Share of Voice
However, recently a website owner friend of mine was asked by a major game company about advertising. They said they would advertise with them if they could provide 15% SOV.
The emphasizes two points to me: One- Most marketing people are book-stupid. Two- Maybe an indie should know what SOV is in case it ever comes up.
So: Item One- This person in question misused the term SOV. I had the site owner clarify and sure enough they wanted 15% of the impressions on the site (minimum). That isn't 15% SOV- that is 15% saturation. SOV is Share of Voice, 15% SOV means that your website reaches 15% of the ENTIRE market. Yes, the way this company stated it they wanted this website to reach 15% of the world's gamers. Hah, not many sites could boast a 15% SOV. Luckily we asked the right question and had them clarify they wanted 15% saturation, which is easily done and we won't let on that this person is totally misusing marketing terms.
Item two: What is SOV and why is it important?
In theory if you can reach a huge % of a market through a single source it becomes incredibly important to advertise or work with that source. In the windows PC game world this is a useless concept because so many sites have a wide range of SOVs. In the Mac market though, there is actually a site which probably qualifies for this huge % SOV- InsideMacGames (www.insidemacgames.com). This makes working with that site incredibly important in terms of building awareness of a mac game. (Apple.com is also one, but they're hard to work with)
There are some pitfalls of SOV though. The first is unlike most %s, the SOV of things need not add up to 100%. Two sites can have SOV of 50% and if you have 100% saturation (meaning you reach everyone on those two sites) you could STILL only reach 50% of the market. This occurrs when the two sites are visited by the same 50% of people. SOV is only useful when you have a huge % at a single source OR you have multiple sources with little overlap.
In PC games this is unlikely at best- however, it is an important concept. If you can prove you are reaching a site that is unique to a market (gamers go there and nowhere else) then that site is also incredibly valuable.
While it is likely not to affect any indies, the trouble most large ad campaigns get into is the level of overlap begins to degrade the quality of the ad. Ads are useful, even if the person sees them more than once and in multiple places- but at a certain point the ad becomes ineffective (you have either reached that person and gotten them interested or you have not). Too much overlap in your SOV ratios and you are likely to reach this level much sooner. This is why there is some benefit to advertising with few very large outlets as opposed to many small ones. For an indie the price difference rarely justifes that though.
So- Share of Voice will probably never come up in your indie life... but be on the lookout for the MISUSE of this term.