The folly of Google Analytics’ exit rates

Have the Web analytics folks designing automated metric reporting for Google Analytics missed a great opportunity to improve the content management of websites? Sure, they had to simplify things to make their automated reports broadly understandable. But simplification doesn’t fully justify their handling of the “Bounce Rate” and “% Exit” rate in the “Content Drilldown” section of Google...
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Building your Theme Pool for Web Content

A swim in the pool is refreshing, but what if the pool is full of those critters called themes? Imagine a technology vendor that wants to win new customers by adding more “informational content” to its website. What themes should the new content emphasize? Or, to take one step back, which themes are candidates for emphasis? The potential pool of candidate themes is large and deep, in part because...
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Some ad copy-testing lessons for content copy-testing

Copywriters of ads have long been wary of how well ad copy-testing works–and not just because, like the rest of us, they are sensitive to criticism of their work. Should the writers of informational digital-content copy also be wary of copy-testing? Do the problems with ad copy-testing apply to content copy-testing? Even top researchers (e.g., Arthur Kover, Journal of Advertising Research,...
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Market segmentation for the Web

Market segmentation traditionally assumes that people can be segmented into groups that can be separately marketed to, based on their different product needs. But suppose, as often happens on the Web, the customer arrives in your midst—on your site—before or she has any inkling of his or her different product needs. And suppose what happens next—to that customer on your site—will strongly...
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Persuasive content and Web advertising

In the past, journalists generated content to serve one master—the public good—while advertisers generated content to serve another—the private good. Journalists’ content provided evidence that it was serving a different master by criticizing the products produced by advertisers. That aspect of the past should continue. The purpose of OpinionPath’s research methodology is not...
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Benefits of direct-to-consumer PR

The list of benefits that marketers are accruing from generating their own content continues to grow. Speed. Offers faster dissemination paths than waiting on traditional media’s schedules. High Volume. If the volume of a vendor’s content is large (e.g., a library of how-to videos), social media has the “space” that traditional media does not. Offsets Media’s Shrinkage....
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Avoiding multicollinearity through conjoint analysis

The premier research companies have helped to make conjoint analysis and its sequel, discrete choice analysis, into popular survey-design research methods. These methods ask respondents to evaluate a series of products or, in special applications where the attributes center on positioning rather than product features, a set of brands. Each product is generally presented as a bundle of listed attributes,...
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Reading on integrating experimental and observational research design

Because people stumble into the career of market research from so many other fields, many books on research and survey design need to be written at a basic level. The books listed below, though, are different. Many leap to a level of mental gymnastics that some of us haven’t experienced since college. But the exercise can be good for you! Even if you initially only understand 10% of it,...
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Merging Surveys and the Experimental Method

Designing market research to learn what we want from participants is already hard enough. Why do we have compound the challenge by introducing “advanced methods” or “analytics”? Finish writing one report on a survey with the feeling “we still don’t really know which actions to take,” and you’ll sense the answer. Survey research does a terrific job...
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New Media and Content-Marketing Collide

An increasing share of content on technology-media sites is either produced by technology vendors (e.g., white papers) or produced at their behest (e.g., some webinars and mini-sites).  Some of this “vendor content” (as distinct from user-generated content) is excellent.  Some is not.  But the question is, why is so much of it appearing on media sites rather than just on the corporate...
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