your search history.

Step 2: Enter the Search Terms

Type the names of the brands or products you want to compare in the “Explore” search bar. Google Trends allows you to compare multiple search terms simultaneously.

Example: Comparing three smartphone brands: Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi.

Adjust the region, time frame, category, and type of search (web search, image search, news search, Google Shopping, and YouTube search) according to your needs.

Step 4: Analyze the Data

Google Trends will display a graph showing the relative popularity of the search terms over the selected period.

Step 5: Extract the Data

While Google Trends doesn’t provide exact search volumes, it shows the relative popularity of search terms on a scale from 0 to 100. Use this data to calculate the Share of Search.


Apple: 60

Samsung: 25

Xiaomi: 15

Use the relative search popularity to calculate the SoS for each brand. Add up the values and divide each brand’s value by the total to get the percentage.


SoS (%) = (Brand’s Relative Search Popularity/Total Relative Search Popularity) x 100

Calculation with Example Data:

Total = 60 (Apple) + 25 (Samsung) + 15 (Xiaomi) = 100

Apple SoS = (60/100) x 100 = 60%

Samsung SoS = (25/100) x 100 = 25%

Xiaomi SoS = (15/100) x 100 = 15%

Key Notes:

  • The data from Google Trends is normalized and scaled from 0 to 100, representing the relative interest rather than exact search volumes.
  • Google Trends can be a vital tool not just for analyzing current SoS, but also for tracking changes over time, offering insights into trends and seasonal fluctuations.
You May Also Like