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Hires, Wins & Business

Les Binet Unveils Share of Search Metric with 10 key Findings

Effectiveness guru Les presents fast, cheap, predictive share of search metric to EffWorks Global 2020 Conference

Les Binet Unveils Share of Search Metric with 10 key Findings

Effectiveness guru Les Binet is presenting a new Share of Search metric to help track the health and potential wealth of brands and advertising to an audience of thousands at the IPA-led EffWorks Global 2020 Conference today (15:15-15:45, 14th October).

According to Binet, who has been experimenting with the Share of Search metric over the past six years, it is fast, cheap and predictive, and can measure both short and long term ad effects.

Broken down, Binet refers to share of searches as the share of organic Google search queries (not share of paid search advertising) and the metric equates to total searches for a specific brand, divided by the total searches for all brands in that category. This data can be taken from Google Trends, is free, generally goes back to 2004 and can offer weekly frequency.

To test the Share of Search theorem, Binet explored three categories: automotive, energy (gas and electricity) and mobile phone handsets, to discover 10 significant findings:

  1. Share of Search correlates with market share in all three categories.

  2. Share of Search is a leading indicator / predictor of Share of Market – when Share of Search goes up, Share of Market tends to go up and when Share of Search goes down, Share of Market falls. The gap between them – the Extra Share of Search (ESOS) – is a particularly solid indicator of market share movements.

  3. The lead time for Share of Search on Share of Market can be substantial, up to a year for cars.

  4. This long-term prediction can also act as an early warning system for brands, in terms of their market share (e.g. Volkswagen).

  5. Share of Search is not a perfect predictor though, as conversion is, of course, affected by other factors, particularly price. Equally, not all search activity is positive.

  6. Share of Voice (advertising) has two effects on Share of Search: a big short-term effect that dies away quickly, plus a smaller, longer-term effect that decays away slowly.

  7. The long-term effects, however, accumulate over time.

  8. Sustained advertising drives the growth of Share of Search with 60% of searches coming from the long-term effects and 40% from short-term effects.

  9. Each brand has an equilibrium level: if the Share of Voice falls below the equilibrium level, the Share of Search tends to fall over the next two years; if the Share of Voice is above equilibrium, the Share of Search tends to rise over the next two years.

  10. Share of Search could also be a new measure for brand strength/health of their brand by measuring the base level of Share of Search without advertising.


View Les Binet’s full deck and his EffWorks Global 2020 Conference presentation on the IPA’s EffWorks webpages.

Says Les Binet, head of effectiveness, adam&eveDDB: “Over the past 30 years, I’ve found that the relationship between tracking metrics and actual purchase behaviour is often surprisingly weak. By tracking Share of Search we have a powerful, not to mention cheap, metric to measure what people are actually doing online, rather than what they say they are doing. It is by no means a silver bullet – the data needs to be interpreted with care and researchers need more detail to be able to apply this to the real world, which is something I will be providing in a further IPA webinar in November. Without doubt though, Share of Search has enormous potential and predictive power to track brands and advertising going forward.”

Says Janet Hull OBE, founder of EffWorks Global and IPA director of marketing strategy: “We are delighted that Les has unpacked his exciting new findings with our cross-industry EffWorks audience. At a time when Covid-19 is pushing more consumers online, and while industry budgets are more strained than ever, we very much welcome the addition of Share of Search as a cost-effective, predictor of the health and potential wealth of brands and advertising. In the right hands, with the right learning, this could be a real game changer.”  

Register for Les Binet’s comprehensive follow-up IPA webinar from 15:00-18:00 on Wednesday 18th November.


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