October 2012 Archives

Learning Surveys, Critiquing Surveys

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As we've come to learn more about how important it is to craft a well-written survey it has made me far more critical of surveys I take. Whether they're for my peers in other classes or from websites or retail outlets I pay attention to how and exactly what they're asking me. It also made me disappointed when a company, brand or in this case, a school, I respect puts out a poorly done survey. The following screen shot is from the second half of a survey I took for extra credit in SJMC. Screen shot 2012-10-22 at 9.55.15 PM.pngNotice at the top it has instructions for the survey-taker "Please mark the choice..." but then in parentheses are what must have been instructions for the person putting the survey into the web application "Use semantic-differential scales. Also try to mix these in with other items in the survey so that it is not totally obvious what we are doing". This is pretty unfortunate because then it makes it entirely super obvious what they are doing. Also it's just disappointing to see how little care was taken when putting together his survey. This is something that was sent directly to me in an email to take. Also the first question doesn't even have all the options entered/it's not completed. The rest of the survey was fine for the most part except I believe for a few typos.
I love and respect SJMC, I just hope it isn't making mistakes like these on a more witnessed level. It's unprofessional and simply unacceptable.

Twitter Research

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Once again, a Fast Company article, "New Twitter Research: Happy Tweeting Could Win Business," shares the research that Twitter users tend to aggregate themselves not only by common demographics such as age, race, and educational background but on psychographics as simple as the tendency to be a happy tweeter or sad tweeter. The study investigated tweet streams from 102,000 Twitter users for a six month period, which adds up to about 129 million tweets, applying language analysis software to pick up on tendencies towards negative or positive language and topics.
Fast Company speculates that maybe the PR tweeters for businesses should try to attune themselves to their followers and follow up with either promoting happy, upbeat tweets or more neutral, factual ones or perhaps even snarky, sarcastic tweets. As seems to be a perpetual discovery regarding communications research, knowing your audience and consumers, how they want to be communicated to and treated, is infinitely important.

Using Youtube to Study Human Behavior

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Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 5.34.40 PM.png

I love the magazine Fast Company. As a strategic journalism major and design minor, it's the perfect source for understanding how business and design are blended together all over the world. I just read an article, "Meet The Research Scientist Who Is Turning YouTube Into A Data Goldmine" which is a super intriguing report of how a research scientist, Louis-Philippe Morency, is using Youtube to investigate the subtleties of communication. Morency uses all sorts of videos while focusing on those in which individuals give personal reviews of products or movies or something. He's come up with a whole trove of information such as, "Morency finds that people look at the camera more when sharing a positive view and their voices become higher pitched. They start to use a lot more pauses when they are neutral." Morency sees future uses of his program for psychologists as well as businesses and schools. He's also currently working on branching his research out to languages besides English.

Watch this video to get Louis-Philippe's own explanation of his software.

Email Survey

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Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 4.02.34 PM.png I'm a sucker for coupons/contests/discounts. I originally got a Twitter account because I realized that my favorite concert venues and radio stations frequently gave away tickets through Twitter and didn't want to miss my chance. I've won at least one t shirt and a few different coupons/gift certificates through my like 4 months of activity on Twitter already. I love it. I also "Like" tons of restaurants' pages on Facebook in case they give you a coupon or something for doing it. I guess it was just a few months ago when I finally figured I'll never win if I don't enter so might as well enter everything.

Anyways, this wasn't a contest but I signed up for the Famous Footwear email list because it's fall, quickly becoming winter, and I'm thinking about getting a new pair of boots; however, obviously not eager to pay full price. Famous Footwear had a deal going on where they'd give you a $5 coupon for signing up, so I did! I think that was about a week ago and just a few minutes ago I received this email asking me to take a survey- a perfect opportunity to make an entry to this blog.
Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 4.09.55 PM.png It was a super quick and simple survey. Just three questions - who I normally buy for, whether I tend to buy for trends or sales and what shoes I'm most interested in. These were all very closed-ended questions to produce an easy profile of me for the company. Once I hit "submit" I came to this page: Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 4.10.32 PM.png so I know that part of what they were doing with this survey is finding out how to target me better through emails. I could see this as sort-of a service to me, so I don't have to deal with a thousand emails about men's dress shoes or children's hiking boots, and good for Famous Footwear because then they're likely to have a higher click-through rate on the emails they send out to me. A quick and easy review of a consumer email survey!

Interactive Online Commercials

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Although I used this example for the in-class activity on Thursday, I think it's worth coming back to in terms of advertising I'd like to see researched. The advertising that I'm talking about are the commercials that often come up on sites like Hulu. They are usually copies of commercials played on television but have been adjusted slightly to have an interactive component.
At school I don't have cable but like to keep up with the shows that my parents and I used to watch together so I end up watching a number of them on Hulu. Recently it seems that any and every show I watch on there I get this one Verizon commercial. The TV version is pretty bad in the first place- it's supposed to appear that Verizon did some focus groups and that we're getting a look at what these other confident individuals thought about their charts but there's just no way it's real.
The interactive version goes through the same plot lines but once they show the graphs they stop the ad with writing on the screen asking you to choose which company you'd choose for 4G LTE coverage. Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 3.36.54 PM.pngThe choice is made pretty obvious. Whether or not you click on a part of the graph the commercial continues after a few seconds and goes on to another graph for you to choose and finishes up as the TV version does. Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 3.52.14 PM.png
This Verizon interactive ad isn't the first one of its kind that I've seen on Hulu. It's sort of neat, I guess, but I wonder if it really does prove more effective in increasing recall or if these ads are used because they seem like they'd be less annoying because it's not something you're just being subjected to but you're given the chance to do something while you wait for your show to return.
If I was to research the question, "Do interactive commercials on TV websites such as Hulu increase recall and decrease watchers' annoyance with the interruption?" I'd first use random sampling to get a control group and an experimental group. The control group would just see the TV version of the ad (still while watching a show online) while the experiment group would get the interactive ad. I'd conduct post-tests on both groups to see who seems to have better recall and who was less annoyed by the ad.
I realize this research may be a little bit flawed- I think I'm still getting the hang of how to properly conduct research on communications topics. Firstly, I don't know for sure that my question is valid- perhaps I should only investigate one aspect first - such as only looking into the recall. Secondly, because "annoyance" seems like a sort of difficult thing to strictly measure among a wide variety of people.
Anyway, I'm just curious as to if there's a real purpose behind interactive ads or if it's just a technologically cool thing to do for companies. I wouldn't be surprised if I could dig up some research on this already. Screen shot 2012-10-13 at 3.53.06 PM.png

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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