The Complete “Nothing New Under the Sun: Designing for the Small Screen” Arc

Note: this was a two part post and so apropos that we’re reposting now, on the eve of our releasing Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation, don’t you think?

Nothing New Under the Sun: Designing for the Small Screen, Part 1

I read an interesting post on Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim blog. The post, by Janet Driscoll Miller, was iPhone May Present New Mobile Design Challenges. It was interesting because it was yet another example of Nothing New Under the Sun.

I commented on the blog, “This reminds me of an early consulting project I was on. We saw from the client’s web data that people were browsing their site using these odd sized, small screens. It was their browsing patterns that explained what was going on. We decided to create an all-text site to accommodate them and business went up. This was years ago, though. Nothing new under the sun, yes?”

Here I’ll share a little more on this. It’s a fond memory and, at the time, it was a nice piece of research.

NextStage’s first client was a B2B specializing in warehousing technologies. They noticed a decrease in online sales even though their web traffic was increasing and asked me to figure it out. Their focus was on bandwidth, page load times, things like that, and were ready to do a major overhaul of their website to make it “friendlier”.

Okay, I thought. But friendlier to whom?

We attached our tracking tools to their website and noticed two fascinating features of the increased traffic; the browser window sizes were small and oddly shaped. That was interesting and the kicker was something (and I’ll admit to some vanity here) that (I think) only NextStage’s Evolution Technology could determine; the patterns in the page navigations.

It was the patterns which revealed the mystery of increased traffic and decreased sales. Visitors would navigate busily then stop for a period, navigate busily then stop for a period, navigate busily then stop for a period. They never closed the browser window. They might keep it open for hours at a time. But during these hour long visits they would navigate busily then stop, navigate busily then stop.

These odd navigation patterns did end up with online orders but only of specific items. Usually items located at the top of the client’s webpages.

Hmm…

Nothing New Under the Sun: Designing for the Small Screen, part 2

This is part 2 in a two-part arc trigged by reading Janet Driscoll Miller‘s interesting post, iPhone May Present New Mobile Design Challenges, on Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim blog.

I commented on the blog, “This reminds me of an early consulting project I was on. We saw from the client’s web data that people were browsing their site using these odd sized, small screens. It was their browsing patterns that explained what was going on. We decided to create an all-text site to accommodate them and business went up. This was years ago, though. Nothing new under the sun, yes?” and am sharing more of this story in this arc. Part 1 described the problem and provided pointers to the solution. Here I share the solution itself.

As I wrote in the previous post, it’s a fond memory and, at the time, it was a nice piece of research.

This was a case of listening to the silences rather than the sounds. The pauses in navigation were extremely regular, too regular and over too long a period of time, to be un-noteworthy. Also, the pauses had different periods depending on the visitor but were consistent time-wise by visitor; a visitor might have consistent pauses of three seconds and another perhaps of five, but the three-second visitor always had three second pauses, the five-second visitor always had pauses of five seconds.

Was there variance? Yes, a little. That was a clue. The variance was organic (by which I mean “biologic”) in nature, not inorganic (by which I mean “machine-based”). More correctly, the variance was biomechanical, not automated.

I thought about biomechanical mechanisms that follow pause-activity, pause-activity natures and realized I was observing cursorial tracking behavior. Humans, like wolves, are cursorial hunters. We use to jog after our prey and follow them. These evolutionary roots remain with us and even manifest themselves in screen navigation patterns.

Here I was witnessing people following prey, stopping to gather their kill, following prey, stopping to gather their kill, … But I also knew nobody was navigating a website while killing that night’s dinner.

What could my client’s clients be doing that mimicked that behavior?

Because I worked in warehouses to support myself in high school and college I quickly came up with the answer; my client’s clients were walking through their warehouse, stopping at each rack and checking inventory. The small and oddly shaped screen sizes were due to the end clients’ realizing they needed to reorder something and coming to my client’s website while the end client was checking inventory, carrying a handheld.

Why were only the top items on a given webpage being ordered? Because navigating a regular webpage much further was too much trouble.

Easy solution; offer a text only page for customers coming in through handhelds.

Yes, NextStage’s client was thrilled. Their online sales increased dramatically, all the good stuff.

For me, though, it was the detective work, the research, that made it worthwhile.


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Fred Thompson; Is He Changing His Tune? And How Does He Compare with Governor Mitt Romney? Before and After NextStage Analysis of Campaign Messaging Styles

[[updating lost posts in prep for Reading Virtual Minds Volume 2: Experience and Expectation]]

Frequent reader and correspondent WindKiller posed a question on the Senator Fred Thompson and the Marketing of a Presidential Hopeful: A NextStage Analysis of the Fred Thompson for President Homepage entry and I responded on that post and in a phone conversation that I’d get back to him on how much is encapsulated in NextStage’s Rich Personae (it’s now our PersonaScope and is included with Membership).

I wanted to do that by tying it to a before and after analysis of Senator Fred Thompson’s campaign site. It’s always fascinating to see how somebody changes their messaging after an announcement.

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The casual observer won’t notice much different between the site as it was on 1 Sept 07 (on the right) and how it appeared on both 5 Sept 07 and 6 Sept 07. That’s a good thing because in politics, it’s the positive and familiar that wins votes.

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This is the 5 Sept 07 homepage. There’s the naturally occuring changes in content that you’d expect on any high traffic site. Both the 1 Sept 07 and the 5 Sept 07 homepages are designed for the V8 Rich Personae.

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This is Senator Fred Thompson’s campaign site on 6 Sept 07. The changes are more obvious to the casual observer and again, you’d expect them to be after a major announcement. What is interesting to me is that the site is now using a V7 Rich Personae. This was the personae used by Governor Mitt Romney. It was Senator Thompson’s use of the V8 Rich Personae and its “You’re doing a good job. Let me show you something that might help you out.” versus Governor Romney’s V7 message’s “You’re doing it wrong, do it my way. It’s better.” that I thought would separate Senator Thompson from the pack.

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Before I forget, the other modification to Senator Thompson’s site is a new “prepage” before you get to what most would consider the real homepage. This is something we saw often during the 2004 campaigns. From a consumer perspective it’s not something I would encourage. This page, encountered before all others, essentially asks the visitor to buy the product before learning if the product is a good match for what ails them. The assumption on Senator Thompson’s staff may be that he’s so well known at this point that anybody coming to the site is coming to join. I’m not so sure. This page, by the way, is designed for a K7 Rich Personae, ie, it has a good, strong, emotional appeal. Just what you’d want if you thought people already knew about you and you wanted them to act in your behalf.

This gets us to what else is encapsulated in NextStage’s Rich Personae. NextStage’s Rich Personae also reveal most prominent messages, strongest messages, messages in the order they appear to the non-conscious mind, … It’s pretty…um…rich.

Also, as you begin to get deeper and deeper into the Rich Personae system, you’ll learn that the strongest message on, for example, a young female V7 is different from a mature, male V7.

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Here, Senator Thompson’s strongest message is “Compare me to others and you will see that I can put us on a path and bring structure to this country. You can count on it.” Governor Mitt Romney’s strongest message is very similar with two significant edits; “[no comparison desired or implied] You will see that I can put us on a path and bring structure to this place. Are you with me, yes or no?” Perhaps Senator Thompson sees Governor Romney as having the audience he wants, hence the deep messaging is the same. The substantive difference between the two sites is that Governor Romney, if he were talking to you, would be saying his message twice as loud as Senator Thompson.

Back in the day when Senator Thompson’s site was designed for a V8 Rich Personae, its message was similar except for the missing introductory call to comparison;”[no comparison desired or implied] You will see that I can put us on a path and bring structure to this place. You can count on it.

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Senator Fred Thompson and the Marketing of a Presidential Hopeful: A NextStage Analysis of the Fred Thompson for President Homepage

[[updating lost posts in prep for Reading Virtual Minds Volume 2: Experience and Expectation]]

(yes, I’m still exploring that SEO/SEM thing)

I’ve been thinking for a while that NextStage should do an analysis of Senator and actor Fred Thompson’s campaign site. What’s been stopping me is that he’s not officially announced he’s running for President and he doesn’t actually have an official campaign site that I know of (remember, I’m remarkably out of the loop on politics). The reason I decided to run an analysis is because I’d heard he was going to make his official announcement sometime this coming week.

I went to VoteSmart.org because they list official campaign sites and found I’mWithFred listed as his official site, so I was off and at it.

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Here is Senator and actor Fred Thompson’s official campaign site homepage as it appears today, 1 Sept 07. We analyzed it using NextStage’s TargetTrack (it’s now included in our Membership package) tool, as we do with all such things.

What got me right off the bat is that this homepage uses a V8 Rich Persona. This got my attention because way back in Feb ’07 we analyzed Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign website and found it had a V7 Rich Persona. One of the most obvious differences between the two is that Governor Romney’s messaging was originally designed for individuals who “…like to talk things over with a knowledgeable person who needs to point out the negative aspects of a decision in order to be taken seriously.” Senator Thompson’s messaging is designed for individuals who “…like to talk things over with an authority figure (real or imagined) who needs to point out the positive aspects of a decision in order to be taken seriously.

This difference is telling in how these two campaigns perceive who their candidate is and what that candidate’s strengths are on a personal (hence “Persona” level).

First, I do note that Governor Romney has changed his messaging style since Feb ’07. With that in mind, Governor Romney originally wanted people to perceive him as someone who could show them the error of their ways and set them on the right path. Senator Thompson is using a very different psychological strategy to gain voters; he wants people to see him as an an experienced person who can help them achieve more.

In more obvious terms it would be phrased this way; Governor Romney was saying to voters, “You’re doing it wrong, do it my way. It’s better.” while Senator Thompson’s message is “You’re doing a good job. Let me show you something that might help you out.”

We’ll be watching to see if Senator Thompson’s messaging changes once he officially starts his campaign.

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The Complete “NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle” Arc

Note: this was another monster arc, provided here in full, thanks to your friendly neighborhood mice, Calum&Eois

NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 1: Are Visitors Getting Good Value?

First, as I wrote near the end of Keywords, Search Engines, SEO, Learning, Placement, I’m attempting to craft blog titles that incorporate human syntactical elements and are still search engine friendly, meaning they appear near the top in search engine listings. Cleveland search engine optimization firm Keyphrase-Marketing‘s Jan Limpach explained to me that my previous posts were examples of keyword stuffing.

I’ll admit the revelation made me laugh. Business logic tells me that, if you want people to use your service or product, make it as simple to use as possible. I guess that rule doesn’t apply when you’re at the top of the food chain (as I wrote in Google’s Vulnerability).

First part b, this post was originally very long and, as Eric Pfeiffer, my editor at AllBusiness.com would say, dense, meaning, I think, information rich.

This also makes me chuckle. Long before there was the concept of social media, social networks, viral marketing and such, I wrote a paper entitled “Semantic Information Mechanics”. It dealt with viral fields, Jordan Conjunctures, lots of things and threaded throughout are the concepts of information density. Put all these things together and you get an idea of how much information you can pass through a system (“a person”) before you cause an information shutdown (“overwhelm them”).

Lots of folks have asked for that paper and now that I have more time on my hands I’ll probably revisit it and update it for what NextStage has learned since it was first written.

Anyway, this venue isn’t my AllBusiness.com venue. As I’m learning to modify my writing style there so am I learning to modify it here.

Do BizMediaScience visitors believe their time is well spent?

Looping this back to “First part b”, I was going to share lots of information NextStage Evolution’s reports are telling me about you, the readers of this blog. One of those reports is shown here. I’ll go into details of what this report is indicating (one report per post) in another post. Right now I’ll share that it’s indicating

  • you, the readers of this blog, think you get good value for your time reading my posts (the blue bar and accompanying dots on the right of the chart, and thank you!)
  • that the amount of information contained in most of my posts is overwhelming (the right bar and accompanying dots on the left of the chart, and I’m working on it)

So a tip of the hat to Eric and to you.

Are Visitors Having a Good Experience? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 2)

My quest for understanding the machiavellian world of SEO and SEM seems to be working. I did a search for “behavioral analytics” on Google and “NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 1: Are Visitors Getting Good Value?” came up #1. For that matter, it came up #1 when I searched on “web analytics, behavioral analytics, marketing analytics”, “behavioral analytics, marketing analytics” and as #6 searching on just “marketing analytics”. These were all blog searches.

Anyway, this post is part 2 in an arc on NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology reports. This time we’re considering Experience.

This arc got it’s impetus from an email exchange I was having with a frequent reader that also had its origins in the Why my Juanita Bynum post failed to get traction post and the resulting correspondence between WindKiller and myself.

Funny how many things are growing out of that post.

The reader wrote “Maybe it is my lack of analytics knowledge, but if I am on the main page for your blog, can you tell if I am a visitor reading the Bynum posting or a visitor reading a different post? If not, how would you differentiate between which posting attracted the most readers?”

I responded that I don’t know how web analytics handles this. NextStage’s Evolution TechnologyTM (ET)handles it with no problem.

The reader then wrote

“My guess would be they tell you to make sure every article has a click through requirement, so they can measure/tally that (or tally the subsequent page view).  I feel a little silly calling a “+1″ a measurement.  That’s why my guess was that if your blog was not using ET, the ‘measurement’ may be less informative than those to which you are accustomed.”

This is both accurate and goes to something I’ve been pondering for a while. I was once told it’s better to have posts that require the “Continue Reading” link than not because doing so “will increase traffic”.

Really?

I suppose this strategy works if the definition of “traffic” is “pageviews” because the system would count a visitor following the “Continue Reading” link as opening a new page (I’m guessing that’s the case).

The reader is also correct that I find the above concept and the numbers it may provide less informative than the information to which I am accustomed. What I’ll do at this point is share some of the things Evolution Technology tells me about visitors to the BizMediaScience site. You’ll need to decide for yourself how useful this type of information would be to you (and no, I’m sharing everything ET tells us. I’d like to keep my competitive advantage, if you don’t mind).

The important thing to know is that ET doesn’t ask questions, ask visitors to fill in forms, poll other internet databases, use permanent cookies, etc. ET works like any good cultural anthropologist does; by observing. You can read more about how ET works in Reading Virtual Minds.

And with that paid political advertisement out of the way, here we go with Experience

BizMediaScience visitors enjoyed their time on the site

The image on the right is one of our results charts (the actual chart is much bigger). What this chart is showing is that most people are enjoying their time reading my blogs (the green) over the past seven days. A small number of visitors aren’t having a good experience (red) and a slightly larger number are indifferent (yellow).

BizMediaScience visitors enjoyed their time on the site

It’s nice to know you work is appreciated, better to know that appreciation is growing. This image is last week’s chart of the same information. Yes, readers seem to think we’re looking better all the time.

People will ask, “How do you know this if you don’t ask visitors, use focus groups, have them fill out forms, have them in some behavioral index, …?”

My response on a good day is a detailed explanation of what NextStage does and the sciences involved. On a mediocre day it’s “What? You mean you can’t do this?”

Measuring experience — for that matter, measuring just about everything NextStage measures to generate its reports and advise clients — is remarkably straightforward. Some of it was explained in the Noisy Data arc, some of it’s explained on our website on the FAQs page

Do you have more men or women visiting your site? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 3)

This time we’re considering Gender.

I explained above that this arc grew from an email conversation with a reader spawned by the Why my Juanita Bynum post failed to get traction post.

Joseph is attractive to women

What I’m going to share in this chart and the next is a demonstration of my masculinity, my animal magnetism, my virility, …, yeah, right! Okay, I’m kidding. This image shows that BizMediaScience was visited by more women (pink) in the given seven day cycle than by men (blue). Does this mean I, Joseph, became more attractive to women in the past week? Of course it … I mean, no, not really. Other reports in our system explain why this was the case and how to duplicate it, if desired.

Last week, Joseph was loved and admired by everyone equally

This image is a seven day stretch from a week ago. Evidently my posts appealed to men and women much more evenly last week than they did this week. Again, other ET reports would explain why this happened and how to duplicate the results.

Returning Visitors and How Many? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 4)

This time we’re considering Returning Visitors. What NextStage is reporting on is probably not what others’ report on when using that term. We’re reporting how many visitors, while they’re on your site, have it in their mind that they’ll return at some point in the recognizable future.

What is recognizable future? The brain isn’t good at understanding time concepts beyond “now” and, when pressed to do it, can understand a 48 hour window around this current moment in time. This means that at whatever time you’re reading this post — let’s say noon — your brain can easily and rapidly work well with information from noon yesterday through to noon tomorrow. Beyond that you’re in the realm of the mind and how time is considered there is very different. I wrote about this in Making Visitors Want It Now.

Recognizable future is the line where the brain’s and mind’s concepts of future meet. Basically about 1-2 days out, so this NextStage report is an indication of how many visitors currently on your site believe they will return to your site within 1-2 days.

Considering the charts I’m sharing in this series are about this blog and I post to it pretty much daily, that could be an important metric. Especially if they don’t return, because then you know something interrupted a planned and desired activity. It’s not the blog itself because a strong influencer for their return is a satisfactory experience, therefore indications of non-returns mean there’s environmental factors that got in the way. Some you can’t control or deal with. Others you can, and knowing how to deal with the interrupters is one of those things NextStage does regularly.

What percentage of visitors will return to BizMediaScience

Next up is what percentage of visitors are likely to return. Remember, this isn’t a metric of how many did return, this is a measure of how many, while they’re on the site, are thinking of returning. The large black block on the chart is showing that about 90% of this blog’s readers will return. Look at the left of the chart and you’ll see a small, yellow dot. That dot and its position indicate why the actual number of repeating, returning visitors might be less than 90% and what you can do about it.

Knowing how many return is nice, knowing how many want to return means you can prepare, knowing how many want to return then don’t could mean your competition is doing something in the market and you may want to investigate.

How Many Real, Live People Are on Your Site? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 5)

This post is part 5 in an arc on NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology reports, this time considering Real Visitors per Session.

Real Visitors per Session and Real Visitors by URL are two answers to the same question. The question is “How many real, live human beings are really visiting my site?” I’m not sure and I think most others answer this question with either cookies, session-ids or something similar. This method has always been flawed to me. What if I see something on a website and call over someone else, “Hey, look at this!” and they sit at the computer, either beside me or taking over my seat? There’s only one cookie and one session-id, but now two people are using the same session-id and cookie to look at a webpage.

Back when NextStage was developing its technology this report truly noteworthy for the simple reason that not everyone had a computer at their desk and not everyone in the family had their own computer. Knowing that someone in a company called over a co-worker was a sure sign that the information on the page was interesting, hence valuable, hence actionable. Ditto for calling over family members. Knowing that mom called dad over, etc., meant there were conversions to be had (probably).

Now that computers are more common “per Session” gets paired with “per URL”. Now a more often occurrence is seeing the same person move amongst several computers at a given cookie-sessionid-location.

In any case, Real Visitors

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The yellow and blue bars on the chart show number of sessions and number of real visitors per session. When the two don’t match you know that either someone called over someone else and they took over the computer or a single individual moved between two or more computers at a single physical location to view the same site.

How does ET know that more than a single user was involved in a single session? How much time do you have for me to explain it to you? The truth is, it’s not that difficult to understand and makes use of NextStage’s Rich Personae system, something I’ve written about in Mapping Personae to Outcomes.

NextStage’s standard Rich Personae system recognizes 72 different personality types and this is more than adequate for commercial purposes. It is capable of recognizing several thousands so even the most heavily trafficked sites can be analyzed along these means for reporting purposes.

This also handles the question of “What if I call over someone but they don’t sit down at the computer?” Excellent question and yes, when we up ET’s sensitivity it can determine that person B wasn’t sitting at the computer but that they were telling person A what to do. As Angie Brown, Strategic Services Consultant for Coremetrics (at the time) said, “I kept waiting for the “We expect this technology to be available in a few years” part, so it took a little while for it to sink in that you’re doing this NOW.”

What’s the Age Breakdown of Your Visitors? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 6)

Age is an interesting thing. For one, often people give an inaccurate value for their age (as I did in Media Free? That’s easy…and scary. Know why? (Part 20). For another, people may not “act their age” and this goes both ways. I was always accused of being mature beyond my years as a child. As an adult I was often told I was “an old soul”. Then there’s the poor sot who just can’t seem to grow up.

People not acting their age often comes from people not thinking their age. The example I often use is the boomer who buys himself an arrest-me red Corvette or Lotus Elan. I gave an example of this in AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund Interviews Joseph Carrabis on Color Use in Marketing. The mindset that buys the arrest-me red Corvette or Lotus Elan is often not the mindset that’s looking at senior citizen vacations, therefore market to the Buyer-Within, market to the mindset to make the sale.

NextStage recognizes this mindset as Neurologic Age. Neurologic Age can vary greatly from chronological age, and usually only so in specific demographics (ie, those who like to think they’re mature and those who like to think they’re young), in specific verticals or with specific products so course corrections are easily made.

In any case, Age Demographics

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There are two elements to consider when evaluating age demographics. The first is shown on the right and is “Of all visitors, what’s the age breakdown?” This is answered in a pie chart. This chart is indicating that this blog is very popular among 20-54 year olds along the following breakdown:

Age in years % of Visitors
20-24 28.57
25-34 32.14
35-44 32.14
45-54 7.14

Some quick math indicates there’s 0.01% not accounted for in this chart, probably the 55-59 year olds as I doubt I’m writing much of interest to 15-19 year olds.

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The second element is confidence in the measurement. This is shown in the chart on the right. The blue that goes above the yellow is high confidence age extrapolation, below the yellow line is low confidence. Here is see that ET is confident that the 20-44 year olds really are 20-44 years old and not as confident that the 45-54 year olds really are that old.

Are Visitors Interested in Your Content? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Part 7)

Here we’re looking at Level of Interest as discussed in Defining Attention on Websites & Blogs.

Yes, I know other folks are suggesting they can correctly determine visitors’ attention on a website. I disagree with their methodology and not just because NextStage does it differently. I would disagree simply because what they’re measuring doesn’t equate to attention or level of interest in any neuroscience, cognitive science, behavioral science, {pick your adjective} science that I’m aware of.

Interest level for this blog for 23-30 Aug '07

Here you see the Level of Interest in this blog’s content over a seven day period. Pretty much this image is indicating that there was lots of interest in my blog from 24-29 Aug ’07 (must have lots of weekend readers) with specific peaks on the 27th and 29th.

Well, what was I posting about on those days?

Date (and in order of posting) Post
27 First Principles of Good Design
27 iPhonics
27 Got a kick out of this
27 Stonewall’s Findings: A New Kind of Community Response Grid
27 Alberto Gonzales from the NextStage Perspective
29 Why my Juanita Bynum post failed to get traction
29 Romney, Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, Social, Social Networks, Social Media, Video, Multimedia, TV, Advertising

What’s particularly interesting to me about this is that the values in the area chart above are not indicative of actual visitors. You could normalize one to the other and the same basic form would show through.

Interest Level across several sites

For example, the chart here is for the same period of time as above but is an aggregate of some 30 randomly chosen sites in our system. Evidently 29 Aug ’07 was simply a day of interest across the board. This doesn’t mean this blog wasn’t interesting in and of itself, only that visitors to sites in general were showing more interest than they were on most other days. How come? Could be people were planning for the long weekend and didn’t feel like focusing on the job. There are ways to know and that’s beyond the purpose of this arc.

Does team standing affect your interest in other things? Oh, yeah...

Interestingly, things like having high levels of interest and attention across the board happen. Tex, one of our researchers who comments on our political research fairly often, noted that New England based people browsing during the 2004 baseball season demonstrated activity closely matched to how the Red Sox were doing in the playoffs.

Does preparing your income tax increase your anxiety level? Darn right it does!

One other time our staff sociologist noticed that people’s anxiety levels closely matched where they were in their tax preparation cycle over a weekend. Fascinating stuff. To us, anyway.

Can You Tell What Posts Are Most Interesting? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog, 7 day Cycle, Finale)

I’ll close this arc by answering the question that got it going, “Maybe it is my lack of analytics knowledge, but if I am on the main page for your blog, can you tell if I am a visitor reading the Bynum posting or a visitor reading a different post? If not, how would you differentiate between which posting attracted the most readers?”

Again noting that traditional web analytics measures traffic volume and NextStage is more interested in interest levels, attention and engagement, this chart shows that during the 7 day period covered by these arcs, the post that generated the most interest was from some time back, Nothing New Under the Sun (Humanic Search Engines, part 1) (the red line at the top of the chart).

What got the next highest level of interest was reading a broad swath of posts (the dark blue and dark red lines two and three up respectively from the bottom). This would cover the posts from The non-locality of Pizza Shops to Keywords, Search Engines, SEO, Learning, Placement.

Next in line of interest are two posts and a topic; Alberto Gonzales from the NextStage Perspective, Is the future of political advertising social networks? and the About BizMediaScience. It seems some readers — probably new to this blog — were attracted by the posts then wondered who the person was who was authoring them.

The next most interesting topic was the MediaFree and Gridless arc. This doesn’t surprise me based on emails I’ve received and phone calls I’ve participated in.

To the reader’s question about being able to recognize the BizMediaScience main page; yes, that’s indicated by the gold line at the very bottom of the chart. What we’re seeing is that the main page on a post by post basis is interesting enough to send people looking at other posts. Guess I’ll have to work on that. We could determine which “main page” was getting the most interest with a flip of a software switch, so to speak.


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Expertise – Who Decides?

Expertise — recognizing when a blogger (or anyone, for that matter) has some — is a theme that I mentioned in my very first post, Greetings from the Mothership. The standard for expertise these days is Wikipedia and it is an excellent example of what some disciplines recognized as aggregate knowledge or “the knowledge of groups”. Wikipedia is — generally speaking — a good source of information because the people behind the scenes are committed and diligent. There was a run-off between Wikipedia and Britannica.com documented in Nature (Internet encyclopaedias go head to head) that indicated that Wikipedia, based on the expertise of the masses, was just as good if not better a resource as Britannica.

The flaw here? Well, there are several. One was posted by Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch in the SSE Yahoo message board:

‘Wikipedia, with its millions of amateur editors and unreliable content, is the 17th most trafficked site on the net. Britannica.com, a subscription-based service with 100 Nobel prize-winning contributors and more than 4,000 other experts is ranked 5,128…’

As the article suggest – not entirely tongue-in-cheek – if enough Wikipedia people decide that 2 + 2 = 5 then, according to Wikipedia, so be it.


A follow up post noted that Britannica is subscription based and Wikipedia is not, therefore the explanation of the traffic differences.

A lot of the conversations in the NextStage offices deal with recognizing “expertise”. A recent heated conversation had to do with recognizing who the experts were regarding global warming/climate change/isn’t the weather funny these days?

We have people who are recognized as having advanced knowledge of several fields here. I don’t know if anybody would consider themselves experts. I know I don’t consider myself an expert, merely an explorer. Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a person who’s made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”

Either our field isn’t narrow enough or we haven’t run out of mistakes to make yet.

My posts often quote sources such as Nature, Science, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Cybernetics & Human Knowing and the bibliographies [[(we haven’t transferred any yet)]] I’ve listed might demonstrate that we read and study fairly extensively in a wide variety of disciplines. However, I often acknowledge and present on the fact that science is simply another form of belief and is only accurate within the current paradigm of understanding. Most people no longer believe the earth is flat although that was the best science available in its day.

Umm…wait a second…that flat earth thing was basically the Wikipedia of the day. There was evidence that the earth was round, it was ignored.

By the masses.

But my statement that science is nothing more than concensus with numbers is still valid.

One of my favorite information sources these days is EarthPortal [[(another kaput site. This is what happens when things are done for profit and not love. Remember, love endures. Profit only hangs around until the next market collapse)]]. Check it out.

Anyway, mistakes, the making of them and the recognition of expertise are greatly on my mind this week.


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