Category Archives: Analytics Education

Awareness versus Persuasion

In the early days of Home Shopping Network (live TV, not online), we were doing some ethnographic research and started to find “physical clusters” of customers – neighbors or people who worked together.  For example, one of these groups was nurses at hospitals,  especially nurses  who worked the night shift.

We looked for the most active member of the cluster (our “thought leader”) and asked them if they would help us with a “member get a member” program.  Would they be willing to distribute discount coupons to their friends, especially ones who were not already customers?  Time after time, the answer was:

“Honey, all my friends are already customers of yours”.

We launched the program anyway, because it was a pet project from upstairs  – I was a junior marketer at that point so I couldn’t kill it ;)  The program never, ever worked, no matter how hard we tried.  It generated very few new customers while giving lots of discounts to people who were already active buyers.  Basically,  the cost of those discounts overwhelmed the value of the new customers generated.

Apparently a similar thing happens online with Social marketing.

As part of a WAA program that reviews academic research for WAA members, I was able to take a look at a paper titled:  Firm-Created Word-of-Mouth Communication: Evidence from a Field Test by David Godes and Dina Mayzlin.

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eMetrics “ShootOuts” We’d Like to See

I was in Vancouver for a presentation to CAUCE [kay-yoose, thanks Raquel] and was able to grab a quick dinner with fellow WAA BaseCamp stakeholders Andrea Hadley, Raquel Collins, and Braden HoeppnerWe’re rolling out a new 2-day format for BaseCamp and got to talking about web analytics education in general. 

We started talking audience segmentation and content at the eMetrics Summit, and specifically the “shootout” format from the old days.  You know, 10 vendors on the stage at the same time taking questions from the audience.  Those sessions were both educational and hilarious at the same time, as the vendors side-swiped each other on topics like accuracy, how visitors are counted, cookie structures, and so forth.

But that was back when the technology was in flux, and now that issue has settled down a lot.  Braden brought up the concept of returning the “shootout format”, but more on the business side.  You know, get some practitioners, vendors, and consultants up on stage and have them thrash out stuff like:

1.  Attribution – does it really make sense to even bother with attribution at the impression / click level when there is often not a strong correlation to profit?  I mean, just because someone sees or clicks on an ad does not mean the ad had a positive effect; in fact, it may have had a negative effect.  Why not go straight to action or profit attribution, instead of using creative accounting?

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