Are Top Fashion Bloggers Destroying The Fashion Industry?

Top Fashion Bloggers Fight Back Against Fashion Brands Industry Vogue

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Why Top Fashion Bloggers Are “Heralding The Death Of Style”

The meteoric rise of blogs and social media platforms has led to massive changes in how consumers make purchasing decisions, and nowhere is this shift more pronounced than in the fashion industry. Today, fashion-focused bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and Snapchat stars command an increasing level of influence on where their social media audiences shop and what they wear, leading fashion incumbants—specifically, editors of top fashion magazines and executives at high fashion companies—to blame the actions of social media stars for slipping sales and underperforming products.

Is there any validity to their complaints, or are these bygone “gatekeepers” of fashion simply upset for being left out of the conversation?

The War Between “Gatekeepers” & The World’s Top Fashion Bloggers

The Los Angeles Times recently proclaimed: “Gone are the days when women took their beauty tips mainly from fashion and beauty magazines. In the digital age, those titles—and their editors—are quickly becoming almost irrelevant.”

This poignant truth is perhaps what prompted Vogue Magazine’s creative digital director Sally Springer to lash out at fashion bloggers in what was meant to be a lighthearted recap of the 2017 Milan Fashion Week, saying: “Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style” (Vogue).

How Top Fashion Bloggers Are Hurting Neiman Marcus & Other Fashion Brands

Following Springer’s lead, executives at fashion brands pounced on the opportunity to criticize the (negatively perceived) impact fashion bloggers have had on the fashion industry, though for entirely different reasons.

“Today, fashion shows are now blogged and broadcast all over the world via social media,” said Karen Katz, the CEO of luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus. “By the time the merchandise ships many months later, the newness and excitement had worn off and in many cases, the customer has moved on” (Quartz). According to Fortune, Neiman Marcus’ sales have been falling for four straight quarters, a trend Katz feels comfortable pinning, at least in part, on the prevalence and influence of fashion bloggers.

Related Post: The Top 20, Most Recognized Fashion Bloggers In The World

Fashion Bloggers Respond To Fashion Industry’s Criticism

Unwilling or unable to turn a deaf ear to the calls for them to “find another business,” the world’s top fashion bloggers—including Danielle Bernstein (weworewhat), Shea Marie (peaceloveshea), Susie Lau (susiebubble), Bryan Yambao (bryanboy), and Caroline Vreeland—fought back on their social media accounts, calling Vogue’s criticism “schoolyard bullying,” “old fashioned,” “shameful,” “catty and hypocritical,” and more.

top-fashion-bloggers-ruin-fashion-bryanboy-tweet

This is not the first time the impact of fashion bloggers (and social media in general) has prompted an outcry from fashion’s former standard-bearers, and it surely won’t be the last.

As consumers continue abandoning traditional forms of media (i.e. magazines, television, and newspaper) en masse and both fashion brands and publications fail to keep up with the quickening pace of digitally-driven consumerism, expect future clashes between those who formerly defined the “ins and outs” of the fashion industry and social media influencers who have become the tastemakers for millions.

As I sat with friends watching the debate last night, I felt anxiety about the future of our country. Watching two presidential hopefuls argue over tax reform, immigration and racial profiling amongst petty insults and interruptions was discouraging to say the least. On a more personal level, I woke up this morning to the published commentary of Vogue and Vogue.com editors essentially bullying “bloggers” and I thought, if women can’t even support each other in a female-centric industry, then we really are screwed. I’ve always felt the word “blogger” is reductive and non-descriptive of what I and many others like myself do. I am an entrepreneur, an influencer, a business woman…and yes, I have a blog too. It saddens me that a respected institution such as Vogue would insult bloggers and attempt to discourage young woman from forging their own career paths, by expressing themselves through what Vogue represents; personal style fashion. I’ve always felt my “brand” to be slightly more commercial than high end, but that doesn’t mean I don’t aspire to work with Vogue one day. And on some level I get it; parading around for street style photographers outside a show may look silly to some, but this exchange between photographers, models, celebrities, editors and, yes, bloggers serves a necessary purpose in this industry. From a practical perspective, it provides content for websites like Vogue.com and from an artistic perspective provides a large platform for brands to display their most recent collections. I’d like to give Vogue the benefit of the doubt here, and say that a few old-school editors representing an archaic mindset of the prestigious publication rattled off some thoughtless, bitter comments. Perhaps they’ll change their opinions after reading the responses of countless bloggers, followers, and readers alike who are firing back with their own opinions on who and what matters in our industry. I think it’s safe to say almost every designer, brand, and model in the fashion industry owes some of their success to the rise of social media and digital content. No one should be made to feel ashamed of that. And yes, I am registered to vote.

A photo posted by by Danielle (@weworewhat) on Sep 27, 2016 at 8:21am PDT

 

[Mini Preface here: I was waiting to post this pic as my very own warm spirited “Ciao, Milano!” But now it seems even more apropos… ] Dear @voguemagazine, since you hold a special and significant place in my heart, may I pose a question? If certain people on your team hate bloggers & influencers so much, I’m just curious why you put them on your international covers to increase sales. I’m not a blogger but I find your recent statements old fashioned and just plain rude. Most of the bloggers I know are hard working young entrepreneurs. I find it shameful that an institution such as Vogue would demean and belittle these young people who are building their own paths, especially since they are mostly young women, calling them “pathetic” and comparing them to strippers. This certainly isn’t the Vogue voice my great-grandmother once stood for. One contributor writes that she envies the Italian woman who enjoys life…maybe less complaining and worrying about what other people are doing would help to quell this jealousy. I say live and let live! I think all chic women, Italian and otherwise, would agree. Xoxo, the girl who wore a full body fishnet at 9am. Photo by @timuremek_photography

A photo posted by Caroline Vreeland (@carolinevreeland) on Sep 27, 2016 at 12:29am PDT

 

Please read!! Dear a certain few Vogue.com editors- The only thing that is “pathetic” here is this jealous, catty and hypocritical article you’ve just published. You are exactly the type of people that have given the fashion world the cold, unwelcoming and ruthless reputation it has had in the past. Thankfully those times are changing. I’m sorry if you can’t accept that what a “public figure” wears on the street is undoubtedly more influential than your post-fashion week column. That the fashion world isn’t controlled by you alone anymore. You even criticize the brands, for what? For having figured out the obvious: (news flash!) what people choose to wear and purchase is greatly inspired by the people they admire- the public figures (influencers, actors/actresses, musicians, bloggers, models). I respect you all deeply and the hard work you put into the industry. I look up to you. Which is why I feel so taken aback now at how tasteless and classless the words are that you chose. I would think an institution such as Vogue would respect young entrepreneurs instead of belittling them. It’s ironic how you make degrading comments about influencers, and then put them on your international covers to boost sales. And to echo the statements of others- how many of your covers are paid for “head to toe looks” by brands? What about the daily “street style” pictures and articles on your website homepage. Why? Because-guess what?-that’s what gets the clicks. As for your “get a real career” comment- I’m not sure exactly who you’re referring to; surely not me or someone like me. I built and design my own successful line, I style and creative consult for countless brands, and am invested in numerous other successful businesses behind the scenes. I grew up in a small town and came from nothing- I’d call that pretty impressive and admirable. I take pride in giving hope to young women around the world that they too can build something from nothing. I think I speak for “us” all when I say the bottom line here is that if you weren’t threatened you wouldn’t care at all. ✌🏻️ (📸 from New York by @sinx1002) A photo posted by Shea Marie (@peaceloveshea) on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:04am PDT

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The post Are Top Fashion Bloggers Destroying The Fashion Industry? appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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How to Add Real-Time Communication to Your Existing Marketing Stack

Let’s think back to the early days of social media for a moment, and how it impacted our marketing.

Not only did it bring the potential of massive free exposure, it radically increased transparency as well. Every good or bad customer experience suddenly became a potentially viral story. And thus the relation between business and consumer was changed, forever.

But social media isn’t at the top of the digital food chain anymore. As of 2015, messaging apps have overtaken social networking apps in monthly active users.

messaging-apps-surpassed-socialIn 2015, messaging apps overtook social media platforms in monthly active users. (Image Source)

This balance tip coincided with a few other developments: Facebook’s launch of Messenger for Business, WhatsApp announcing a move into B2C communication, an increasing reliance by businesses on message-based communication tools like Slack, and advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) entering a critical phase. The last point was nicely illustrated by AlphaGo wiping the floor with our human champions in Go.

Chris Messina, the guy who brought us the #hashtag, noticed the interplay between these developments, and concluded in a post on Medium that we’re at the brink of another revolution in B2C relationships.

Where before you would use your messaging apps for simple interactions with friends, the above developments allow them to be used for real-time conversations with businesses as well – whether that’s with a service rep or an intelligent chatbot. He dubbed this new era of B2C relationships ‘conversational commerce’.

So, how can you take advantage of this development? How can you integrate real-time communication into your existing marketing stack?

First, let’s clarify why you’ll want to jump aboard this trend in the first place. Then we’ll share some ideas and company examples that will help you start off today.

The Promise of Real-Time Communication

For years, marketers have known the power of ‘now’. Pay attention to the banners and billboards you’ll run into throughout the rest of the day, and notice how often they’re filled with maxims like ‘instant access’, ‘same day delivery’, and ‘quick checkout’. Immediacy strongly impacts our buying behavior.

amazon-prime-no-patience-required-adAmazon Prime, a prime example of our desire for immediacy. (Image Source)

In The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli shares an experiment into our weakness for ‘right now’ with two groups of participants.

Group A was asked whether they would rather receive $1,000 in 12 months, or $1,100 in 13 months. Most chose the 13-month option, because where else will you find an investment option with a 10% monthly interest rate?

Group B was offered a slightly different choice. They could choose to receive $1,000 today, or $1,100 in one month. Here, most people choose the $1,000 today option. This is remarkable. The choice is basically the same – except that the $1,000 today targets our weakness for wanting things right now. That’s hyperbolic discounting, our irrational preference for what we can get now over what we can get in the future.

Real-time customer service has a similar effect on our preference for right now. According to a Forrester Research study, 57% of online customers leave a website if they don’t receive a quick answer on their question.

This was confirmed in a case study with Intuit, the company behind the financial products QuickBooks and Mint. By placing live chat for real-time support during its checkout process, Intuit increased its average order value by 43%.

From “Interaction” to “Relation”

A major benefit of communication via messaging apps is that it results in a permanent and low-barrier connection with the customer.

Once a phone call with a customer is over, the connection is broken. That is not the case with email, but email has a high barrier to contact compared to writing a message on Facebook.

A permanent low barrier connection promises a major increase in customer interaction – keeping your business top of mind and always accessible.

Also, when a conversation picks up again, it happens within the context of a messaging thread. This makes it easier for support reps to understand the situation and provide a good answer. While emails and phone calls are mere snapshots, messaging threads represent long-term relationships.

Lower Costs per Interaction

As mentioned above, the existing messaging thread will prevent duplication. Things become more efficient when customers don’t have to repeat their issue with every service handover – not to mention more pleasant.

At the same time, advancements in natural language processing fuel expectations of chatbots soon solving many support questions that humans are tackling at the moment. Not all, of course. But a modest 20% would already represent a huge gain in efficiency.

We’re still some years away from scenes like in the movie Her, in which we’re having natural conversations with smooth sounding chatbots that are indistinguishable from those with humans. What is closer and easier to picture, however, is a sort of ‘chat cyborg’ – a human service rep that uses AI to deliver a superior service.

When a question comes in, AI runs it through the database of customer interactions and offers answer suggestions to its human colleague. The human serves as the last check, and can choose to override the suggestions or adjust them. The AI learns from the answer that is given, as well as the response from the customer (was it the right response?). That way, the chat cyborg is continuously growing in smarts and efficiency.

Now let’s look at how you can start with reaping the fruits of these developments today.

How to Get Started With Real-Time Communication

Live Chat on your Site

Web chat has been around for some years, but is developing fast together with the abovementioned trends. You implement a live chat window on your website, through which visitors can reach out and receive support.

Live chat offers many of the benefits described above, such as the power of instant support and minimizing duplication. What makes it especially powerful is that the chat is available at a critical moment in the buyer’s journey – on the website.

A customer might be ready to buy, but has some small concerns or questions before doing so. With live chat there’s no need to delay the purchase, since questions can be resolved on the spot.

A great example of how to do chat right is Apple’s live chat service.

apple-supportLive chat is an important ingredient in Apple’s service setup.

If you’re an Apple user, I recommend you try it out next time you have a service question. You receive full and detailed answers in no time, which suggest they make use of an intelligent knowledge base in the backend.

apple-live-chat-suppport

Facebook’s Messenger for Business allows live chat providers to connect to their platform, and tools like Telegram and WeChat are open for this as well. We can expect tighter integrations between website chat and messaging support in the future.

facebook-messenger-for-businessRogers connected its support team with Facebook to help customers via their favorite channel.

Messaging support

Messaging support is very promising, simply because it’s so darn convenient for consumers. They send a question through their favorite messaging app, and receive an answer in their back pockets.

For this to work, you need to hook up your support team to your messaging channels – be it Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, or a combination – and let your customers reach out to you.

One example of a business deploying large scale messaging support is Livecrowd, a Dutch company offering next-level customer service and experience for mass crowd events. Think festivals, football matches, or concerts (see Beyoncé’s concert page below). Such events are major logistical challenges. A quick and easy way to advise visitors about transport or safety is invaluable.

livecrowd-beyonce-world-tour-pageMessaging support is perfect for customers on the go, such as music event visitors.

Another messaging example from the Netherlands is KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. Since a few weeks, they’ve added Facebook Messenger support to their booking process.

This makes it easy for flyers to check the status on their flights and ask support agents any questions:

klm-messenger-supportManaging your booking with an app you’re already familiar with.

When you’re booking a flight and are logged into your Facebook account, you can select to stay updated about your flight through messenger. When you have a delay, for example, you receive an update on the app. You can also receive your boarding pass through Messenger, or ask questions to the KLM service team directly.

As you can see, part of KLM’s messaging support is automated. Which brings us to the next application.

Chatbots

Chatbots are a hot and exciting area of the tech industry, mainly because they’re fueled by advancements in machine learning.

Slack allows you to connect an existing chatbot to your team or build one with its own logic, while Facebook’s Chatbot API allows you to build a bot for Messenger. There are also plenty of third party apps that allow you to set up a chatbot fairly easily, such as Motion AI.

One example of the extensive use of chatbots is Call of Duty. Players can connect with Lieutenant Reyes chatbot, and solve a not-so-easy-to-solve puzzle. This chatbot sent over six million messages to its gamers in total.

Chatbots will only become more interesting with the continuous advancements in machine learning. The more intelligent the chatbots become, the more customer interactions can be left to them.

How to Get Started

Make a comprehensive communication plan.
To get started with real-time communication, you’ll need to integrate it in a comprehensive communication plan. Ask yourself: What channels make sense for me and my customers?

Set up a dedicated service team.
The fact that conversational commerce is based on text means that compared to phone, more interactions could be done per service agent. But you’ll also have a lower barrier for contact, so you can expect the number of customer interaction to rise. You’ll need a dedicated real-time communication team to support this.

Empower frontline employees.
In real-time communication, speed is king. Zendesk stated that customer satisfaction in live chat dropped after 30 seconds of waiting. Since you’ll be having so many customer inquiries requiring fast responses, it’s essential to empower your frontline employees to resolve issues themselves. The number of cases that require involvement from higher up should be minimized.

Set up communication guidelines.
That doesn’t mean your real-time communication should be a free-for-all. On the contrary, it takes directed effort to maintain a consistent voice across all channels. Like The Economist maintains a style guide for its articles, you should require a style guide for your real-time communication as well. On what level of familiarity will you communicate? If you’ll speak in English, will it be British or American?

Play together with your other channels.
In the world of conversational commerce, one-on-one conversations will cover a much wider area of topics than before. That’s why your frontend employees need to be well aware of all external communications. Whether it’s social media, content, email, or performance marketing – your real-time communication channel needs to be in sync.

Track key metrics.
One key benefit of written communication is that it can easily be tracked. Most live chat solutions, for example, have standard integrations with analytics solutions like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics. With them, it’s easy to measure key indicators of quality communication: first response time, handovers per issue, service ratings, etc.

Conclusion

We really do seem to be at the brink of another revolution in the relationship between businesses and customers.

You can start reaping the benefits of real-time communication today, by taking the first steps with website chat, messaging support, and chatbots. Happy chatting!

About the Author: Pascal van Opzeeland is CMO of Userlike, software for website and messaging support. He and his team share tips about customer communication on the Userlike Blog.

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The Biggest Facebook Video Stats Affecting Advertisers

Top 5 Facebook Video Stats Affecting Advertisers Miscalculation 2016

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The Top 5 Facebook Video Stats Affecting Advertisers In 2016

Facebook recently came under fire for “miscalculating” certain video view figures, stats, and metrics. The oversight dates back two years and results in an overestimation or inflation of Facebook’s “average duration of video viewed.”

While some media outlets have sought to clarify what Facebook’s miscalculation of a key video metric means, others are calling for a change in how tightly Facebook guards its data from third party measurements, a universal measurement system across all platforms, and raising concern for advertisers and publishers who have spent copious amounts of their budgets on Facebook video.

As advertisers and publishers discern what the ramifications of Facebook’s video metric miscalculation, these are the top Facebook video stats likely to be affected and of particular interest to be aware of:

Facebook Video Stats Advertisers Need To Ponder, Post “Facebook Miscalculation”

1. Facebook Owns Digital Ad Spend With $8 Billion In Revenue

According to Bloomberg, Facebook and Google made nearly 65% of all online advertising revenue in 2015, with Facebook capturing $8 billion of the total advertising revenue in 2015 (compared with Google/YouTube’s $30 billion share of the U.S. digital advertising market).

At approximately 13% of the total digital advertising revenue generated in the United States, Facebook’s $8 billion in ad revenue represents a massive investment in Facebook advertising, and with good reason. About 50% of the total U.S. population (166 million people) now access Facebook at least once per month, according to eMarketer, and social media audiences are spending more time on the network than ever before (see Facebook Video Stat #5).

Related Post: The 11 Biggest Facebook Video Statistics For 2016

2. 100 Million Hours Are Spent On Facebook Video Each Day

Facebook is striving to become the world’s leading video platform, a pivot made apparent by the network’s prioritization of video on users’ news feeds and recent launches of new digital video features like Facebook Live. In Facebook’s quarterly earnings report, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg even explicitly stated the network’s new focus, saying: “We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all of our apps and services” (Business Insider).

For advertisers looking to target Facebook’s enormous user base, the emphasis on video content is significant. Facebook now generates 100 million hours of daily video watch time from more than 500 million Facebook users every day, according to Re/code, though some advertisers and publishers may call these numbers into question in light of Facebook’s recent mishap with a key video metric.

Related Post: The Top 3 Facebook Trends Disrupting Social Media

3. Facebook Reveals A “60%-80% Miscalculation” In Time Spent On Video

In a recent blog post, Facebook’s vice president of business and marketing partnerships David Fischer shared a troubling insight: for at least the last two years, Facebook has been “miscalculating” the average duration of each video, dividing the total time of video views by the number of videos watched for 3 seconds or more instead of the total number of videos viewed (regardless of how long it was watched).

Related Post: How Facebook’s Video Metric Overestimation Will Affect Marketers

According to the Wall Street Journal, this error may have inflated the “average duration of videos viewed” metric on advertisers’ dashboard by up to 80%, a disconcerting revelation for advertisers who have been pouring ad dollars into Facebook video as a result of artificially high engagement rates. YouTube content creator Hank Green (of VlogBrothers fame) best summed up the problem with Facebook’s flub in a Medium post:

“[Facebook’s error is] a problem for creators trying to standardize rates for brand integrations, for agencies and brands trying to understand this constantly shifting landscape, and for everyone who wants a little more stability in the online video industry.”

4. Average Facebook Video Watch Time May Be Off By 15 Seconds

Facebook’s video view overestimation could mean that most videos weren’t being watched for nearly as long as advertisers assumed, yet another disturbing realization for the network’s 3 million advertisers. TechCrunch’s simple arithmetic reveals that, when you divide Facebook’s 100 million hours of video watched per day by a reported 8 billion daily views, you get about 45 seconds per view.

But if the definition of how Facebook measures a “view” is wrong and the metric that measures video duration is off by 60%–80%, are the videos actually being watched for only 30 seconds?

For advertisers, a 15-second discrepancy may have a huge impact on future video investment decisions, especially if the Facebook’s corrected metric reveals much lower video view durations than previously reported.

5. Users Spend 50 Minutes On Facebook Each Day

Users spend close to an hour each day on Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Facebook Messenger (excludes Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp). As explained in The New York Times, Facebook’s growth is an anomaly—”usually, when a platform expands its user base, the average time spent goes down, because a lot of new people aren’t that active.”

Not so with Facebook. It seems the social network giant is not only continuously growing its massive user base (presently at 1.71B monthly active users) but also discovering innovative ways to retain and also augment time spent on Facebook. From 2014 to 2015, Facebook has increased the average time spent on its platform and apps by a significant 25%, up from 40 minutes.

With Facebook’s recent push with Facebook Video, Live, and Facebook content creator initiatives, it’s clear the social network is looking to further growth through video, mobile, and social media influencers.

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The post The Biggest Facebook Video Stats Affecting Advertisers appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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A/B Testing vs Multiple Variant Testing: And the Winner Is…?

During the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Mahe Drysdale rowed 2,000 meters (1.24 miles) in just 6 minutes and 41 seconds.

However, despite his impressive performance, the world record-holder nearly lost the race.

Drysdale Rows to Nail-Biting Single Sculls Win in Rio 2016 Olympics

In one of the closest finishes in Olympic history, Drysdale won by mere millimeters.

In contrast, Great Britain’s Men’s Eight team rowed the same distance in just 5 minutes and 29 seconds—over 70 seconds faster than Drysdale’s time!

What’s more, the Brits won by more than a half second.

gbr-mens-8-rowing-win

That might not seem like a huge margin, but in the Olympics, a half second is a big deal.

So, why was Britain’s team so much faster than Drysdale?

The answer is simple: they had more oars in the water.

Now, at this point, you might be thinking, This is all well and good, Jake, but what does rowing have to do with online marketing?

Well, it turns out that conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a lot like rowing.

The more oars you have in the water, the faster you’ll make it to your goal and the more likely you are to beat out the competition.

The Secret is Testing Multiple Variants

Over the years, CRO seems to have become synonymous with A/B testing in the minds of many marketers.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. A/B testing is a form of conversion rate optimization. You have a page and you want it to perform better, so you change something and see if it improves your results.

But here’s the thing, A/B testing isn’t the only way to do CRO.

It might not roll off the tongue as nicely as “A/B testing”, but if you’ve got enough traffic, A/B/C/D/etc testing can allow you to produce meaningful results much more quickly.

For example, Optimizely recently studied and reported on the factors that defined the world’s best testing companies.

Guess what the 4 biggest factors were?

  1. Testing the things that drive the most revenue
  2. Testing every change
  3. Testing to solve real problems
  4. Testing multiple variants simultaneously

Does #4 surprise you?

Apparently, the most effective CRO doesn’t come from A/B testing—it comes from testing multiple variants.

Essentially, A/B testing is like the Mahe Drysdale of CRO. It works and it can even deliver amazing results.

But, it’s only two oars in the water—there’s no way it can compete with an 8-man team.

To put this in more concrete terms, according to Optimizely, just 14% of A/B tests significantly improve conversion rates. On the other hand, tests with 4 variants improve conversion rates 27% of the time.

So, if you test 4 variants, you are 90% more likely to improve your conversion rate than if you just ran an A/B test. However, 65% of CRO tests are—you guessed it—A/B tests!

Why Testing Multiple Variants Works Better

Basically, there are two reasons why multiple variant testing outperforms A/B testing: 1) it’s faster and 2) it allows you to test more variants under the same testing conditions.

Multiple Variant Testing is Faster

Sure, you can test the same things with a series of A/B tests as you can with a multiple variant test—it just takes a lot longer.

When you run an A/B test, you can really only learn one thing from your test. Your variant will either perform better, the same or worse than your original.

And that’s it, that’s all you can learn.

Now, if you’re smart about your A/B testing strategy, your results can teach you a lot about your audience and make your future tests smarter, but you’re still only learning one thing from each test.

On the other hand, with multiple variant testing, you can try out several ideas at the same time. That means you can simultaneously test multiple hypotheses.

So, instead of just learning that a hero shot with a smiling woman outperforms a shot of a grumpy man, you can also see if a grumpy woman image drives more results than the grumpy man pic or if a happy man outshines them all.

Or, you can try multiple combinations, like a new headline or CTA in combination with either the smiling woman or the grumpy man.

Running all of these tests simultaneously will allow you to optimize your page or site much more quickly than you could with a long series of A/B tests.

Plus, running a test with multiple variants will greatly improve the odds that a single test will deliver at least one positive result, allowing you to start getting more from your website sooner.

Multiple Variant Testing is More Reliable

Another problem with successive A/B tests stems from the fact that the world changes over time.

For example, if you are in eCommerce and run your first A/B test during October and your second test during November, how do you know if your results aren’t being skewed by Black Friday?

Even if your business isn’t seasonal, things like differences in your competitors marketing strategies, political change or a variety of other variables can make it difficult to directly compare the results of A/B tests.

As a result, sometimes it can be hard to know if a particular A/B testing variant succeeded (or failed) because of factors outside of your control or even knowledge. The more tests you run, the murkier your results may become.

However, with a multiple variant test, you are testing all of your variants under the same conditions. That makes it easy to compare apples-to-apples and draw valid, reliable conclusions from your tests.

What Does Testing Multiple Variants Look Like in Real Life?

To show you just how testing multiple variants can improve your CRO results, let me share an experience we recently had with one of our clients.

The client wanted to get site traffic to their “Find Your Local Chapter” page, so we decided to add a “Find Your Local Chapter” link to the client’s footer. That way, the link would be seen by as many people as possible.

Makes sense, right?

So, we put together something that looked like this:

testing-multiple-footer-variants-v1

At first, we figured we would just put the link in the footer and run a test to see if the link made a difference.

But then, we started wondering if there was a way to make the link even more noticeable. After all, getting traffic to this page was a big deal to the client, so it made sense to emphasize the link.

With that in mind, we added color to the link:

testing-multiple-footer-variants-v2

Now, this idea seemed logical, but at Disruptive, we believe in testing, not gut instinct, so we figured, “Hey, we’ve got enough traffic to test 3 variants, let’s take this even further!”

The problem was, the client’s site was a designer’s dream—modern and seamlessly designed. To be honest, we had a bit of trouble selling them on the idea that creating a page element that interrupted their seamless flow was worth testing.

But, eventually, we convinced them to try the following:

testing-multiple-footer-variants-v3

It was very different from anything the client had tried on the page before, but we decided to run with the idea and include it in our test.

A few weeks and 110,000 visitors later, we had our winner:
testing-multiple-footer-variants-results

Not surprisingly, adding the “Find Your Local Chapter” link increased page visits by over 60% for every variant—that’s an awesome win, right?

But here’s the thing. With our original, strict A/B test, we would only have discovered that adding the link increased traffic by 63%.

On the other hand, by including a couple of extra variants, we were able with the same test to discover that—contrary to the client’s belief—the more our link “interrupted” the site experience, the more traffic it drove to the chapter page.

Sure, we might have reached the same conclusion with several more tests, but we achieved these results much more quickly and reliably than we would have with an A/B testing series.

Should You Test Multiple Variants?

When it comes to testing multiple variants, there’s only one real reason not to use it: your boat is too small.

rowing-fail

Think about it: if the entire British Eight Man team had tried to cram onto Mahe Drysdale’s boat, they never would have made any forward progress.

The same idea applies to CRO.

As great as multiple variant testing is, if you don’t have enough traffic, a test could take months or years to complete.

In fact, in true multivariate testing—where you test to see how a large number of subtle changes interact to generate your conversion rate—you want at least 100,000 unique visitors per month (for more information on multivariate testing, check out this great article).

On the other hand, you need far less traffic to simultaneously test multiple page variants.

To see how long a multiple variant test will take on your site, try out this VWO has a free sample size and test duration calculator from VWO. If the time frame makes sense for your business, go for it!

Conclusion

Whether it’s Olympic rowing or CRO, the more oars you have in the water, the better your results will be.

Although it may be tempting to limit CRO to A/B testing, testing multiple variants will allow you to improve your conversion rates more quickly and reliably than you could with a series of A/B tests.

You’ve heard my two cents, now it’s your turn.

Have you tried multiple variant testing? What was your experience like? Did any of the data in this article surprise you?

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

wm-sunbrite-sunset-sm

Go the distance.
Do it with grace or do it ugly,
because some days
that’s what your best looks like.

It only matters
that you go the full heart distance.

 

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Equine Pro
(WordPress Photo Challenge is a weekly prompt to share a photo–I enjoy twisting these macro prompts to share our micro life here on the Colorado prairie. My photos are taken with my phone, on my farm. No psych, definitely not high tech.)

Quest

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How Facebook’s Video Metric Overestimation Will Affect Marketers

Facebook Video Views Miscalculation Overestimation Affects Advertisers

For the latest stats, trends, and advertising news on influencer marketing, social media, digital stars & more, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!

Will Facebook’s Video Views Miscalculation Affect Advertisers?

From a marketing perspective, the importance of Facebook video advertising cannot be overstated. In a recent post, we determined that the total number of Facebook videos has increased 94%, year-on-year, and eMarketer estimates that 66% of marketers will invest in Facebook video ads in the next 12 months.

Last week, however, Facebook admitted that it’s shared inflated and/or miscalculated video view metrics for two years, leading some media outlets and marketers to call Facebook’s trustworthiness into question. While Facebook’s error (accidental or not) hasn’t sent advertisers running for the hills just yet, how this revelation will impact future investment in Facebook video advertising remains to be seen.


66% of marketers will invest in Facebook video ads this year. See why.
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Why Facebook Video Views Are Important To Marketers

Online video advertising is one of the fastest growing marketing channels, with over 60% of brands planning to increase digital video budgets in the next 12 months and spending on online video projected to jump by 30% from 2015 to 2016. Facebook’s large, diverse audience—around 50% of all U.S. internet users and 91% of millennials are on Facebook, according to eMarketer—makes it the ideal platform for digital video investment, both through native video ads and influencer marketing initiatives.

A recent Facebook blog posts regarding a miscalculation in how the social network measures the average duration of videos views has led to a slew of articles from top media outlets, all voicing concerns about the true nature of Facebook video advertising and raising an important question: should advertisers be worried about Facebook’s latest admission of error?

How Facebook’s Video View Miscalculation Will Impact Advertisers

According to TechCrunch, Facebook has been accidentally misleading marketers for the last two years by failing to include videos that were viewed for under three seconds when factoring average view time per video.

Because Facebook counts a video “view” at three seconds or more, this reporting error could have inflated the “average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%” (Wall Street Journal) and led advertisers to believe that their videos were being watched for much longer than they actually were.

Facebook has said newer metrics will reflect the total videos viewed (instead of counting only the ones that reach the three-second mark), but the news could have an impact on where future advertising budgets will be allocated (Bloomberg).

On a grander scale, Facebook’s flub reignites the debate over whether the “walled gardens” of social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube should be subject to 3rd-party measurement/verification and if a standardized way to assess the performance of social video campaigns is feasible and/or desirable (Digiday).

Will Facebook’s Overestimated Video View Metrics Scare Away Advertisers?

In a word: no. While the network’s metric measurement misstep may dent marketers’ confidence in Facebook’s advertising platform and, more painfully, in their own ability to create engaging digital video ads, Facebook is simply too large for advertisers to avoid.

Though one can and should expect a renewed call for a better, more independent monitoring and measuring system, it’s unrealistic to think that any marketing professional would choose to forfeit access to the network’s 1.7 billion users, even for such an egregious and potentially disastrous reporting error as this (TechCrunch).

Also See Our Posts On:

The 11 Facebook Video Statistics Every CMO Must Know

3 Ways The Facebook Is Disrupting Social Media Marketing

Brand Guide: How To Launch An Influencer Marketing Campaign

5 Amazing Examples Of Facebook Video Advertising

The post How Facebook’s Video Metric Overestimation Will Affect Marketers appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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What is Data Quality and How Do You Measure It for Best Results?

We’ve talked a lot about data quality in the past – including the cost of bad data. But despite a basic understanding of data quality, many people still don’t quite grasp what exactly is meant by “quality”.

For example, is there a way to measure that quality, and if so, how do you do it? In this article, we’ll be looking to answer those questions and much more. But first…

Dispelling Data Quality Myths

decision-makersThe foundation for ensuring data quality starts when basic requirements are created

One of the biggest myths about data quality is that it has to be completely error-free. With websites and other campaigns collecting so much data, getting zero errors is next to impossible. Instead, the data only needs to conform to the standards that have been set for it. In order to determine what “quality” is, we first need to know three things:

  1. Who creates the requirements
  2. How are the requirements created, and
  3. What degree of latitude do we have in terms of meeting those requirements

Many businesses have a singular “data steward” who understands and sets these requirements, as well as being the person who determines the tolerance levels for errors. If there is no data steward, IT often plays the role in making sure those in charge of the data understand any shortcomings that may affect it.

You Can Have It Good, Fast or Cheap – Pick Two

mcdonalds-junk-food

Everything from collecting the data to making it fit the company’s needs open it up to potential errors. Having data that’s 100% complete and 100% accurate is not only prohibitively expensive, but time consuming and barely nudging the ROI needle.

With so much data coming in, decisions have to be made and quickly. That’s why data quality is very much a delicate balancing act – juggling and judging accuracy and completeness. If it sounds like a tall order to fill, you’ll be glad to know that there is a method to the madness, and the first step is data profiling.

What is Data Profiling?

data-quality

Data profiling involves looking at all the information in your database to determine if it is accurate and/or complete, and what to do with entries that are not. It’s fairly straightforward to, for instance, import a database of products that your company manufactures and make sure all the information is exact, but it’s a different story when you’re importing details about competitor’s products or other related details.

With data profiling, you’re also looking at how accurate the data is. If you’ve launched on 7/1/16, does the system record that as 1916 or 2016? It’s possible that you may even uncover duplicates and other issues in combing through the information you’ve obtained. Profiling the data in this way gives us a starting point – a springboard to jump from in making sure the information we’re using is of the best possible quality.

Determining Data Quality

So now that we have a starting point from which to determine if our information is complete and accurate, the next question becomes – what do we do when we find errors or issues? Typically, you can do one of four things:

  • Accept the Error – If it falls within an acceptable standard (i.e. Main Street instead of Main St) you can decide to accept it and move on to the next entry.
  • Reject the Error – Sometimes, particularly with data imports, the information is so severely damaged or incorrect that it would be better to simply delete the entry altogether than try to correct it.
  • Correct the Error – Misspellings of customer names are a common error that can easily be corrected. If there are variations on a name, you can set one as the “Master” and keep the data consolidated and correct across all the databases.
  • Create a Default Value – If you don’t know the value, it can be better to have something there (unknown or n/a) than nothing at all.

Integrating the Data

When you have the same data across different databases, the opportunity is ripe for errors and duplicates. The first step toward successful integration is seeing where the data is and then combining that data in a way that’s consistent. Here it can be extremely worthwhile to invest in proven data quality and accuracy tools to help coordinate and sync information across databases.

Your Data Quality Checklist

clean-data

Finally, because you’re dealing with so much data across so many different areas, it’s helpful to have a checklist to determine that you’re working with the highest quality of data possible. DAMA UK has created an excellent guide on “data dimensions” that can be used to better get the full picture on how data quality is decided.

Their data quality dimensions include:

Completeness – a percentage of data that includes one or more values. It’s important that critical data (such as customer names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) be completed first since completeness doesn’t impact non-critical data that much.

Uniqueness – When measured against other data sets, there is only one entry of its kind.

Timeliness – How much of an impact does date and time have on the data? This could be previous sales, product launches or any information that is relied on over a period of time to be accurate.

Validity – Does the data conform to the respective standards set for it?

Accuracy – How well does the data reflect the real-world person or thing that is identified by it?

Consistency – How well does the data align with a preconceived pattern? Birth dates share a common consistency issue, since in the U.S., the standard is MM/DD/YYYY, whereas in Europe and other areas, the usage of DD/MM/YYYY is standard.

The Big Picture on Data Quality

As you can see, there’s no “one size fits all” approach to maintaining accuracy and completeness on every type of data for every business. And with big data’s appetite for information growing more and more every day, it is becoming more important than ever to tackle data quality issues head-on. Although it can seem overwhelming, it’s worth enlisting data hygiene tools to let computers do what they do best – crunch numbers.

The most important step you can take is simply getting started. The data is always going to grow as more prospects come on board and new markets are discovered, so there’s never going to be a “best time” to tackle data quality issues. Taking the time now to map out what data quality means to your company or organization can create a ripple-effect of improved customer service, a better customer experience, a higher conversion rate and longer customer retention – and those are the kinds of returns on investment that any business will wholeheartedly embrace!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

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Ride Shorter, Progress Farther.

wm-hannahandanteIf I were to write a training book entitled Less is More, it would be hundreds of pages long. The irony is not lost on me. At the same time, it’s an idea that I defend constantly. Us humans can be like rats on a wheel sometimes.

We’ve all seen the rider. Maybe she starts by lunging her horse in tight side-reins. He can’t breathe and gets a bit panicky. Confirming her opinion that he needs lunging to take the edge off. Most misunderstandings start this way–a simple mistake.

Then it’s like dominoes. She wants to get it right. Her horse tries in the beginning. She’s focused, she pushes too hard, for too long. Then she doesn’t notice that she’s talking to herself, about her horse, but behind his back. Each try, she wants just one more effort a bit better, but by now her horse has lost heart. He’s just getting the same cue again and again and he has no idea what it means anymore. Are you teaching your horse to be stupid or smart?

Wake-up call: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

And by the way, how did things go at work today? (Like your horse even needs to ask.)

Part of the challenge of riding well doesn’t have a thing to do with the barn. It’s just being who we are. That usually means a full-time job. Maybe a couple of kids. That’s enough for a twenty hour day right there. Being retired is just as busy, dealing with health issues, technology, and family. Is that a strange man in the house or do you recognize him as the guy in your wedding photos? Then book club and maybe a random thought about climate change and horse rescue. Balancing responsibilities and obligations with your passions and bank account ends up being a recipe for guilt. At the very least, it’s a lot of extra weight for a horse to carry.

Then some idiot trainer like me climbs on your horse, and with no fanfare or angst, your horse does that illusive movement for a few strides, as I smile and throw down the reins, like it’s no big deal. Ouch, apparently it’s easy for your horse.

And then my client says to me, “Know what your problem is? You don’t want it bad enough.” There’s an instant where the words hang in the air… and then we howl. A sense of humor will always be the very best training aid.

And she’s right. There’s an art to riding as if you don’t care. Sure, it’s an “untruth” and we should care about our riding technique. But I also hope we find a way to not torment our horses any more than we have to along the way. It’s pretty easy to get that Night of the Living Dead appearance in the saddle from just trying too hard. Your effort shows in your horse’s stilted gait and tense back.

So, your life is busy and you don’t have much time to ride? Good. Ride less. Ride lighter, and trust your horse. He doesn’t forget how to be ridden and he doesn’t need to be drilled. His memory is strong; he remembers his training as clearly as he remembers your frustration.

Since we humans think in hour-sized hunks of time, start when the big hand is on the twelve. Start by currying too long. Use one arm and then the other. Feel his skin warm as his blood flow increases. Then feel your shoulders relax and do the same. Forget the stupid clock; tune in to horse time.

Bridle him with slow hands and lots of deep breaths. Pause on the mounting block and let your guilt and stress drain out into a dark, sticky pool under your boots. Then lightly mount. Once in the saddle, take a moment to feel your sit-bones go soft and the weight of your heels sink low. Acknowledge you have a partner and not an adversary.

Take all the time you need to allow your horse warm-up on a long rein without correction. Just rhythm and stride. Never doubt this is the most important part of the ride. Feel his body with your seat and legs. Use time freely because quality matters.

Now is a good time to get off. Yes, so soon. Quit early, while you want more and your horse is happy. Finish by taking too much time brushing him down, give him a snack, and still have time to run an errand on the way home.

If you want to train just a little longer, be serious enough about your riding to remember the best work happens when it feels like play. Successive approximation is that happy path of bread crumbs. We reward that answer that isn’t right, but is closer to right, like calling out, “You’re getting warmer,” in a game of Hide and Seek. If you get one really good effort, quit right there. Jump down immediately. Then trust your horse’s intelligence. Even if you don’t quite trust your own. If your trainer releases you early, or your ride was only thirty minutes long, give yourself chocolate. You deserve a treat!

Current opinions about training have changed. Three days a week of actually schooling is plenty for most competition horses. Keep your horse fit with hacks or arena games or cross-training. Or anything else that doesn’t feel like boot camp. You know the two cardinal rules in training: Be consistent. Change things up.

If you still want to tell me that your horse is that hot kind of horse that needs to be ridden hard every day, well, ask yourself the hard question. “How can I help his anxiety?”

Fall equinox: Days are getting shorter and the world has a way of twisting things sideways. If we don’t pay attention, blessings start to feel like poverty. It isn’t true. What you have to offer is more than enough and your horse is just as magical as he ever was.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Equine Pro

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Fun Fact Friday – Lawn Pests that Destroy Your Lawn Part I

gr1u2bs250pxFun Fact Friday – White Grubs

  • White Grubs appear as fat white “worm-like” larvae.
  • White Grubs have many life cycles throughout the year.
  • White Grubs are hatched from eggs that are laid in the soil.
  • In the spring grubs awaken from winter and begin feeding.
  • White Grubs are immature beetles that like to feed on grass roots, causing extensive damage to the root systems.
  • In the summer pupae turn into beetles, including Japanese Beetles, which emerge to feed on garden foliage and flowers. Beetles lay eggs in the lawn soon after.
  • In the fall eggs hatch into new grubs which feed on the grass roots, thereby destroying your lawn. The destructive cycle begins all over again.
  • It is impossible to see white grubs on the surface since they exist below the blades of grass in the root zone.

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Influencer Marketing News Roundup: Is ASMR the latest influencer trend?

Influencer Marketing News Roundup Top Weekly Stories

For the latest authoritative marketing news, trends, and stats on social media stars and influencer marketing,subscribe to our industry digest newsletter! 

Influencer Marketing News Roundup: YouTube’s New Social Good Program, Instagram’s Advertiser Milestone, & More

This week on the Mediakix blog, we showed you the 10 biggest digital marketing statistics defining 2016, broke down the number of users on social media altogether in a helpful infographic, and shared news of YouTube’s latest development, a social network, “Community.” Additionally, we examined 11 online video marketing statistics for 2016 and conducted an exclusive interview with top YouTube influencers FamilyFunPack.

Today’s Friday roundup of influencer marketing news will dive into YouTube’s success as the most popular social media network, Instagram’s advertising milestone, the developing ASMR marketing community, and more.

YouTube Is Popular, but Pre-Roll Ads Are Not

A poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft found that U.S. teen internet users ages 13-17 used YouTube more than Snapchat and Facebook, after Gmail (eMarketer). As the dominant video sharing website with massive amounts of content, it is not surprising that YouTube would be the most dominate social network.

Despite YouTube’s popularity, it is finding difficulty, along with other video-sharing platforms, gaining traction in pre-roll ads. In a survey conducted by Nielsen and Newlio, a 52% of respondents said they will skip, mute, or will not pay attention to a pre-roll ad (eMarketer). Additionally, rising rates of ad blocking globally and especially for critical audiences such as millennials (nearly 2 out of 3 millennials employ ad blockers) preclude billions of dollars of ad spend including pre-roll ads. Marketers should consider the best way to approach advertising on video and avoid resorting to a format that is unpopular with the majority of users.

Related Post: The 10 Ways To Advertise On YouTube [Infographic]

Doing Social Good With YouTube Content Creators

YouTube is funding $1 million in equipment and production grants to 6 top YouTube influencers for the first class of “Creators For Change”, a program aimed to create positive social change by combating hate speech, xenophobia, and encouraging tolerance and empathy (Tubefilter). This program will appoint ambassadors across the globe and help amplify their voices. Ultimately, Creators For Change aims to increase awareness, funding, and other resources to various social causes.

Related Post: The 10 Biggest YouTube Video Statistics To Know In 2016

Instagram Hits New Advertising Milestone

Instagram has reached over 500,000 monthly active advertisers buying ads, up from 200,000 in February 2016. This may in part be due to allowing business-specific Instagram accounts to open in July, giving businesses an option to buy ads and track their performance (Marketing Land). Instagram also reached 500 million monthly active users at the end of June 2016. 

Within recent months, Instagram has rolled out with several new features to compete with its nearest competitors (see our infographic comparing Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories), altered how content is viewed with its Instagram news feed algorithm, and provided marketers with additional tools and capabilities for its native advertising platform, Instagram Sponsored Ads. Additionally, Instagram continues to be a popular marketing channel for brands and advertisers seeking to leverage the platform’s top influencers for influencer marketing campaigns. 

Related Post: The 11 Instagram Demographics & User Stats Every Marketer Should See

Influencer Marketing Is A Burgeoning Industry

Over the next 5 years, influencer marketing is slated to become a $5 billion to $10 billion market, however, marketers should be wary of the integrity of many influencer agencies who overstate the strength of their relationships with a number of influencers (Digiday). There is little exclusivity in the industry, and marketers will need to utilize established and reputable agencies that have real relationships with influencers serving to produce high-performing and strategic influencer marketing campaigns

Related Post: The Most Impressive Influencer Marketing Statistics For 2016 [Infographic]

Pst. Can You Hear That? It’s ASMR

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is a tingling, pleasurable feeling that relaxes the mind triggered by certain sounds such as whispering voices or scratching nails on cardboard (Digiday). This up-and-coming trend attempts to find a different kind of customer that is infatuated and enthusiastic about the sensorial experience of sound.

Top social media influencers are jumping on this open market, providing content that is searched for more times on Google than “candy” or “chocolate” (Digiday). The emergence of ASMR is an interesting development and can point to other obscure industries that marketers should begin working in.

Also See Our Posts On:

10 Digital Marketing Statistics You Should Know For 2016

How Many People Are On Social Media In 2016 [Infographic]

New To Influencer Marketing? Download Our FREE 10-Step Guide Here

Exclusive Interview Spotlight: Top YouTube Channel, Family Fun Pack

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