Recent news and Research Tidbits from Bureau West:
December 31st, 2012 by Jay Zaltzman in Research Tidbits
Research participants have been telling us for a while that they prefer online ads they can skip. That is, when they view video ads that run before their desired content, they much prefer those that give them an option to click to jump directly to the content rather than forcing them to watch the whole ad. That’s no surprise. The question has been whether offering skippable ads also makes business sense. Recent research reported in the Journal of Advertising Research says it does.
Google conducted research that analyzed data from thousands of YouTube users: half viewed traditional video ads (the kind that force the viewer to watch in order to get to their desired content), while the other half viewed the same ads in skippable format. They then analyzed the likelihood of viewers to subsequently search for terms related to the advertising content.
They found the skippable ads to be equally as effective as traditional ads, while reducing the negative impact of the ads (viewers of traditional ads tend to spend less time on the website than viewers of skippable ads).
The authors conclude:
“Online video advertising often is presented as a zero-sum game in which the interests of advertisers and users are inherently at odds. In the current study, the measurements of search activity before and after video advertisements on YouTube suggest that this need not be the case.
In fact, YouTube’s TrueView in-stream video advertisements appear to have succeeded in substantially reducing the negative user impacts of online advertising without sacrificing the value of such advertisements to advertisers. This is a substantial accomplishment.
Furthermore, these data imply that online video advertising really does work: viewing such advertisements affects later user behavior and causes users to pursue relevant search queries in the future.
Finally, giving users the choice to view (or not view) may actually increase this advertising effectiveness by engaging users in the advertising process. In this way, empowering users to choose the advertisements they watch online need not come at the cost of advertiser value but actually appears to serve the interests of advertisers and content owners and users.”
How can you create ads that appeal to your prospects and customers? Ask them! Call us to discuss conducting research with your target market – tel: (818) 752-7210.
Sources: “Empowering Online Advertisements by Empowering Viewers with the Right to Choose: The Relative Effectiveness of Skippable Video Advertisements on YouTube,” Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2012; Bureau West research
August 26th, 2012 by Jay Zaltzman in Research Tidbits
We see it in focus groups all the time: customers want to personify companies. They want to believe that a company is like a person, with motivations and desires (which can be positive or negative), instead of a faceless collection of employees trying not to lose their jobs!
In a great article on marketingprofs.com, Emily Eldridge makes the point that people are willing to pay more for products from companies that have humanized their brands.
“For example, Apple stores don’t have rows of cashiers. Instead, they have easily identifiable employees throughout the store with mobile cashier platforms ready to interact. They will explain the benefits of each product, help you deal with issues, and share their passion for the products.
People are attracted to Apple because of its sleek products, but sticker shock could be an issue. Cheaper, equally (or more) powerful products are on the market. Yet Apple continues to increase its market share. The reason is that Apple has used Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and its army of highly passionate employees around the world to humanize its brand. And consumers worldwide have responded.
Another example is Zappos.com, which places on its product pages videos of a Zappos employee talking about why he or she likes that product. It’s important to note that the videos are not about the product specs. They are personal stories told by someone who genuinely likes a particular product. When Zappos launched those videos in 2009, its conversion rate reportedly increased from 6% to 30%.”
How can you humanize your brand? Consider having marketing communications come from a specific person. Or giving your company’s communications some personality (for example, Virgin Atlantic’s “Go jet-setter, go!” or Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer). Perhaps the best place to start the process is to figure out how your customers currently perceive the brand by hiring us to conduct some qualitative research! Give us a call – no, wait: give me a call at (818) 752-7210.
Sources: “Why Being Human Matters in Marketing,” MarketingProfs, August 20, 2012; Bureau West research
Jay Zaltzman, President
Bureau West Marketing & Research
July 18th, 2012 by Jay Zaltzman in Research Tidbits
Many of us assume that the more we can engage with our customers, the better. The common wisdom tells us that more engaged customers tend to be more loyal. But recent surveys by Corporate Executive Board tell a different story: for many consumers, the rising volume of communications from marketers isn’t empowering — it’s overwhelming. Consumers actually want marketers to simplify the decision-making process, so that consumers can think less about the decision. Marketers can do that in three easy ways by helping consumers:
- Learn effectively without distraction — simplifying the research process by offering clear and streamlined brand-specific product information targeted to each decision stage.
- Trust the information they receive — providing independent ratings and reviews and recommendations from advisors consumers can trust.
- Weigh options confidently — making transparent buying guides and brand differentiated information easily available.
While the advice above may initially seem counter-intuitive, the studies found this approach to result in significantly higher likelihood to purchase. Read all the details here: http://hbr.org/2012/05/to-keep-your-customers-keep-it-simple/ar/1.
To find out how to simplify decision-making for your customers, give us a call at (818) 752-7210.
Sources: “Marketers Have It Wrong: Forget Engagement, Consumers Want Simplicity,” Forbes.com 7/02/2012; “To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple,” Harvard Business Review, 5/1/12
June 7th, 2012 by Jay Zaltzman in Research Tidbits
I recently teamed up with my colleague Betsy Leichliter to rewrite Greenbook’s New Qualitative Research Guide: Choosing Among Today’s Qualitative Options. The guide is available online at http://www.newqualitative.org/qualitative-research/introduction-to-new-qualitative-research/ and provides a handy reference to the various methods (some examples: mobile research, webcam focus groups, online journals, etc.) as well as the strengths and challenges of each.
We wrote the first edition of the guide last year, and one of the most popular features was the checklist of things to consider when choosing among the various methods available. In this year’s edition, we expanded the list of considerations to reflect the more extensive options now available. See http://www.newqualitative.org/qualitative-research/choosing-among-methods/ .
We also included 11 tips to ensure things to smoothly when using new research methods – http://www.newqualitative.org/qualitative-research/tiplist-for-your-qualitative-research-project/ . Here’s one tip we’ve found particularly useful:
Set clear expectations with participants about what they can count on from you and what you will expect from them in terms of their time and involvement. If you need group interaction during remote or asynchronous projects, address this during recruiting and build into the on-boarding process easy ways for participants to interact with each other right from the start.
To determine the best way to answer your research questions, give us a call at (818) 752-7210.
May 22nd, 2012 by Jay Zaltzman in Research Tidbits
In an interesting article on Adotas.com, Daniel Laury points out that the “journey” consumers take toward making a purchase decision has gotten much longer. Consumers no longer make a decision while standing in front of the store shelf; rather, they have many more sources of easily accessible information, such as informational websites, customer reviews and social media, accessed through computer, smart phone and tablet.
As a result, Laury suggests we consider a longer purchasing cycle when planning marketing:
“As a marketer, instead of placing all your attention on a single moment, the last click, at which you try to intercept and grab your buyer’s attention, try to think of marketing as a longer purchase cycle. Successful advertisers in 2012 will take their customers from awareness to engagement to acquisition to retention. They will define a clear consumer engagement path that tells customers a story across multiple internet channels, complete with precise tracking and reporting that measures and lifts conversions and delivers increased volumes under the same ROI.”
Of course, taking customers “from awareness to engagement to acquisition to retention” works differently in different categories, but it’s worth heeding the overall point: marketers should consider the messages their customers receive far earlier than the “moment of truth” of the actual purchase.
Case in point: in recent focus group research we conducted, participants complained that they didn’t hear from a service provider until it came time to renew the service. Does this mean they want more ads? Not exactly. They want reminders of the value provided by the company. While consumers dislike communications perceived to be solely for advertising, they welcome information that’s valuable to them. Provide that kind of information over time, and the final purchase decision will become a no-brainer for your customer!
Find out what your customers and prospects value. Give us a call at (818) 752-7210.
Sources: “Redefining the Consumer Engagement Path,” Adotas.com, May 9, 2012; Bureau West research