Analytics Club: Talking Optimization Post #5 by Gary Angel


Share on LinkedIn

Whew. This keeping up with the Joneses (or Wortham’s and Hazen’s) is hard! I know I keep promising that we’ll move on to discussing how analytics should drive testing and get past the ways it doesn’t (and I’m hoping this post will be transitional to that), but I can’t help myself from throwing out a few more thoughts around creative briefs.

I liked your thoughts on telling a story – particularly around audience segments and use cases. No big surprise. That’s how our two-tiered segmentation is supposed to work and it’s specifically meant to find and help flesh out testing opportunities.

At minimum, when you go ask your agency or creative folks to build an experience, you should be able to tell them who and what it’s for. If your description of a test is something like “all our visitors” and “selling our product”, you’ve given those creative folks nothing. Don’t ask your creative team to work from nothing. I’m pretty sure that 2-Tiered segmentation is the right approach to get beyond nothing and create a really good testing plan.

I’ve described how 2-Tiered segmentation works before though.

Right now, I want to explore two things. First, how an analyst can do a better job explaining to creative teams what’s involved in a potential testing opportunities and, second, how analytics folks can think differently about testing opportunities to drive better tests.

In our 2-tiered segmentation, the “who” is generally a traditional segmentation – something like “customers” or, at a more refined-level, “high-wealth customers”. The “what” is a use-case, something like “product research” or “where to buy” or “looking for support”. As valuable as this is, however, I see it as the minimum information you should provide a creative team when it comes to building a test.

You should provide much more. A really good creative brief would also include:

  1. Demographic Profiles
  2. Related content interests
  3. Pre-Experience
  4. Drivers of choice

Demographics are straightforward, right? If I’m writing or designing creative it just helps to know whether my target audience skews young or old, if they are wine-sippers, beer-chuggers or teetotalers, if they have little kids, an empty nest or dreams of a hitchhiking through Europe on their minds. I can’t imagine a good creative brief without some form of demographics.

You get this stuff from survey, obviously. Assuming your site isn’t all registered and known visitors to begin with. I’ve talked plenty of times about how the integration of survey research into behavioral data is a key part of a robust analytics program, and interesting demographics should be a natural fall-out of that integration in ANY testing brief you write. Agree?

Related content interests is also pretty straightforward. I want to know what kind of content my target audience generally consumes. Take whatever the key content groupings on your Website (topic, category, research, operations, etc.) and give your creative team a profile of how the target population in the test skews when it comes to consumption.

This type of profiling is useful in countless contexts and if you’ve done your homework, you’ll already have a pretty good sense of the key content categories and you’ll be able to use this over and over again in your analytics.

Pre-experience is a little bit different. I think it’s key to know what people have done WHEN THEY ARRIVE at an experience. I’ve got some broader thoughts on this around multi-channel analytics, but for now, I’ll just say that I think pre-experience is a critical ingredient in personalization. You need to know where somebody is in their journey when they arrive at a particular place. The biggest myth in online is that the place itself is where they are at in the journey – “if you’re on the buy page then you’re at the buy stage of your journey.” But anyone who’s ever analyzed paths knows how crazy, disjointed and erratic they are. If I’m designing a test that lives at a particular place on the Web, I want to understand what the visitors who arrive there have already seen. That’s pre-experience.

Demographics, content interest and pre-experience all fall out of our traditional Web analytics (with survey baked in), but drivers of choice is a bit a departure. If I’m designing a test that’s designed to get people, for example, to up-sell to a more robust product, then it stands to reason that the single most important thing I’d like to know is what’s important to my target population in the upgrade. What might make them decide?

Understanding drivers of choice takes careful VoC research focused on just that question. I think survey is the most natural tool for getting at this, but social media research can be interesting and so can anecdotal techniques like focus groups. One of my pet peeves around online testing is that most online teams don’t bother to go after traditional research around drivers of choice. Some do, of course, but many don’t. They’re too busy worrying about your button colors. If you’ve hired a testing agency, and they haven’t asked to see your traditional research on product choice and voice of customer, I’d fire them.

So what should go into a creative brief? It should start with a 2-tiered segmentation telling your creative team who the target audience is and what they are trying to accomplish. Then it should describe that target audience in terms we all understand – their key demographics. It should outline what that target audience tends to consume, and, even more important, exactly what they’ve likely seen when they arrive at the test. Finally, it should drill-down into the key factors that are going to drive choice around whatever decision the test is trying to influence.

Now that would be a great creative brief.

What do you think? Ever seen anything like that? Ever been able to use any of those aspects to design a really good test?

Okay, remember this? “…Right now, I want to explore two things. First, how an analyst can do a better job explaining to creative teams what’s involved in a potential testing opportunities and, second, how analytics folks can think differently about testing opportunities to drive better tests.”

I’ve only done the first part – and it’s gone on so long I’m unwilling to write about the 2nd. So for now, I’m going to kick it back to you for closing words on creative briefs (and anything else that strikes you from this). Then I’m going to tackle that 2nd one – though feel free to go ahead if you want to get the first word in!


Previous Post

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gary Angel
Gary is the CEO of Digital Mortar. DM is the leading platform for in-store customer journey analytics. It provides near real-time reporting and analysis of how stores performed including full in-store funnel analysis, segmented customer journey analysis, staff evaluation and optimization, and compliance reporting. Prior to founding Digital Mortar, Gary led Ernst & Young's Digital Analytics practice. His previous company, Semphonic, was acquired by EY in 2013.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here