Published: 25th Oct 2021

Share of Search; the new marketing metric for measuring market share

Put simply, Share of Search shows the percentage of branded searches a brand has in its category. And why is it important? Because it’s a proxy for brand awareness, advertising performance and market share.

Nikita Mohide - SEO & Media Manager

What is Share of Search?

Whilst Share of Search uses organic search data, it is much more than just an SEO metric. 

Share of Search is a digital marketing metric which illustrates the number of search queries a brand has in proportion to the total search queries for all brands in their category. 

It’s useful in tracking how PR, advertising and marketing campaigns impact branded search interest. 

How is Share of Search related to market share? 

According to Think With Google, 82% of shoppers use a search engine in relation to their purchase journey. And we know that most consumers search by a brand name if they are intent on buying a product. So, the more people who are searching for your brand, the higher the probability of seeing increased sales. 

A clear correlation was found by Les Binet that supports this concept; when a brand’s share of search increases, market share is likely to soon increase. 

At the 2021 IPA Effworks Conference, James Hankins revealed his findings from a comprehensive 12 month study. They found that Share of Search can form up to 83% of a brand’s Share of Market, although it is important to note that it is a dynamically correlated relationship, rather than a direct causation. This essentially means that we cannot explicitly state that there is a direct cause between increased Share of Search and increased Share of Market as other factors may also play a part in the growth, but the data does show a general relationship between the two. 

Their study also highlighted that broadcast and mass media reach showed a larger impact on Share of Search than more targeted marketing approaches. And this makes sense, the bigger your marketing and advertising strategies, the more people you’ll reach. Which means more consumers will be more likely to search your brand. 

If a brand goes dark and stops all marketing efforts, the results show a consistent decline in their Share of Search and purchases. 

So what does this tell us? Large and consistent marketing campaigns are the most effective way to increase your brand’s market share. Rather than just focus on one targeted channel, utilise all relevant channels in your brand’s strategy if growing your market share is the goal.

How to calculate Share of Search? 

The Share of Search formula is simple;

Share of Search = Index of monthly searches for your brand ÷ Number of searches for all competitors in the brand’s category

Why use Share of Search over other marketing metrics?

In comparison to other measurements, Share of Search is cheap, quick and effective.

All you need is Google Trends for a free option. Or alternatively, you can opt for a paid SEO keyword tool to get more detailed monthly search data, we use SEMrush because it’s reliable and accurate. Either way, both options are easily accessible and the data is quick to collect and calculate. In terms of its effectiveness, studies by Les Binet and Hankins show clear and accurate correlations between Share of Search and Market Share. 

How to use it in your marketing reports?

Share of Search can tell us a lot about a particular brand’s performance, as well as the industry category as a whole. 

You can measure the performance of your brand (or competitor’s) advertising, and also use it to benchmark your brand against competitors. It shows who dominates the market, as well as up and coming brands to keep an eye on. 

Depending on how much data you use, you can see monthly fluctuations, as well as yearly market changes. And of course, the data can be used to forecast market share and growth.

It is important to be wary of negative PR, as this can cause a spike in branded searches. But by using a rolling average of 6 to 12 months data, it should account for such fluctuations. 


If you want us to calculate your Share of Search, or you’re interested in how you and your brand can act on it, get in touch with the team.

Nikita Mohide - SEO & Media Manager