Mitch Joel, President of Mirum, digital expert and host of the Six Pixels of Separation podcast series, interviewed me and Howard Moskowitz about our work in cognitive economics. We talk about mind genomics, cognitive economics, research we’ve done, such as the classic study of red wine, and our book Millennials, Mindsets, and Money, which is in development.
Now, Moskowitz is pushing his work further with Stephen Rappaport (a former executive for the Advertising Research Foundation and business book author). Their work is looking to help brands rethink their consumer behavior through the science of mind genomics in a specialized area they call cognitive economics. Using robust listening studies mapped against consumer segmentation techniques, they’re unearthing fascinating and new consumer intelligence on how consumer behave. Enjoy this very fascinating conversation…
To write The Digital Metrics Field Guide I had to choose which metrics to include from an ever-expanding supply. Sometimes I wondered if there was a metrics nursery somewhere, like the star nursery in 30 Doradus.
So Many Metrics. Why?
When working on the Facebook metrics, I struggled with this question: Why were there so many measures concerned with engagement, interaction and sharing? Clicks. Social Clicks. Consumptions. Likes. Friends. Fans. Etc. Were they all needed? Why?
This stumped me for close to a month until the curtain drew back: The metrics Facebook reported appeared to reflect their assumptions about how social worked on their network, the features and functions they built into their platform, and their business model for selling advertising. I’m using Facebook as an example: the same was true for other social networks, sites, and engines.
Metrics Measure a Platform’s Business Model: The Endometrics Problem
I checked this notion out with Gilles Santini, a mathematician who, among his degrees, has a Masters in the philosophy of statistics and who created many of the industry-standard media measurement models. “Stephen,” he said, “these are ‘endometrics,’ Measures that come from within the system being measured. They measure the performance of a system in its own terms.” Bob Woodard, a former head of global insights for Campbell’s and erstwhile ARF colleague put it more bluntly: “Vendors measure what they want to sell you.” Aha!
A social network, site or engine that talks up its philosophy of “how advertising works on their platform” and is then joined by a chorus of agencies, consultants, or gurus, leads brands to work hard to optimize one or more of the metrics available from that platform to improve their chances for communications success on that platform. It made “perfect sense” to design Facebook campaigns to get as many clicks, likes, or fans as possible.
Business Models Change as Business Changes
Back in 2012 Facebook ran tests with Datalogix matching a Facebooker’s ad exposure on Facebook with their purchase data for 50 advertised brands. They found that 99% of the documented sales were from people who saw ads but did not interact with them. Brand advertising, Facebook VP Brad Smallwood announced, worked just like mass media advertising. Clicks, Smallwood noted, seemed applicable in some cases, such as in direct response campaigns, but it was challenging to understand their offline sales impacts .
Facebook built upon this finding over time and shifted its philosophy, business model, and marketing towards targeting, impressions, reach maximization, and frequency optimization, and away from the old engagement model. Just last month Facebook rolled out LIFT, a tool for measuring online or offline conversions that reinforces their current model.
Metrics That Matter Change When Business Models Change
The point is that philosophies and business models furnished by social networks, sites and engines change over time. This is not a bad thing and is to be expected: after all they are growing and evolving, constantly learning about their platforms and users, figuring out what works, adjusting their endometrics, and revising their sales pitches accordingly.
5 Steps to Overcome the Endometrics Problem and Improve Your Digital Measurement
Platforms adopting new business models make the case for change. What may be best for a platform interests, however, may or may not be best for a brand’s interests. Why? Each is pursuing its own business strategy. Here are 5 steps that help align your communications goals and measurement with the platforms used.
Develop a crystal clear view of the philosophy and business model for any network, site or engine you are considering. Ask yourself these questions: How do they make their money? How do their metrics help them sell? Which of those metrics might be helpful to my brand given our objectives?
Come to your own understanding of the ways a platform or combination of platforms should work for your brands. Most media plans combine networks, sites, and engines.
Develop and agree upon a measurement framework for your communications goals, strategy, and tactics.
Select and fit relevant vendor metrics to your framework.
Periodically monitor and evaluate campaign performance. Delete, add, swap, and optimize metrics as results indicate.
These steps will help you select metrics that measure impact of your communications, tell your story to business partners, and provide the guidance you need to reach your goals. Don’t forget to revisit and reevaluate the platform’s business model to keep abreast of changes and modify your strategy and metrics as necessary.
Link of the Week: Facebook’s EdgeRank – List of Factors and Changes
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm undergoes periodic revisions to decide which items to place in users’ newsfeeds, and thus affects a brand’s potential reach. Buffer’s Kevan Lee maintains a very helpful list of algorithm factors and changes.
The “Ideas from Outside” conference Moskowitz and I spoke at opened with a panel discussion moderated by Sari Katz, Partner Manager of YouTube Canada. She assembled a panel of four very popular Canadian YouTubers. I needn’t mention them by name. One had a cooking show, two were long-time friends who created comedy programs, and the fourth was a director and producer who has his own show and creates videos for others, brands included.
They appeared similar on the outside: mid-to-late 20s, backgrounds in communications arts, especially film and video. They aim to build media brands and work with advertisers, and they are aggressively metrics-driven in their decision-making. You might think that they would be alike because we typically assume that people who share characteristics are alike. That’s the logic underlying almost all segmentation. But when we listened closely to them talk about their viewers, subscribers, ad clients, and how they went about building their businesses and brands … they were remarkably different … on the inside: There were three unique mindsets up there, We called them the Marketer, the Storytellers, and the Rugged Individualist.
Announcing Field Guide Fridays – a companion site for The Digital Metrics Field Guideproviding updates, links, points of view, debates, practices, tutorials, and interviews. The book is available for pre-order.
Field Guide Fridays address marketing, media, and advertising practitioners. People who use metrics and measurement in support of their brand-building work, but who are not uber-analysts or statisticians. Experts will find Field Guide Fridays a helpful supplemental source for the technically minded.
Expect selectivity. Plenty of sites cover the torrent of metrics news and company announcements, many exceptionally. I’ll stay with my strengths: synthesis, sense-making, strategy, practicality, and simplicity. My first topical post appears next week, and every two weeks afterwards to start.
Naturally I want this series to reflect your interests, concerns, questions, and to offer what you’d like to see: contact me with your ideas and suggestions whenever you like. With your input Field Guide Fridays should become a valuable resource that helps you and your brands use metrics in ways that contribute to their growth and yours.
One last thing. Consider putting the blog on autopilot for the ultimate convenience in receiving Field Guide Fridays. There’s a subscribe box at the top right. Your email won’t be sold or shared with third-parties, it will only be used to communicate with you.
Consumer Mindsets Tuesdays shares original research on the mindsets consumers hold towards products, services, or experiences, ranging from airlines to wine. DId you know that three different mindsets towards red wine exist, each which very different views on what interests them? I’ll show that next week.
The mindset research uses the science of Mind Genomics – that’s why a genome is the logo, and its specialization Cognitive Economics. These approaches will be explained over time.
I finally unboxed it today, having opted to let it sit and tempt me to open it. I don’t know why, but that’s what I did. Normally I tear the package open when a new book arrives. The picture at left shows The Digital Metrics Field Guide emerging from its shipping carton. There’s always a moment of truth when getting the first copy, anxiously holding it in my hands, feeling its heft, taking pleasure that the book is real, and then feeling the nervous anticipation that comes from knowing the book is poised to make its way in the world.
Every book makes its own way. Like a child you create it and nurture it and then let it go. While we have some idea of how it will mature once set free, the book’s journey — and yours — depends on what readers make of it. Putting out a new book is exciting, a little anxiety-producing, and possibly life-changing in some small or grand way. That’s the fun — where will it take you?
My greatest satisfaction comes when readers say that they found my book illuminating, educational, helpful, thought-provoking, or worth giving to others. If you pick up a copy of The Digital Metrics Field Guide, I hope it is that way for you.
The Digital Metrics Field Guide is widely available from various Amazons and Barnes & Noble online, to a raft of independent booksellers who trade online and have physical locations. A number of them offer discounts and low-cost or free shipping.
The shops linked to below appeared through a web search. Any local bookseller can order The Digital Metrics Field Guide for you.
Here is the publisher’s information for The Digital Metrics FIeld Guide:
Digital Metrics Field Guide now available for pre-order is SHIPPING NOW from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Independent Booksellers in the US and around the world
The Digital Metrics Field Guide is the definitive reference for brands of all sizes who use the Web, social media, mobile, or email for marketing, advertising and consumer engagement. It is written for the marketing, media or advertising business person whose job requires selecting, understanding and acting on the performance of their digital communications. Read more about the Field Guide …
Interested in learning about Mind Genomics and Cognitive Economics? Howard Moskowitz and I are sharing our Dropbox stuffed with books (over 20), peer reviewed articles, original research, and presentations for free and without any obligation. Access the Mind Genomics Dropbox.
Marketers and advertisers use Mind Genomics and Cognitive Economics to:
Understand consumers’ mindsets towards a product category, brand, or experience.
Discover which messages, and which combinations of messages, drive interest up or down, and by how much … and compare them across mindsets.
Compute the dollar value of each message or mixture, to uncover the trade-offs that people make. A message that raises interest may not increase the perception of value.
Create or modify products to meet consumer needs and interests, and advertising or communications that are proven to increases sales.
I will be writing about our work weekly from here on out, probably on Tuesdays. Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime about this work, via email or by filling out the contact form.
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BIS Publisher Rudolf van Wenzel sent me a link to their Spring 2015 catalog. It’s a very handsome electronic one that showcases their extraordinary list of business, design, and architecture books. The Field Guide is listed under “new titles.”
More good news. The published books are available for pre-order, at an introductory price, on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers in the US and around the world. BIS told me that they are being shipped shortly to the warehouses and should likely be available in March. When BIS knows exactly, they will revise the publication date, and I will share that with you.