Trends and Techniques for Digital Marketers and Data Geeks #SESTO

john-gagnon-ses-toronto-2013John Gagnon, Bing Ads Evangelist at Microsoft, jumped into his morning keynote at SES Toronto talking about changing technology and how users are being impacted by it. He says the way people are searching and interacting with technology is changing and it is causing a lot of things to come to the forefront.

He goes through some of the projects coming out of Microsoft Research, including Trajectory, which is a map integration that allows you to take a photo of the street you are on, and it then tags the locations of various businesses, such as restaurants, right on the photo for you.

In another example, he showed how you can do a search for a type of restaurant, such as “Chinese Restaurant”. Bing maps can deliver results not only for where you are currently, but it also knows you are headed home so it will also show results for those restaurants also near where you live.

Next he talked about food science and psychophysics, specifically as it related to the work of Howard Moskowitz and Malcolm Gladwell.

Gagnon brought up the spaghetti sauce brand Prego, and how they wanted to jump from the #2 best selling spaghetti sauce to #1. Earlier, for Pepsi in the early 1970s, Howard helped design the perfect diet Pepsi and specifically how much aspartame they needed. Sweet stop was 8-12 percent – 8 percent wasn’t sweet enough but 12 percent was too sweet. So they taste tested at 0.1 percent increments, hoping to find that sweet spot. But instead, they found there wasn’t the perfect result, and there was no perfect Pepsi because of personal differences and preferences.

He then discussed spaghetti sauce marketing. Ragu was the #1 spaghetti sauce, but Prego was #2 despite having better ingredients and better quality. Moskowitz came up with ways to determine the perfect spaghetti sauce by creating 45 different varieties of sauce. But he discovered people preferred one of three types: 1. Plain 2. Spicy 3. Extra Chunky. Then he realized that no one made extra chunky spaghetti sauce and as a result, Prego cornered that market. Then as a result of his success with Prego, Ragu hired Moskowitz and determined there were multiple “perfect” spaghetti sauces… six for them.

Gagnon then said that is where we are with digital marketing – the finding the perfect Pepsi stage of digital marketing. He also says that there is not a “perfect” landing page. Only perfect landing pages. Just as with Prego and Pepsi, there is not one-size fits all that works in every single case and situation. For example, LinkedIn changes their landing page when you sign in based on your specific profile.

Stories from Psychology, a study asked people if they would they put a 20×30 billboard in their front yard that said “Drive Carefully”. Standard solicitation, 83 percent said no. If done a week after asked if they would put a 3” sticker in their window stating the same thing, 76 percent said yes to billboard. Essentially, conversions were higher when presented in steps.

Next is an example for direct phone solicitation. Standard solicitation drove 18% yes. But if they first asked “How are you feeling today” and waited for a response (of which 90 percent answered “good”), their yes rate jumped to 32%

Gagnon then discusses an interesting formula, specifically for landing pages.

Conversion Sequence for landing pages – C=4M +3V +2(I-F) – 2A

  • C= Probability of conversion
  • M = Motivation of the user (when)
  • V = Clarity of the value of proposition (why)
  • I = Incentive to take action
  • F = Friction of elements of process
  • A = Anxiety about entering information

Gagnon then jumps into ad conversions and landing page success. They analyzed various ad copy in several different industries to determine what words in ad copy drive better performance and better quality.

Ad copy variables: travel edition

  • Identified 23 primary variables within ad titles and descriptions and measured the ad quality of these variables when used in combination.
  • 250,000 ads, 300 million impressions
  • ClickZ has info on which words performed

Bing discovered that ads with variables in ad title or ad description have a higher quality on average, and it was significantly higher if there were variables in both the ad title and ad copy. In travel segment, a lot of people were looking for price points, book now, percent off, coupons, savings, as well as “official site” in the ad title and description. Specifically price points with % off combo was best for ad copy success.

He brings up yet another food example, which was very surprising. Walmart did an analysis of all their sales in all their stores and discovered when there was a storm or hurricane coming, Strawberry Pop Tarts sales went through the roof, so much so that they move more inventory to those stores when a storm is coming.

That brings up the importance of businesses being able to quantify what changed or occurred during record breaking revenue weeks, whether it was an event that brought more people to a city, or a storm that people are preparing for. Super 8 Motels discovered that due to supply and demand, when Formula One racing came to Austin for the first time, their extremely inexpensive room rates jumped to $500 a night during Fomula One. But he also stresses that many businesses can use their own data to discover the same, as many of these jumps are predictable events.

He wraps up with his final takeaways…

  1. Find your extra chunky: think landing pages and segmentation
  2. Optimize for People: Strategy > keywords
  3. Bigger data before big data: Think Excel, Open Data and GeoFlow.

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