Almost Timely News, 30 January 2022: Video Newsletter Edition, Poll Results, A/B Testing

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What’s On My Mind: Newsletter Format Results

Well, this was a surprise. I was expecting the vast majority of you to vote for a text-only newsletter, and a handful to vote for rich media formats like audio and video. Instead, this happened:

Newsletter poll results

While a text newsletter is still your preferred format, the other two formats weren’t as far behind as I expected.

So, what happens next? Here’s the trick with results like this. These results are statistically significant. There is a clear “winner”, a clear choice you’ve made. If we were naive marketers, I’d declare text newsletters the winning format and carry on.

But we’re not. We’re experienced marketers, and when we see results like this, we have to stop and think. More than a third of you said text as a format. Almost a third said audio, and just under a third said video.

Which means that if I produced only a text newsletter format, I’d be disappointing two thirds of you. So, we’ll give this a try and see what you think.

By the way, there’s a really important lesson in here, especially if you’re doing lots of testing. This is effectively an A/B test of sorts – well, A/B/C, I suppose, since the poll has three options. What would happen if I declared A the winner and ignored the preferences of B and C? I’d be focusing on pleasing a minority of you, at the expense of the majority.

Is that sound? Is that logical? No, of course not. No one would ever advise you to annoy 61.7% of your customer base, but if I chose only A and ignored B and C, I’d be doing exactly that.

And yet, we and our marketing software doing that every single day, aren’t we? Every time we set up a website optimization test or an email test and we get a 55/45 or a 60/40 split and we declare a “winner”, we are automatically saying the preferences of the minority don’t matter – even when that minority is a sizable portion of our audience.

What if… there were more buyers in B than A? What if the people who chose A were terrible customers and the people who chose B were great customers?

The only time I’d feel comfortable declaring winners and ignoring the preferences of the non-winners is if there was an overwhelming majority, like a 95/5 split. And even then, I might want to dig into who’s in the 5% to see what, if anything, makes that population behave differently.

In the meantime, we’re going to try this experiment. For the next few issues, I’m going to see what it will take to make at least some of it available by video and audio (because making video implicitly means making audio) and see how you react to it. If the videos and audio downloads get no views and listens, then we’ll just stick with text. On the other hand, if they take off wildly, I’ll know to keep doing them. Either way, we’ll use data to drive the decision-making process.

I hope you see how this process should inform your data-driven marketing as well.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to pick one thing for you to take a look at, it’s the Mind Readings piece on the language of our goals, how we talk about our goals.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Supermetrics for Google Data Studio

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Ad: Make Better Videos with Techsmith Camtasia

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How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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