Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Share of Voice on The-EV1-Planet

When I first came across TrendIQ a few weeks ago, I was skeptical about its market research methodology. According to TrendIQ, the importance of a company/product/event is closely correlated with the amount of available text on the subject on the Internet. If there exist 100 pages of content on donuts, and 30 of them mention Krispy Kreme, that's a 30% "share of voice". TrendIQ monitors such stats over time to gauge where you stand relative to the competition in consumers' hearts and minds.

I wasn't sure I liked this approach because some pages of content reach far larger audiences than others. It seemed like over-simplification to equate volume of references with consumer sentiment. But maybe there's more validity to TrendIQ's stats than I realized.

1. A chart in Technorati CEO David Sifry's recent "state of the blogosphere" summary showed that major news events create noticeable spikes in blog posting volume.

2. My friend Warren says nobody really takes time to read; most visitors to even CNN or Slashdot probably only give the headlines a cursory glance. And my other friend Patrick says there are far more content creation tools (websites, blogs, forums, many kinds of social networking profiles) than expression-worthy ideas - which might explain why almost half of new blog owners stop posting within 3 months.

To make a long story short, readers are great, but if your company/product/event is something people invest time in writing about, you've made a much more significant impact.

Anyway, I got to thinking about share of voice because EV1Servers, the web hosting company I used to work for, merged with its arch competitor ThePlanet last week. GI Partners, a private equity firm, recently bought a controlling interest in both. EV1 and ThePlanet together manage 50,000 web servers, which are home to 1.6 million websites. Together they form the world's largest web server provider.

Is this an important event? Apparently not. It was briefly noted in the Web Hosting Industry Review and Netcraft, but not blogged about at all - even though people in the web hosting business are a relatively vocal lot. There's some discussion on EV1's and ThePlanet's customer forums, but both threads combined had only a handful of posts. In comparison, there was much more feedback on EV1's new website design, and a great deal of clamoring for Opteron servers. Apparently customers care about customer-impacting events, even if they seem relatively trivial. As for major announcements from your company? Maybe not so much.


Anonymous Jeff Weller said...

Just to help assure you - we take great pains to verify our approach agasint known data sources. For example - our information exactly matched the results of the last presidential election.

Another example that is a bit more complicated follows and uses the logic: If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Our Life Insurance company market measuement across all companies (Call it A) is highly correlated (94%) with State population (Call it B). If you believe (which we do) that actual life insurance sales across all companies (Call it C) should be highly correlated with State population (We called that B above), then you conclude that A = C (meaning that our content measurement approach is a valid indicator of actual insurance sales for the industry). Admitedly, it is a better example for mathematicians - but, I hope the point is made - we are very careful and use validated methodologies.

For the insurance information - see www.trendiq.com/Subscribers/ins-lifecos

Jeff Weller

12:25 PM  

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