• 08 Aug
    Cognitive Biases all Marketers Should Understand (Part One)

    Cognitive Biases all Marketers Should Understand (Part One)

    If there’s one thing for certain about us human beings, it’s that we’re terrible at making rational decisions.

    dilbert decisions
    (Image source)

    When presented with a choice, we often defer to using heuristics, which are simple, efficient rules that help us make quick decisions when faced with a difficult choice, rather than coming to a rational conclusion. (This will likely sound familiar if you’ve read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking fast and slow, Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting: The art and science of prediction or Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational – all really great books!)

    Heuristics can be very practical, as we don’t have the time to analyse and rationalise every single one of the 35,000 decisions we make on a daily basis, but they can also result in cognitive biases. These biases are errors in our thinking and decision making that happen when we attempt to process and interpret information, usually influenced by subjective experience or environmental factors.

    Cognitive biases have fascinated me for a while now. But more than understanding exactly what they are, I think what’s most interesting is seeing them in action, and understanding how, as marketers, we can better understand how our audience make decisions and then use this insight to improve our positioning and communication.

    In this post, I’m going to walk through four common cognitive biases. I’ll explain different ways you can use them to your advantage, along with examples of brands that are a step ahead and are already implementing these tactics within their marketing strategy. Who knows; you may already be appealing to these biases without even realising it!

    The anchoring effect:

    Can you ever remember making a purchase simply because it was on sale and compared to its original price, it was simply too good a deal to pass up?

    If so, I’m sorry to break it to you but it would appear you’ve been the victim of the anchoring effect.

    What is the anchoring effect?

    Anchoring is a cognitive bias that refers to our tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive. This means all new information is only viewed relative to the first.

    In the example of a sale, rather than rationally working out “is this a good deal”, we switch this question to the easier one of “is this a good deal compared to the product’s original cost?”. With the “WAS” price in front of us, this is a much simpler conclusion to make.

    Now think about how anchoring might affect negotiations.

    The person who comes in at the starting bid, or price, has the upper hand as all negotiation will be adjusted from that initial starting point.

    That’s why if you’re trying to sell a service or product, or negotiate your salary, it’s a good idea to get in first and set the asking price higher than what you’re hoping to get.


    Similarly, if you’re looking to buy a service or product, or negotiate an employee’s salary, you have the upper hand if you come in first with a lower offer than what you expect to pay.


    I think this cartoon sums it up pretty well:

    anchoring effect comic strip(Image source)


    Examples of the anchoring effect in marketing:

    The most obvious place you see the anchoring effect in marketing is on sales and pricing pages.


    Take this example from OnePager below:

    onepager pricing page

    Not only do OnePager showcase their agency packages on the same page as their starter packages, they startwith the agency price, which is significantly more expensive than the next available option.


    Even if you’d never need the agency package, by seeing this cost first, all other packages are suddenly viewed in relation to $199, rather than to other more comparable packages. Suddenly $15 seems like a bargain, even if you really only need the $8 package.


    Now let’s take a look at a slightly different example from Nutmeg:

    nutmeg fees page

    If you haven’t heard of Nutmeg, they’re a platform that manages your investment portfolio for you based on your risk appetite.

    The screenshot above is from their fees page. What I want you to notice is the slider. The page loads with the automatic expectation that you’ll be investing £25,000, and the position of this to the left of the slider implies that this is a low investment amount.

    For a lot of people using Nutmeg, I’d hazard a pretty strong guess that that’s going to be more than what they’re willing or able to part with. When you push the slider down, you’ll notice that the minimum investment amount is £500 – much more reasonable. But by having the automatic suggestion at £25,000, this amount becomes the anchor, so if you were initially planning on investing a small amount of £500 – £1000 – it’s likely you could be persuaded to increase this amount, without them even asking you directly.



    The bandwagon effect:

    If all your friends decided to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?

    This was one of my mother’s favourite lines when I was growing up. I’m sure a lot of you were delivered something similar by your parents whenever you asked to do something and gave the reason as “But so and so are doing it!”

    My mother was certainly clued in on the bandwagon effect.

    bandwagon cartoon(Image source)


    What is the bandwagon effect?

    The bandwagon effect is one of the better known and longest-studied heuristics. It’s a bias that occurs as a result of social proof; where we make a decision based on popularity of the options amongst our peers, rather than from rational comparison. (This article from the Economist explains it really well with lots of further reading referenced).

    The bandwagon effect is why we’ll choose a cafe or pub with people sitting in it over an empty one, or watch a TV series because everyone’s been talking about it, even if it isn’t a standard genre we’d go for.

    For a more topical example, how many of you have secretly or somewhat reluctantly downloaded the Pokemon Go app, even if you wouldn’t call yourself a Pokemon fan?

    (For the record, I have not… yet…)

    Even if you haven’t, are you somewhat curious? I mean, as everyone is playing it and talking about it, it must be pretty good. Right?

    Bandwagon effect strikes again.


    Examples of the bandwagon effect in marketing:

    One of my favourite examples of the bandwagon effect in marketing is from Groupon.

    They appeal to the bandwagon effect three times above the fold. Take a look in the image below and see if you can pick them out:

    groupon page

    Find them? They’re not exactly subtle.

    You have the average customer review, supported by the total number of 2483 customers; You have the “Over 1000 bought”; and you have the Facebook share count.

    Having these multiple points of social proof acts to validate both the Crazy Bear as a venue, as well as the deal itself.

    Bonus points if you also noticed the anchoring effect going on here too. £25 for afternoon tea seems pretty bloody reasonable against £63!


    How you can use the Bandwagon effect

    Here are some simple ways you can invoke the bandwagon effect:

    Share counts:

    If you’re not already doing so, consider having share counters alongside your social share buttons on articles and key pages. Keep in mind this can also work against you (negative social proof) if your content isn’t consistently getting high shares.

    I’d opt for a plugin that you can set to hide share counts under a certain amount. Two I know of that enable this are SumoMe, and Social Warfare.


    Previous and existing clients:

    If you’re a service provider, displaying your past and current client base is another way of demonstrating positive social proof.

    We have ours displayed on our homepage which show a range of industries, as well as different sizes of businesses:

    white clients


    Total number of customers:

    Publicly shouting about the number of customers, users or downloads your product or service has will help with positive social proof and evoke the bandwagon effect.

    You’ll often see this for software downloads (think about the app store as an example of this) as well as for webinars and for events. You’ll also see it used heavily in fundraising platforms:

    kickstarter page



    Showing aggregate reviews and ratings is yet another tactic that you can use, and various review sites will integrate with AdWords to show positive aggregate ratings next to your ads. Positive reviews (especially in high numbers) are one of the best ways to boost your click through rates of PPC ads, and boost individual product conversion rates.

    Further reading:

    This article from Forbes goes into a lot more detail on bandwagon marketing then I have here, so if you’re interested in learning more, give it a read.


    The sunk cost fallacy:

    You’ve purchased a book and you’ve started to read it. After a few nights’ reading the early chapters and making solid progress, you realise it’s not nearly as good as you thought it was going to be, but you keep reading. After all, you’ve already invested the time and effort in buying the book, and spent the last 3 evenings getting half-way through, you may as well finish it… right?

    What is the sunk cost fallacy?

    In economics, sunk cost refers to a cost that’s already been incurred and can no longer be recovered. As such, economists argue that these purchases or investments should not factor into decision making. Instead, you should make decisions based on the expected future costs and benefits.


    But that would be too logical, wouldn’t it.


    You see, the problem with this logic is that it doesn’t factor in loss aversion – We’re wired to avoid loss, more than we’re motivated towards gain, so when we invest in something, we are very reluctant to abandon it, often resulting in us investing more and being worse off than if we’d cut our losses, be that financial, time, or effort.


    My friends, welcome to the table the sunk cost fallacy.

    sunk cost fallacy cartoon

    (Image source)


    Examples of the sunk cost fallacy in marketing:

    You see people utilising the sunk cost fallacy all the time in marketing, primarily for customer retention.

    Any product or service that requires an initial, non-recoverable investment will help tie your users or clients to your service.

    Now remember, this doesn’t have to be financial investment.

    Think back to when you first signed up to Twitter or LinkedIn – both of these platforms do something very clever when new users register. They don’t make it easy to just create an account. Instead they lead you through a series of processes. You’re directed to enter out your contact information, find and connect with friends, fill in profile information – and they don’t make it easy to skip steps along the way.
    linkedin sign up

    Trust me, that’s not just them being helpful; that initial investment of time becomes a sunk cost – you’re not going to get that back. Suddenly you’re a lot more motivated to use the service than if you’d just had to enter an email address and click a button.

    To emphasise the investment users have put in, having clear progress statuses can be very effective.

    Again, LinkedIn is a great examples of this, showing your progress in setting up your profile:

    linkedin process

    And keeping a profile strength bar on your profile, even as a dedicated user:

    skippy linkedin

    Another good example of how I’ve noticed the sunk cost fallacy work on me, is with my Nike Plus running app. Every time I go for a run I sign in to the app and track my miles.


    The app now holds a bank of data of my running performance – and everytime I log in I’m faced with a reminder of the literal blood, sweat and tears that I’ve invested in that app, not to mention the 300+ miles. Trust me – there’s no way I’ll be swapping to Map My Run any time soon, even if it was the better option for what I needed going forwards.

    nike plus

    (Image source)

    How you can use the sunk cost fallacy


    If you have a shocking product, or simply can’t offer value to a specific user – I can’t help you. But even the best companies have some strong competition these days, and what an understanding of the sunk cost fallacy can do is improve customer retention.


    The examples above teach us that we should get an initial investment from our customers as soon as possible. The more emotional this investment is, the better.


    They also showcase the importance of maintaining contact with our customers – providing them with a status update or virtual (if we can’t provide a real) progress bar, and providing ways that they can continue to emotionally invest in what we have to offer them. As an agency, flexible roadmaps, access to project management tools, and a system to ensure weekly and monthly catch-ups is not just great from a client experience perspective, it also reinforces the investment both parties have made.


    Further reading:

    This post from You Are Not So Smart analyses the sunk cost fallacy, using a key example of the 2010 Facebook app game, Farmville.


    The choice-supportive bias:

    We’ve all heard of buyer’s remorse; that sinking feeling we get after making a purchase that we know, retrospectively, we didn’t need.


    But think carefully about this – what do we usually do to get rid of this feeling, or to avoid it in the first place? This might be hard to answer, and that’s because it comes quite naturally, without us consciously deciding to do so. And when it does, the choice-supportive bias is at play.


    What is the choice-supportive bias?

    Choice-supportive bias is what it’s called when we think back to choices we’ve made and ignore or downplay the faults of the option we chose, and exaggerate the faults of the options we didn’t select.


    By doing this, we reduce the likelihood of feeling regret or remorse over the decision.

    choice supportive bias

    (Image source)

    Essentially, we don’t like to be wrong – so we avoid recognising we’re wrong and instead skew our recollection of the decision making process to reinforce that we made the right decision by focusing on the good aspects of the journey, and ignoring the bad.


    Examples of the choice-supportive bias in marketing:


    The choice-supportive bias really comes into its own after you’ve gained a customer. It also compliments the sunk-cost fallacy beautifully; once users feel invested, they find it harder to break away.


    Email marketing campaigns that are triggered after a conversion are one of the best examples of how marketers trigger the choice-supportive bias.


    The best kind of emails are those which contain information that reinforces the customer’s positive perception of your brand. This could be as simple as helpful information about the product, a free Ebook sent out when people sign up for a webinar, or customer testimonials of a service that a new customer has just signed up for. Better still, it could say something positive about the user themself!


    Dollar Shave Club do this very well by reinforcing that by signing up, you’re now part of an “elite club of geniuses” – That right there is choice-supportive ammunition handed to you on a silver platter.

    dollar shave club(Image source)

    Toms is another example, this time reminding you that you’ve not just purchased a product – you’ve joined “The movement!”:


    (Image source)


    These are both post conversion tactics, but companies can also trigger the choice-supportive bias during the marketing funnel itself.


    This is usually achieved through micro-conversions. Filling out a lead-gen form, opting in to a newsletter or liking a brand on social media all count as “choices” to align with your brand that your users will defend, and which will help ease their journey through the rest of the conversion funnel.


    Dollar Shave Club is a great example of this. They don’t just flatter in their confirmation emails, they provide flattery throughout the entire customer journey, along with a brilliant user experience.


    Everything about the user journey is positive, providing lots of reference points for users to justify a purchase.


    There’s a very in-depth post on the choice-supportive bias by Jeremy Smith, in which he also uses Dollar Shave Club as an example: “Throughout the conversion funnel, the messaging gets warmer and more self-satisfying. By the time I’m done buying, I feel like I’m some sort of shaving god.”

    dollar shave club products

    (Image source)

    How you can use the choice-supportive bias in marketing:

    Something worth noting is that the choice-supportive bias is especially likely to be triggered when the choice reflects positively upon the user, and as such – it’s possible to trigger the bias during the conversion process itself, not only after you’ve made a sale. This is what makes the Dollar Shave Club’s conversion process work so well.

    The great feeling of having a seamless user experience, seeing brilliant customer testimonials, noticing a relevant and clear value proposition, and having access helpful customer support not only makes users more likely to convert, it means they’ve already got positive connotations of the brand, which they’ll actively reinforce following the purchase.

    After a user does convert, sending confirmation emails that point out the positives of the decision they’ve made will mean you’re doing a lot of the hard work for your customers.


    Summing up:

    In this post I’ve run through only four out of hundreds of identified cognitive biases.


    I’ll be doing part 2 of this article in the near future, delving into another four common biases and how you can use them to improve your marketing efforts, but if you’d like to do some further reading in the meantime, I suggest starting with this crazy list on Wikipedia.


    I also recommend looking into the books I mentioned in the introduction, which I’ve linked to here as well along with a couple of other good’ns:



    If you’ve got other examples you’d like to share, or questions about other resources I can point you to, do leave a comment or feel free to reach out on the Twitters!

    By Aisha Kellaway CRO Marketing
  • 04 Apr

    How PR can 10x your SEO, PPC and conversion results

    pr what it means

    At the end of last year, Google released their latest search quality guidelines.

    The 157 page document was created to help human quality raters assess the quality of various sites on the web. Essentially the document details what Google is looking for in a web page, and what sites need to offer users in order for it to rank.

    While it’s worth taking a look at the guidelines yourself, a comprehensive post published on Search Engine Journal last month detailed five key takeaways and strategies that can be taken from them – which does a lot of the hard work for you.

    The gist is that beyond having a technically sound site, we can’t optimise our websites for search engines any more, we need to be optimising them for users.

    As marketers, this means we need to be communicating what users can expect from us, and we need to deliver on those promises in the most effective way possible.

    We need to listen to customer feedback – what our customers actually tell us, and what their actions on our sites tell us – to understand what barriers might prevent them achieving their goals.

    And instead of focusing on individual ranking tactics, we need to focus on building our reputations. We need to showcase our expertise and build our authority, earn the loyalty of our consumers, and build relationships with key influencers to in turn earn recommendations, referrals and links.

    The best way to achieve this? A proper understanding and implementation of PR.

    brand is another word for reputation or image

    Misconceptions around PR:

    A few weeks ago, I delivered a presentation at Outreach Digital on an introduction to PR strategy for startups and Entrepreneurs. To kick off, I asked the audience what they thought Public Relations was. The responses I got were:


    “Sending press releases and talking with journalists”

    “Getting your story out there”

    These are all legitimate responses, and all of them are an important part of PR. But every one of them is focusing on an individual tactic rather than the bigger picture.

    Unfortunately, a lot of businesses make this mistake. In my experience, many businesses see PR success as favourable media coverage. In a digital context, this has been translated to building and earning links.

    I’m not saying these aren’t important metrics and outcomes of a PR campaign or strategy – they undeniably are, but if this is the only KPI that you’re judging your PR team’s efforts on, you’re missing a very big trick.

    So, if PR isn’t just about press coverage (FYI – that’s called publicity), and if digital PR isn’t just about link building – then what exactly is it?

    The Father of Public Relations:

    In 1995 an obituary was written for a Mr Edward Bernays describing him as “the father of public relations”. And in 1990, Bernays was credited as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.

    Despite this recognition, it’s quite likely you haven’t heard of Bernays – but most people living in America through World War One and the decades following would have been influenced by his work.

    Using his uncle, Sigmund Freud’s, psychoanalysis theory (specifically, how to influence group behaviour and attitude) Bernays developed one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the first world war. After seeing the influence of propaganda relations in wartime, and the benefits of investing in building influence, over buying attention through advertising, he paved a career and pioneered an entire industry in what he started calling “Public Relations”.

    His 1945 book (titled “Public Relations”, and available to read online here, or to order from Amazon if you’re super keen here) is the most pertinent book on PR I’ve ever read, despite being first published over 70 years ago.

    In it, Bernays defines PR as:

    “Information given to the public to persuade and modify actions and attitudes.”

    As well as:

    “The efforts to integrate attitudes and actions of an institution with its publics, and of publics with an institution.”

    The first part of the definition talks about one-way communication. This is the part of PR that most people focus on.

    But the second part of the definition is key, and it’s what a lot of people forget about. The second part of the definition explains that PR is about relationships.

    Public Relations is about setting expectations, and then meeting them. It’s about not only talking to people, but of listening to them and their needs and making adjustments accordingly to earn their loyalty and good faith.

    In other words,

    PR is the ongoing process of communicating and maintaining relationships with the different groups of people you rely on for the success of your business.

    When you understand this, you will see that PR is involved in anything that influences your relationships and reputation through communication.

    And by investing in, and improving, communication with your users, you’ll better understand their wants and needs, and in turn can offer them a much better experience – with your web presence benefiting as a result.

    PR is anything that influences your reputation through communication

    PR vs Marketing. What’s the difference?

    When I explain PR like this, it often leads to questions about the difference between marketing and PR, and comments on how the two are merging.

    The answer is that they were never separate entities in the first place.

    PR is and always has been part of the marketing mix.

    It’s the part that focuses less on individual products and services, and more on a business or brand’s overall reputation amongst, and relationships with, the groups of people that your business or brand relies on.

    To do this, you actually need to figure out who these groups are.

    A lot of people only think of target customers and the media, but other important groups that might be relevant include current consumers, investors, community groups, industry influencers and peers.

    Just as we have different practices and specialties within digital marketing (UX, SEO, PPC, content marketing) there are multiple specialties within the broader practice of PR (eg. consumer relations, employee/internal relations, investor relations, media relations etc).

    The PRs job is to understand each of these different groups of people and how building relationships and communicating effectively with them will enhance the efforts of the marketing team.

    Why PR matters in a digital world

    In the digital marketplace, the voices of our individual consumers, be them customers, employees or any other invested body, have more influence than ever before. Geographic boundaries are all but irrelevant. There is higher competition, and the abundance of information, comparison sites, and consumer reviews is making it harder to rely on marketing and advertising messages alone to cut through the noise and earn market share.

    In this landscape, customer and consumer loyalty is at a premium. And expertise, authority, and trust are paramount.


    Communicating and building all of these traits is the territory of public relations.

    So if you limit your digital PR efforts to link building, suffice to say, you’re doing yourself and the rest of the marketing team, a disservice.

    A case for PR beyond link building:

    The truth is, your digital PR efforts probably already go beyond link building and media/influencer outreach, you just aren’t thinking of these efforts as PR.

    Here are some examples:

    User experience and testing: If you’re investing in user testing, and are actively seeking or setting up infrastructure on your site to get feedback from your users, you’re investing in public relations.

    Onsite content
    : If you’re writing on-site content with conversion intent, rather than just ranking intent, you’re focusing on effective communication that sets and matches expectations which in turn helps users achieve their goals. Newsflash; you’re investing in public relations.

    Customer reviews and trust signals: If you’re advising clients on the best ways to respond to reviews on third party sites, as well as creating a strategy to showcase reviews on site and elicit a higher rate of positive ones following future purchases, you’re invested in the company’s reputation and trust – and, yep, you guessed it, that’s investing in public relations.

    Social media: If you’re creating social media strategies with an aim of building a community around loyal customers, reaching new ones, and improving your authority within your industry, you’re investing in public relations.

    Crisis management: Whilst only really relevant for major corporations, if you’ve ever had to develop, advise on, or implement a dark site that provides instant and up to date information in the face of a major crisis (Think Malaysia Airlines after MH370, or BP after the gulf of Mexico oil spill) – then you’re definitely invested in public relations.

    malaysia airlines dark site

    Content marketing: If you’re investing in creating remarkable pieces of content, that are in line with the values of your brand and help communicate or enforce any of your key messages, then you’re invested in PR.

    So, why does it matter that we call it PR?

    It doesn’t.

    Call these efforts what you like.

    The important thing is that you understand what PR actually is, and recognise why it matters. Because the individual marketing tactics are not important. They have changed over the decades as the platforms we use to communicate with our audiences have evolved around us.

    But the fundamentals of PR haven’t changed, and they never will.

    It’s when you, and your team, realise the importance and value of building your reputation, and improving/investing in relationships, that you unlock the potential of PR for your company or your clients’ businesses.

    Every interaction consumers have make up your brand

    Instead of working towards separate goals – be that traffic from the SEO team, lead gen from the sales team, links from the digital PR team – a PR framework at the core of your digital strategy will enable you to come together to attain these KPIs through bigger, common goals.

    You’ll improve communication, create a better experience for users, deliver on promises, and ultimately, earn the loyalty of customers as well as others in your community.

    Because if you succeed in building and retaining your reputation, then the hard part of your marketing, and your sales, is already done for you.

    By Aisha Kellaway CRO PPC SEO
  • 26 Nov

    MeasureFest 2015: what did we learn?

    Yesterday was MeasureFest’s inaugural edition from Brighton. Hosted in the city’s Corn Exchange, MeasureFest this time provided three distinct sessions; Attribution, Testing, and Measurement (which could also have been called ‘How to wrangle Google Analytics data into a better, prettier, and more comparative format’).

    All in all, there was something there for everyone, but not everyone was likely to enjoy all of the sessions. Let’s take a look at the agenda for the day…

    Russell McAthy – Attribution You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
    Harriet Checkley – Attribution 2.0
    Lewis Lenssen – Measuring The Marmite Media
    Martijn Scheijbeler – Scaling Your Testing Program for Maximum Impact
    Connor Wilkinson – Creating a testing culture in Asda
    Tim Stewart – Roadmaps & Experiment Design – Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
    Neil Barnes – Turbo Charging Your Google Analytics Data
    Adam Englebright – Google Analytics Minus Google Analytics
    Elayne Phillips – Measuring Communications in Downing Street
    Nikki Rae – Segment or Die! – The underused Cliché


    Given the breath of different marketing disciplines covered by the three sessions, it would be silly to try to cover each talk in the detail they require and deserve, so instead I’ve chosen some of the key discussion points of the day on which to ruminate.

    #1 – Testing strategy

    One of the points that stood out most from the talks at MeasureFest yesterday was in the strategy behind A/B and MV testing. There were widely different approaches mentioned across a number of talks and it certainly got me thinking….

    The main discrepancy in the approaches seemed to be in whether a value judgement needs to be placed on any test before it happens, in order to determine what value the result of a test might possibly have.

    On the other side of the coin was the approach of Dutch speaker Martijn Scheijbeler from The Next Web, whose approach seemed a lot more free and objective than those of his corporate red tape restrained fellow speakers. His approach, do everything fast and without any pre-judgement of its result or budgetary impact, was certainly a lot more exciting and the very definition of an agile testing environment.

    Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 11.33.26

    That’s not to say his team aren’t aware of overall KPIs or goals, just that they don’t let red tape restrict them from the potential to find something unexpected.

    The pace and breadth at which Martijn’s team in Amsterdam worked at testing impressed a lot of people in the Measurefest audience…

    Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 11.28.55

    You can find Martijn’s slide deck from his talk (Scaling Your Testing Program for Maximum Impact) below. (Warning: contains coarse language!)

    [slideshare id=55469738&doc=measurefest-151124161336-lva1-app6891]

    #2 – The (potential) impact of Adblocking

    Lewis Lenssen, Rakuten’s Attribution’s Marketing Director was asked about the impact of Adblocking by a member of the audience after his talk. His main points were that many people use ad blockers because the ads they encounter slow down page loading.

    Lewis highlighted that it was up to the advertising networks to find solutions to these issues. He also said the industry needs to be more transparent about the data it collects and how it is used in order to combat the increasing use of ad blockers.

    Interestingly, just this week, news hit that Yahoo had banned US users from accessing their webmail if they had Adblockers installed. Yahoo confirmed the changes, which includes a pop-up box asking users to pause their ad-block software before they could access their inbox.

    Some think this action is rather rich, coming from a company who admitted that adverts on its homepage had been infected with malware for four days last year. For more information on the arguments for and against, check out the video above from Mashable.

    #3 – Simple GA solutions

    Both Neil Barnes from Friday Media Group and Adam Englebright from Measurelab extolled the virtues of Google Sheets and its facilities to hook it up to GA to produce easy, digestible dashboards from standard GA data.

    The emphasis was definitely on making the most of the free data we get from Google Analytics, and creating ways of viewing data from multiple domains side-by-side. There was also an acknowledgement that employing familiar Microsoft graphical elements, such as pie charts, line graphs and colour formatting makes dashboards easier for non-analysts and non-technical stakeholders to view and digest.

    Key point: the power of hooking up Google Sheets and GA should not be overlooked. Scheduling capabilities provide a useful and simple way to get daily/weekly overviews. These are both free, and can be easily shared and accessed.

    Adam Englebright’s slides can be seen here and Neil Barnes slides and templates can be found below.

    [slideshare id=55570438&doc=turbochargingyourgoogleanalyticsdata-151127085159-lva1-app6892]

    So there are the points of discussion which stood out most for me at this year’s MeasureFest. As always, there were some great quality talks from some super experienced and savvy marketers. Let me know what stood out for you from this year’s event. What one thing that you heard would you take away and action this week?


    By Alexandra Johnson CRO Google Analytics
  • 05 May

    Appealing to spontaneous personality types in an e-commerce landscape

    Marketers generally consider there to be four dominant temperament types; Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic and Methodical. My blog post today will focus on the spontaneous types and how we can tailor design and content to suit their needs.

    Most of us are spontaneous at one time or another, but some of us fit into that category more than others. Being one of those people myself (I once popped into Dixons at Gatwick airport to buy some headphones before my flight and came out 10 minutes later with a £500 camera) I thought I’d take a closer look into how e-commerce retailers are appealing to folk like us. As you can see, us spontaneous types are subconsciously targeted in many ways by e-commerce retailers.

    But before we look at how e-commerce websites are appealing to those easily persuaded to shop off-piste, lets dive deeper into who these people are and what makes them smile…


    These individuals want movement, simplicity, and stimulation. They like things that are non-threatening and friendly. They hate dealing with impersonal details and cold, hard, facts. They are usually quick to make a decision and want to know why your product or service is best to solve the problem. They want a website to provide reassurances and credible opinions rather than options. They fear missing out on what life has to offer. They will not take time to rad a lot of content, so visual hooks are important as is skimmable short, snappy copy.

    Creating the appeal

    Now we know that we can’t appeal to all types of people across every website – we’d have a lot of confusing looking websites if we did. However, we can use on-page elements and functionality to address this type of user and cater for their needs.

    Let’s look at some examples of how e-commerce retailers are doing this at the moment…

    Example 1: Expedia

    Expedia makes life for the spontaneous easier with their Sort By: Best Deals function. This allows Expedia to provide recommendations and the user feels like they are getting a bargain. Spontaneous people respond to this in a positive way. What is more, they respond to Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – also called loss aversion in marketing circles – that this type of product listing promotes and are motivated by the loss aversion. Their spontaneity means they are more likely to act upon it. Particularly because the eye is drawn to movement.


    Example 2: Boden

    Similar to Amazon’s successful ‘Frequently Bought Together’ product marketing, Boden provides a helping hand for those spontaneous people, who  like creativity and inspiration to be given to them. This represents a healthy amount of up-sell and is quite subtle in its tone.


    The clever copy utilised by Boden also implicitly suggests that your outfit/look will be incomplete if you don’t ‘bring it all together’. This copy is a great trigger for spontaneous types as we know they have a fear of missing out.

    Example 3: Majestic Wine Warehouse

    Majestic have created a great tool for those that log on to their website. For those planning a dinner party or something more special, their Wine and Food Matching tool is great. Not only does it remove the need to sift through thousands of bottles to find one that fits with your menu, it provides a carousel at the top of the page with 5 top recommendations for the selected food type.

    Wine and food matching


    This guided action provides a valuable function to those spontaneous types who want to be escorted towards recommendations, narrowing down the choice by presenting them with fewer options and applying value judgements to these, thus making their decision easier. Interactive components tend to engage the spontaneous personality type.

    Other key elements

    Login and checkout with ease

    Recognising the need for speed the two websites featured below have provided a range of options to speed up the customer journey through their website. Whilst the thought of linking up our whole online life and sharing so much data with the likes of Facebook or Google doesn’t appeal to all of us, the time we can save by logging in to these external sites in order to create an account is often to tempting to refuse.

    Likewise, allowing users to checkout as a guest is imperative to aiding the consumer journey of spontaneous types. You can read more on the importance of allowing guest checkout in this blog post by Econsultancy from September 2014.


     Pay with Paypal

    Allowing payment via the likes of Paypal is a no-brainer for brands that want to appeal to spontaneous types. They will usually chose the easier and quicker option, meaning they are much more likely to pay with Paypal or a similar service than other types of personality.


    The likes of John Lewis (above) have recognised this and have given Paypal parity with more traditional payment methods, not relegating it to a secondary option like House of Fraser (below).

    Selling like hot cakes

    Short, snappy, selling point product stickers work well in appealing to the spontaneous types as they respond to excitement based language. These visual and bright icons work well on mobile and responsive sites too, which are more likely to be utilised for transactions by spontaneous types. Below we can see how Bodum have used  bright visual cues on their site to appeal to those looking for recommendation and direction. They have also included filtering by New Products and Best Sellers to make life easier for these types.


    These are a few simple ways that e-commerce retailers can appeal to spontaneous types. Do leave me a comment below with your recommendations for other content types that will appeal to the spontaneous.

    By Alexandra Johnson CRO Marketing
  • 07 Aug

    Profiterol vision: how chocolatiers are making you buy online

    We all know its easy to sell chocolates in a supermarket or corner shop to those shopping and influenced by their current state of hunger and desire for a sweet something. But is it more difficult to capture these customers online?  Sure, you can still have those hunger pangs and need for a slab of chocolate when you sit in front of your computer, but does that translate to making an online purchase, or does it just make you head for the nearest vending machine?

    In this blog post, I’ve looked at five boutique chocolate brands, who all have at least one high street shop in the UK, but also have transactional websites, to see how they are making consumers buy from them.


    The brands:

    1. Godiva – 10 stores in the UK
    2. Hotel Chocolat – 73 stores in the UK
    3. Rococo Chocolates – 4 stores in the UK
    4. Artisan du Chocolat – 6 stores in the UK
    5. Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier – 3 stores in the UK (all in Scotland)

    Tis the season to sell chocolate?

    Well, no in a word. Just take a look at the annual search trends around chocolate and chocolate terms below:

    We buy chocolate in the winter months, for Christmas and for Valentines day, not when its hot outside. So how do our chocolate retailers cope from April to August when traditional demand is reduced? This blog post will discuss the tactics that luxury chocolate brands are attempting to use to draw in consumers over the summer months.

    So what is the key to selling chocolate in the summer months?

    Creating a need and providing a solution to the need

    Consumers may not be looking for what you’re selling during the summer months, but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy. The cynical among us declare every February that Valentine’s Day was promoted by greetings card companies to profit from our feeling of obligation to buy a card for the occasion.

    Of course this is a psychological trick as old as time but using this sentiment, chocolate retailers can promote an obligation towards events that occur in the summer, creating demand for their products in the same way as greetings card companies (may or may not) have done.

    We can see in the image below that Hotel Chocolat has done just that on-site and in its email marketing campaign this July.

    Hotel Chocolat responded to the lovely period of hot weather in the UK by convincing us that a bottle of cheap wine and a pack of Asda burgers buns is not a sufficient gift for your BBQ host these days!

    Whilst browsing on HC’s site, you may also realise that you’ve forgotten to buy a card for your neighbour’s daughter, who’s just graduated from university. But oh! People buy nice chocolates for that these days do they? Oh okay, you’ll add one of those to your basket seeing as you’re already getting a gift for your BBQ hosts. Saves you going to the card shop!

    So its fair to say that Hotel Chocolat has done a great job of creating the need for you to buy. Its summer promotions are timely and season-appropriate. Check out this email from 7th July for example:

    Well timed, less than two weeks before most schools finish for summer, they’ve reminded you to buy gifts for your children’s teachers and they’ve used clever copy to remind you why teachers need rewarding. Plus a special offer for multi-buys. Winner!

    Are the other brands doing this?

    Well there are others who are creating a reason to buy, but they aren’t quite focusing on the ‘need’ bit enough in their promotions. Lets take a look:

    Rococo – this is the email I received from Rococo on 18th July. While it did refer to ‘Summer Parties and Picnics’ it didn’t exactly draw me in with the product offering or copy. The best emails are those that do all the hard work for you and this one doesn’t. Fudge doesn’t exactly exude summer to me, so I’d need a little inspiration to link buying items from Rococo to a summer picnic or party.

    Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier – This brand does a good job of serving up some seasonal promotions in its email marketing. See its email below from 10th July, which provides tips on how to use its products in a summer setting. Whilst the brand has highlighted the opportunity to buy a ‘Thank You’ gift for someone, perhaps it should have directly attributed this to buying a gift for a teacher – taking out the hard work for the email recipient. It’s also unfortunate that the website itself doesn’t address the summer season, as the site has what I’d call quite a festive colour scheme.

    And what of the other two brands? Well I didn’t receive any emails from Godiva over the period I investigated so I couldn’t comment on that, but I did receive this one from Artisan du Chocolat on one of the hottest days of the summer:


    Thank god Godiva have acknowledged it’s Summer on their Instagram feed:

    This seems to serve mainly to encourage consumers to visit Godiva stores to buy iced and fresh summer treats, which isn’t a bad thing. Godiva does have a small ‘summer’ selection on-site, but its very well hidden and doesn’t seem to be under much promotion, which is a shame.

    So in terms of creating a need and selling a solution, Iain Burnett and Hotel Chocolat are doing the best this summer. It often comes as little surprise that the largest brand does things a lot better, but it seems that Hotel Chocolat are well and truly leaving the rest behind in this area.  Do you know of any other chocolate brands who are doing well in digital promotion over the summer months?

    Main image courtesy of Lee McCoy

    By Alexandra Johnson CRO
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