May 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Via: Social Media Blog
Insights from people in the know
May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Interesting visualisation from G+ (found via Mashable).
I guess Facebook isn’t that overvalued when you compare its valuation to some of these other properties around.
May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Smartphones Make People Ignore Commercials Way More Than DVRs
from the captive-audience dept
For years, the TV industry has been at war with the DVR, because of their fear that people would just use DVRs to skip over commercials. And, of course, there were the requisite reports about how DVRs were causing massive totally made up “losses.” Except, the reality turned out to be completely different. Various studies found that DVRs changed watching habits in that they actually drove more TV watching, and actually increased retention of what was in the commercials viewers did see. Of course, the “fear” from TV folks was totally misplaced — and they were going after the symptom, not the actual heart of the issue: which is that people don’t want to watch TV commercials because the TV commercials suck.
TV commercials worked because people were a captive audience and had nowhere else to place their attention. Yet, when they have other options for their attention, they tend to take them. In fact, the latest study (sent over by Eric Goldman) shows that DVRs were never really a huge threat in terms of taking people’s attention away from ads. Instead, it seems the real threat is that everyone has a smartphone now, and when commercials come on, they turn their attention to their smartphone, check their social network/email/etc.:
It was found that simply turning one’s head to ignore video ads had far greater impact than DVR fast-forwarding is assumed to have. Magna Global estimates that 35% of U.S. households have DVRs and 10% of their total TV consumption is time shifted, within which 65% of ads are fast-forwarded, meaning 35% x 10% x 65% = 2% of total TV ad impressions are avoided through fast-forwarding. Our study found that 63% of TV impressions were avoided simply by not paying attention to the screen.
To be honest, that 2% number seems crazy lowto me, and I wonder how accurate it really is. However, even if it’s noticeably higher, it appears that smartphones and other distractions are definitely taking people’s attention away. In fact, even when people do fast-forward ads (as we noted in that study years ago) they still seem to see the ads:
When participants did use the DVR to fast-forward TV ads, nearly half of them paid full attention to the screen during that process. Fast-forwarded ads had 12% more attention levels than non-fast-forwarded ads.
Though, this study contradicts the other one from a few years ago concerning retention: saying people don’t retain quite as much from fast-forwarded ads.
Of course, you can debate the statistics all you want, the basics are pretty obvious: if your method of advertising relies on a captive audience, and that audience is no longer captive, then you’re going to have problems. TV execs were wrong to worry about DVRs, because they didn’t really take people’s attention away from the TV, and had the other side effect of making people watch more TV. However, there may actually be an issue with things like smartphones, because if people don’t like what’s on the TV (i.e., the ads suck) they now have a much more entertaining option right in their pocket. The captive audience is dead. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing the TV guys can do. They could start making the ads more compelling such that people actually want to watch them, but I guess that probably sounds like “work.”
May 27, 2011 Leave a comment
This MediaLab & YuMe study using facial tracking algorithms and biometric modeling has found that when comparing online video ads to TV ads:
“Compared to TV, online video is measurably better at delivering ads that are impossible to skip technologically and impractical to skip behaviorally.”
Ever had an idea that you know is genius, but everybody else thinks is crazy? Here is your chance to share it with the world of research. This month Dave Stenton of Voodoo Research suggests turning group discussions on their head.
What’s the big idea?
Let’s shake the focus group format up a bit. Instead of a moderator and six or seven respondents, let’s even it up: equal numbers of moderators and respondents.
Sounds complicated. Not to mention more expensive.
Not if you get each of the respondents to take a turn in the moderator’s chair.
I see. Why?
You get a different dynamic. Instead of merely responding to the moderator’s questions, respondents have to formulate their own. Sometimes the questions that are asked are more illuminating than the answers, and at the very least they provide food for thought.
“The format of the focus group has changed little in 50 years, but your contemporary consumer is very different to those of the ’60s. Let’s make them work a little harder”
But if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
The format of the focus group has changed little in 50 years. Even if you run groups online the basic set-up is the same: the moderator asks questions and respondents answer.
But your contemporary consumer is very different to those of the ’60s: they are more sophisticated in how they interpret brand behaviour and generally a lot more marketing-savvy. Let’s make them work a little harder.
Tell me more about how this works – what does the moderator do if they are not moderating?
Their role is still crucial. In the initial stages proceedings are pretty much as normal: the moderator handles the introductions, puts everyone at ease and explains the format for the rest of the discussion. Then, once conversation is flowing, they introduce a précis of the brief and the key objectives, and hand things over to the respondents.
And then what – the moderator just sits back and relaxes?
We prefer the term ‘observes’. But that’s just one scenario. An alternative – and obviously it depends on the nature of the discussion – might be for them to become a respondent. Perhaps they play the role of a target consumer of a brand. We always try to ‘get people out of their heads’ – and that applies to us as researchers as well as our clients and respondents.
But moderation is an art form. It’s a complex skill developed over many years. Don’t you risk undermining that by letting everyone have a go?
We’re not looking to undermine anything. Typically, each respondent moderates for ten minutes in a 90-minute focus group – that’s enough time for them to ask two or three questions each. Then the actual moderator takes charge once more –- they may pick up on some of the points that have been raised, and probe in a little more detail, or they may just summarise.
The benefits of doing this are twofold. First, you are challenging respondents – they can’t just give answers they think you want to hear. And the questions they ask often help pinpoint where specific, and differing, areas of interest lie. This is especially useful in new product development or positioning research. Second, it’s another way of ensuring that all potential angles are explored. We don’t allow repetition of questions so those that moderate last tend to find it especially challenging – they have to revise their questions as the discussion develops.
Is this how you now run all your groups?
No – we only do it when it makes sense. It works best for discussions that are fairly exploratory in nature – NPD and positioning work, and sometimes advertising development too.
And what’s the key to getting it right?
Preparation. You can’t just hand the brief to respondents and tell them to get on with it. Faced with terms like ‘insight platform’ some would laugh, some would cry and some would hit you. They may do all three. So plain language and a simple set-up is the key. It might involve more advance work than for a typical group, but more often than not, it’s worth it.
The themes covered by Eli Pariser at TED Talks 2011 are undeniably fascinating and interesting.
As Google, Facebook and others try to perfect the notion of a fully customised, personalised and ‘relevant’ experience for the user, have we as society stopped to question if this is in fact a good thing?
We know from our own research that while news readers love the idea of having content personalisation tools at their fingertips, they do not want that to be the only news that they read.
For fear of missing out, of course.
Just because I want to read something relevant doesn’t mean I don’t want to read something important also.
In terms of whether the future of democracy is threatened by this advanced, scientific and automated personalisation of information delivery… I don’t think so.
That’s what editors and journalists are for. Editors will never let their ability to curate and present news be taken over by a computer. And that’s why news media will always exist.
I’m loving this new initiative launched by NiemenLabs.
When you’re in news media you keep tabs on new trends and developments every day as you try to stay ahead of the curve in one of the most competitive and changing landscapes in this current era.
As an organisation, NiemenLabs has definitely done well to highlight the challenges of not only the large, mainstream media organisations, but also the smaller, community or non-profit news operations.
Now with their newly launched Encyclo, they’ve create a place where they can house all historical and ongoing knowledge about news media organisations in an encyclopedic format; their history and current trajectories, as well as how they’re affecting or being affected by change in the media landscape today.
But our main site emphasizes new developments and the latest news. We think there’s great value in a resource that steps back a bit from the daily updates and focuses on background and context. What is it about Voice of San Diego that people find interesting? How has The New York Times been innovating? What model is Politico trying to achieve? Those kinds of questions are why we decided to build Encyclo — a resource on the most important organizations and issues in journalism’s evolution.
Suffice to say that if you’re in news media and you aren’t following NiemenLabs, then you’re probably a lot further behind than everyone else who does.
May 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Robert Bain meets the residents of Insight Research Group’s online community, eVillage.
Online communities are perhaps the most talked about new research methodology of recent years. According to Forrester, clients’ understanding of market research online communities (MROCs for short) is growing – they’re becoming clearer and more focused in their requirements. On the supplier side, more and more agencies are offering online community services alongside other methods.
We decided it was time to gatecrash an MROC ourselves and meet some of the people taking part. And not just any MROC: one populated entirely by doctors.
It’s called eVillage, and it’s a permanent community run by Cello’s healthcare specialist Insight Research Group. This is a village with no pub and no post office but 700 GPs, referred to by Insight as ‘eVillagers’.
The rise of sites like Doctors.net.uk has shown that doctors have a real appetite for social media. As a result, Esther Mustchin, a director at Insight and one of the founders of the eVillage, has seen a growing willingness among pharma clients to experiment with it in research.
Still, there was some scepticism to overcome in building an online community of GPs, Mustchin says. “We’ve heard that doctors don’t want this, and that doctors aren’t on Facebook and so on, “she told Research. “But in fact it feels very natural.”
Clients can pay to run specific projects in eVillage, or just to keep a finger on the pulse of ongoing discussions. Andrew Forman, Insight’s director of marketing and sales, said the approach struck a balance between the free-for-all of social media and the tightly regulated world of pharmaceutical marketing. “If we’d tried this three years ago it might have felt awkward for many doctors,” he said, “but now it feels appropriate for the times.”
“Some companies have been much more willing to grasp the nettle than others,” says Forman. “But there’s no pharma company in the land now that isn’t beginning to develop a social media policy.” And if you’re going to get started in social media, the ‘walled garden’ of an MROC is a good place to start.
A place to talk
Doctors participating in eVillage face no pressure to reveal more than they want to. They’re encouraged to adopt a nickname (although there’s nothing stopping them using their real name if they prefer) and to select an avatar picture so they can be easily recognised by the other eVillagers.
Concerns that the community’s appeal might be limited to young or tech-savvy doctors haven’t been realised, Mustchin says, and the nature of the setting gives discussions a very different tone to traditional interviews and groups. “It’s easier for people to give a more definitive, provocative answer than they would if it were face-to-face. We’re getting some quite uncensored thoughts and responses. People can be very unguarded.”
It’s also a method that allows for engagement with people over a much longer period than traditional methodologies would. Insight recently ran a bespoke community over six months for the London Sexual Health Programme, looking at attitudes to HIV. “You could see strong personalities coming through there, strong feelings coming through, says Mustchin. “It’s surprising the extent to which respondents get attached to the community.”
Getting to know each other
Insight’s staff took me on a quick tour of the eVillage. To kick off there’s a welcome screen with various elements designed to get people motivated and engaged. There’s an introductory video on a hot topic, a list of the latest discussions to nudge people to get involved, a summary of the points the user has earned so far, and a single-question poll for them to take part in.
The poll, says Mustchin, isn’t just a conversation starter – it’s used to gauge views on serious questions. Results of a recent poll about self-administered injections, for instance, challenged the received wisdom and triggered further research into how best to ensure patient compliance.
The main topic of discussion at the time of my visit was the government’s planned changes to the National Health Service, scrapping primary care trusts and creating consortia of GPs to commission healthcare services. Some of the eVillagers were taking part in pilots of the proposed new arrangements, and all were anxious to discuss their experiences.
The nicknames of particularly colourful characters had become quite well-known in the Insight office – there was a real sense that these were living, breathing people complete with quirks, foibles and senses of humour.
Doctors are people too
Insight let Research converse with some of the eVillagers to hear about the experience directly from them. In a short post I asked them how they were using eVillage, whether they found it enjoyable and useful, what motivated them to take part and how much time they spent on it. I introduced myself rather tentatively, apprehensive about how they might react to a journalist wading in on their chat – but they turned out to be very welcoming.
The eVillagers certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, although many pointed out that it was early days and they would have to wait and see how useful or productive it turned out to be. But they were all keen to give it a go, as well as to offer helpful suggestions for how to improve the site. “I can assure you it’s great fun being on eVillage” said one participant.
The norm seemed to be to log on for little while a few times a week, maybe during lunch breaks or in the evening. One GP sounded a little frustrated that his day job was getting in the way of logging on more often.
In fact the only eVillager who said they were not enjoying it seemed to have misunderstood my question and was in fact talking about not enjoying their job at the moment – a recurrent theme.
“Always good to moan to peers” was a typical comment. “Being able to ‘let off steam’ online is a good idea” said one GP, while another who was involved with trials of the new NHS arrangements said it had given her a way to “share the pain”. Clearly they welcomed the opportunity to talk to others in the same boat.
The ability to influence pharma companies also came through as an important motive. “It’s good to hear we’re being listened to” said one participant. A fellow eVillager agreed: “It’s always great to believe that you are being listened to.” He also praised the moderators for pitching in to keep discussions on track, saying that “we can be pretty vague as GPs”.
Mustchin says the community has provided a valuable reality check for some clients – giving them a sense of what doctors really think about – and what they don’t. “They can get so wrapped up in their own marketing world that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to the doctor,” says Mustchin.
Using an online community has also changed the nature of the output materials that Insight produces, allowing them to report back to clients on a quicker, more ad hoc basis, rather than waiting months before presenting a hefty report.
The population of the village continues to grow, with eVillagers recruited through Insight’s traditional fieldwork and through referrals from other members. Other villages may soon crop up to provide a home for doctors in other countries, or with different specialisms.
Perhaps most importantly, Mustchin says, eVillage has made clients realise that “doctors are people, not robots”.
May 16, 2011 Leave a comment
An Ericsson report found that people today are so connected that 35% of them use their mobile phone apps first thing in the morning, before they even get out of bed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the time of the day with the lowest smartphone usage is during dinner, at 26%; which still means that at least 1 in 5 people will be trying to multitask with a phone in one hand and their cutlery in the other.
Social networking apps are the most used, with 22% logging on during the morning and at least 20% making one final check on their friends before they go to bed.