Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Magical Possibilities of Facebook Search

Recently, Facebook added me to the ranks of those who can use the beta version of Facebook Search.

I was skeptical. My first search for "friends who like cats" had momentary charm, but was not all that useful.

Instead of obvious questions, you need to ask questions that go to the notion of "the strength of weak ties."

"Friends of friends who grew up in my home town" is such a question.

I keyed in this question. Facebook responded with a few names. Among them was a gift.

This gift was to name someone whose parents lived four houses down the street from where I lived as a teenager. He had left town two years before we moved to that street. But, everyone knew he was the boy who went to go make movies in Hollywood.

In my youth, I was inspired seeing his name as the director of so many episodes of the leading television series of that era. One was the "Printer's Devil" episode of Twilight Zone, staring the great actor Burgess Meredith. I always thought this episode marked the peak for that landmark television series. He also directed the hallmark episode of the Waltons, "Grandma Comes Home."

For a youth, growing up in a small mid-western town, seeing the name Ralph Senensky listed as director in the credits for so many wonderful television programs and movies was my realization you could go other places and do interesting things.

Before last week, I had never been able to communicate with Ralph. But now I have, and have been able to tell him how much I admire his work. Ralph was an inspiration in many ways.

So thank you Facebook Search for finding Ralph. He is someone I was not looking for at the moment, but really needed to find.

This is a true story. It would make a great commercial, don't you think?

It underscores the importance of Facebook Search focusing on the contents of the social network service itself, rather than including Web contents in general. When on Facebook we want to know about our friends, broader returns from the Web will merely be seen as frustrating noise.

For additional perspective on the Psychology of Advertising, please see The Discipline of Account Planning.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ad Meter Outcome Less Than Clear

This morning, USA Today reports that Budweiser has returned to the top of it's Super Bowl Ad Meter ratings. The "Brotherhood" Clydesdale commercial scored a 7.76 (out of 10).

The "Miracle Stain" commercial for Tide was second with a 7.75 score. In fact, you could say that Budweiser and Tide tied at the top since there is no statistical difference between these two scores.

Chrysler's Dodge Ram "So God Made a Farmer" commercial came in third with a 7.43 score.

This is the first time since 1989, which was the first year of the Ad Meter, that the winning commercial did not score over 8.

It is worth noting that USA Today completely changed the nature of its polling procedures this year. Instead of it's traditional in-theater tests with quota samples of the viewing population, the newspaper opted for a social media approach that invited everyone to participate.

The poll began taking votes at noon before the game. The newspaper reported that 55,000 votes were cast by 2,500 people three hours before the game even started. Indeed, about one-third of the 7,500 total participants appear to have voted before the game. Clearly, study participants were allowed to vote more once. So, what this poll means is even less clear than previous years.

In my view, the Dodge Ram commercial won the day. So, I'm really not arguing about the overall Ad Meter outcome all that much. I really thought the Tide commercial was "spot on" too.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Get in the Game Early with "Effective Frequency"

The Super Bowl is the nation's day for hoopla and hype. Indeed, Google Search Trends reveals that the hype begins to pick up about two to three weeks before the game.

This is one reason so many Super Bowl advertisers release "teaser commercials" or even game-day commercials during the three weeks just prior to the game.

In advertising, as in any aspect of business, the question always turns to maximizing the investment. Prices have reached the $4 million dollar range for 30-second commercials. This is not to mention production costs for the commercials and related promotional activities.

To maximize this investment, advertisers recognize the notion of "effective frequency." Learning increases with repetition. In advertising, as with any aspect of behavior, repeated exposures are needed for a commercial's message to be fully appreciated.  One exposure to a commercial is generally not enough.

So, by participating in the anticipatory hype, many Super Bowl advertisers are taking advantage of the basic psychology of learning theory. The teaser commercials or early release of game-day commercials place their selling ideas further along on the learning curve with a greater opportunity for impact in the marketplace.

Should advertisers hold off to debut commercials during the big game? Or, should advertisers participate in the pre-game hype with it's social media multiplier?  Learning theory tells us to get in the game early.

For more on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.