New Methods, New Wisdom by Denise Brien, AOL #MRA_National #MRX

… Live blogging from Disney Orlando, any errors are my own…

New Methods, New Wisdom: How Groundbreaking Research Challenged Conventional

Denise Brien, Senior Director, Consumer Analytics & Research, AOL


  • Challenging Assumptions: How people turn to and use content, How they shop and buy, How they use devices, How they interact with each other, and why
  • Apply old methods in new ways, do it in stealth – don’t always tell your colleagues what you’re up to
  • What should we be doing on mobile – publishers focused on content, marketers focus on consumers
  • Old methods – research brief, laying out our questions, how we plan to apply it, don’t prescribe an approach, leave the method open to the supplier, they didn’t get anything unique
  • New methods – leave time in your project timeline for when you don’t get what you want
  • Video diaries – 7 day diary, video recordings throughout the day, right when the moment happened
  • Metered – monitored people for 30 days of actual mobile use
  • Found 3000 great metered measured moments – activities like TV or shopping or errands, what apps on their mobile phone, if they were happy, their goals, what spurred them to get out their phone, their geolocation
  • Segmented the moments not the people, it’s not the kind of person you are but what matters motivates you to use your phone
  • Seven shades of mobile – accomplish, socialize, prepare, me time, discover, shop, self-express
    • Accomplish – checking something off the list
    • Socialize – grow relationships, facebook for example
    • Prepare – planning and managing lifestyle
    • Me time – to relax, unwind, pass the time
    • Discover – learn, educated
    • Shop – research, buy
    • Express – similar to socialize but this is more me telling you what i think
  • Amazon App – belongs to shop of course, but it also falls into accomplish and me time. it’s not always about shopping, but rather getting something done.
  • Weather App – need to know what clothes to wear, nice to see the weather elsewhere and dream, shop for an upcoming trip and get the right clothes for the weather
  • Pizza App – belongs to accomplish so you get dinner for the kids, me time because ordering dinner gets me to fun faster
  • These three completely different apps all fit into the “me time” segment
  • One segment is largest by far was me time. Almost half of all moments. Twice as many minutes as the next segment.
  • Me time happens most often at home. Opportunity to relax and unwind.
  • 68% of all minutes are in the home. Mobile doesn’t mean out and about.
  • New methods for online video – what is best environment for advertising in online video.
  • Bradcast TV – great value environment, higher CPMs, can charge more for advertising
  • Old methods – multiple video players, different ads in different environment, don’t own long form video
  • New methods – live link to video, long form content, video diary and webcam, captured ads exposed
  • Lovely A B experiment of long vs short, randomized – Ads in short form video do better on recall 25% more recall, 42% more likely to purchase, 26% more likely to enjoy the ad, 33% more likely to improve impression of the brand, 52% said long form detracted from their experience – it’s counterintuitive because we pay more to advertise in longer form
  • Multiple ads – cluttered environment, less break through, use ad avoidance techniques
  • One ad – simplified, unified content, viewers expect relevant
  • What is the optimal ratio between content and advertising in online video? For online video, people pay with their time not their money.
  • Van Westendorp’s price sensitivity meter – what is too cheap? what is too expensive?
  • Another A B test – 60 seconds vs 5 minute video. 10 to 30 seconds is the ideal amount of advertising.
  • consumers know that advertising pays for free content. Consumers are willing to accept only a little bit more advertising as content increases.
  • User Generated Comments – Huffington Post is an AOL brand, has more than 250 million comments, most readers don’t ever won’t ever comment, 1% of people create, 9% tweet or buy, 90% lurk in the background
  • Commenters use icons, usernames; Do they have badges, are they superusers, do they critique, was it relevant, was substance clear, fact or opinion; This is the DNA of comments
  • Old methods focus on authorship – count comments and sentiment, which articles get the comments and clicks, these focus on the authors not the readers
  • New methods focus on the reader – rate 16 comments on 9 dimensions, what was your emotional response to the comment, what were they going to do as a result of reading the comment?
  • Most important thing about a comment was adherence to the party line, people want a non-partisan independent comment
  • For users – could pay people to write comments (they don’t), they want additional info and perspective, want names and faces on comments as opposed to anonymous, facts are less important than reaction
  • For community managers – diagnose community health, benchmark against competitors, what users and actions should be highlighted
  • New methods for path to purchase – how long is autho purchase process, is the funnel linear [my funnel is a mass of spaghetti]
  • Industry says its 6 months but their research says it’s 28 days – first shopping action online 37 days before shopping, last shopping online was 9 days before they shopping
  • Old methods focus on shopping behaviours – look at clickstream activity but can’t connect it to sales, people aren’t buying their car online
  • New methods match panel data and automotive purchase data, full clickstream activity
  • There is no linear purchase funnel – people take the same actions at the beginning and the end of the purchase process
  • It used to be linear because looking at cars meant you had to go to the dealer and physically look at them
  • Challenge conventional wisdom
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