Power and flexibility of social media sites should not be undermined. Among many usage of these sites, the lesser known is that they serve as an emerging source of data for public health studies, including mental health (Schrading et al.).
According to a study on domestic abuse disclosure on a social media site, Schrading et al. reported that this site offers “less intimidating and more accessible channels for reporting, collectively processing, and making sense of traumatic and stigmatizing experiences”. One such site is Reddit.
Reddit is a popular social news and entertainment media launched in 2005. As of 2015, Reddit has amassed 36 million user accounts and 234 million monthly unique visitors. This site has a vast range of forums dedicated to various topics, known as “subreddits”. Its forum-style social system allows users to share texts and media as posts that allow votes and comments. Unlike Twitter, Reddit allows lengthy submissions.
Given the unique characteristics of the site, Reddit acts as a support system for mental health suffers, which provides a platform for self-disclosure, social support, and anonymity. Users may interact anonymously and become connected with others who share similar difficulties, misery, pain, condition, or distress (Choudhury & De).
Moreover, each subreddit is moderated by online community volunteers. For sensitive subreddit topics that are related to mental health and illnesses, their main role is to ensure that “the anonymous submitter has access to local help hotlines if a life-threatening situation is described” (Schrading et al.).
In essence, Reddit is a comfortable and safe space for people who cannot disclose their mental health experiences due to social stigma. Even for ones who are simply willing to share a piece of their own life story to help others.
Infographic below summarizes key findings and statistics in relation to this topic:
I would like to think I put the “pro” in procrastination (maybe not the “fun” in funny, but alas). I relate well with what author Robert Mckee once said:
I hold Olympic records for procrastination. I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem. I can procrastinate dealing with my problem of procrastinating thinking about my procrastination problem.
Mckee and I are surely not alone in being the masters of our procrastination domains. Statistics would agree, revealing that procrastination is a widespread malady. According to The American Psychological Association, an estimated 20% of Americans are chronic procrastinators, costing one trillion dollars a year for businesses.
Yes, Dr. Evil, that was one trillion and not one million (or even billion). Procrastination is a problem, as you can see, layered like Shrek and confounding like Donkey.
There are solutions, though. They involve realizing we’ve misdiagnosed and mischaracterized procrastination for far too long. It’s time to know the enemy even if the enemy is mostly us.
Procrastination Is Not About Time But Emotion
In The Atlantic article The Procrastination Doom Loop, Derek Thompson provides an extensive evaluation on procrastination. Thompson quotes several experts, one a prominent psychologist who declares that procrastination “really has nothing to do with time-management. To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
In essence, we procrastinate because:
– We delay action because we’re in the wrong mood to complete a task. – We assume that our mood will change in the future.
All of this results in what is called a procrastination “doom loop,” where that negative mood begins a continuous feedback of anxiety, guilt and anger, all due to the very notion of confronting a task.
Here is a doom loop diagram from the article:
To combat the doom loop, Thompson’s research offers these remedies:
– Schedule one-shot reminders as late as possible—even slightly after you were supposed to start the project. Last-second reminders tend to exorcise any negative moods and ignite our fight instinct. – Have others create deadlines for us. Deadlines imposed by outsiders tend to be more effective than personal ones, even from friends or family. – Fool yourself into thinking a task is enjoyable or leisurely. Procrastinators are more likely to complete a piece of work if they’re persuaded it’s not truly work.
Procrastination Is Not About Being Passive But Impulsive
This might seem like a surprise, but an insightful article in Lifehacker offers the Red Pill to this aspect of procrastination. It’s actually very logical.
The articles explains:
In reality, impulsivity simply means that you act immediately on your impulses. When the mood strikes you to do something, you do it. Your actions are largely dictated by whatever your most immediate desire is, regardless of the long-term consequences of that action.
Procrastination is not so much about choosing not to work, but choosing the easiest task first, that proverbial low hanging fruit. As an example, we might decide to check Facebook instead of starting a report. Also, unhinged impulsiveness leads to unhinged anxiety, shutting down productivity across all spectrums.
People with ADD and substance abuse problems are pathologically impulsive. They tend to make the wrong choices to experience instant gratification. For the rest of us, it’s just damn Daniel all the way as we struggle with facing our projects.
– Practice mindfulness (even two minutes of meditation a day can assist in nurturing a poised mind). – Learn your red flags and plan around them (cursed be that “buy now” Amazon button!), as well as recognize your triggers and weaknesses. – Indulge in some productive procrastination. Scheduling some social media time at work can actually improve productivity, no matter what the HR people caw about in their memos.
Procrastination Is Not Fear of Beginning A Task But Fear Of The Big Picture
As research explains, for procrastinators a journey of a thousand miles starts with breaking down the journey into a thousand pieces. Both subconsciously and consciously, people may feel stupefying anxiety at visualizing an entire project—much in the same way the crew of the Millennium Falcon felt when they saw the Death Star in its entirety.
The whole may be too much to contend with, so the easiest way to overcome a tendency to put things off is to break a project or task into smaller pieces. Call them bite-size chunks.
Not only is the resulting amount of work more manageable, it doesn’t loom as overwhelming. Besides, once you complete the smaller pieces of the task, you can relish the feeling of accomplishment. This helps reinforce your determination to tackle other things on your list.
In other words, when it comes to procrastinations, seeing the trees and not the forest might be the best way to go on that journey of a thousand miles…or inside the Death Star’s trash compactor, when things don’t go well.
Procrastination Is a Ritual That Can Be Destroyed By Rituals
Perhaps you should worship St. Expeditus, the patron saint of procrastinators. Expeditus was not the founder of Expedia Travel, but a Roman in the 3rd century who decided to convert to Christianity. Allegedly, the Devil appeared to Expeditus and urged him to wait until the next day to switch dogmas. Expeditus refused and faced his task that day. These days, one might see icons of St. Expeditus turned upside down like an hourglass.
Okay, St. Expeditus might not solve procrastination, but he might, when he’s seen as a representation of something greater.
Find rituals that work for you or at the very least entertain you. All that matters is that you believe these rituals. The examples are legion from notable figures—like poet Edith Sitwell lying in an open coffin before writing because she believed it increased her focus; or Charles Dickens placing ornaments on his desk in a specific order to help him concentrate on the task at hand.
If you’re just too secular-minded, there are more practical (albeit) extreme rituals you can incorporate into your existence. Here are some illustrations from famous individuals:
– French novelist Victor Hugo wrote both Les Misérablesand The Hunchback Of Notre-Damein his birthday suit. Being butt-naked meant he wouldn’t be able to leave his house. As an extra precaution, he also instructed his servant to hide his clothes. – Greek orator Demosthenes would shave half of his hair off, making him look ridiculous, but it forced to stay home and focus solely on his projects. – Herman Melville reportedly had his wife chain him to his desk while he struggled to finish Moby-Dick.
If you’d rather embrace more gentle and superstitious rituals, understand that some have compared rituals to mind algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result, and these can scientifically fight back impulsiveness, anxiety and other negative symptoms of procrastination.
These solutions are not necessarily meant to be employed collectively. Yet if you draw from this pool of procrastination-killers with healthy doses of self-knowledge, you will find some silver bullets to finishing projects.
It’s your onion and your Death Star. As a last piece of advice before you shave your hair and strip naked in the middle of the office, I recommend Steven Pressfield’s book, The Art of War. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book:
“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
The problem is that tomorrow always seems to come, doesn’t it?
As a bonus, enjoy this time-management infographic:
It is said youth is wasted on the young. According to a new qSample study, could it also mean that optimism is wasted on the young?
The answer is probably no, for college students have a focused, sober eye on economic issues and their incoming position in the workplace. Regardless of relatively uncertain economic and political times—that include student debt and soaring tuition—University students are mostly hopeful for their financial future.
The study was conducted using qSample’s college student sample, surveying more than 200 respondents on a range of social and economic topics. We surveyed respondents from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses.
College Student Views on Careers and the Economy
When asked about the future of the economy, 34% of college students held a positive view. Twenty-eight percent expressed a negative view, with 27% stating they were undecided. When asked how they would fare economically in comparison to their parents, 35% of respondents felt they would do better—with 29% feeling they would do worse and 12% not sure.
When asked about the most important issues of their times, here is how they responded:
College students also view the economy as the key issue when it comes to the upcoming presidential election:
1. The economy – 43% 2. Racial/equality issues – 26% 3. National security – 13% 4. Abortion/reproductive rights – 8%
College Student and Debt
One might think that college debt would be more at the forefront of the minds of college students. After all, the study revealed that a majority (25%) would owe between $50,001 and $75,000 once they graduated. Eighteen percent say they will owe less than $25,000 after graduating while 24% claimed they would owe no debt. Ten percent of college students stated they would owe more than $100,000 after graduation.
In a past qSample study, more than 30% of college students anticipated their loans to be paid off in 5-10 years, while 27% were unsure. Sixty-seven percent considered their amount of debt manageable, with the remaining students worried that their debt would become unmanageable amount.
In fact, 31% of participants indicated they worry “all the time” about the amount of debt are incurring while pursuing a higher education. Forty-eight percent of the college students worry “sometimes” and 21% “never” worry about their ability to repay their student loans.
One could surmise that college students are fixated on making enough money to show their debt was an investment. After all, it’s all business after graduation, according to the qSample findings. An overwhelming 71% of college students said their priority after graduation is finding work. Activism, relationship, traveling and other post-university goals all registered below ten percent in interest.
College Students and Social Issues
It’s not all Yuppiedom for college students. These are the rankings on how they would like to be viewed once leaving higher education:
1. A good moral/ethical person – 37% 2. Ability to make money – 29% 3. An activist for social change – 13% 4. A good spouse – 6% 5. A social person with close friends – 5% 6. A good father/mother – 3%
But who do college students look up to as they migrate into the workforce? When it comes to public figures, President Obama comes in first (35%) and Pope Francis in second (17%). All other public figures or celebrities scored less than ten percent, with the exception of Steve Jobs at 11% (who is no longer alive).
As for social media, the below graphic reveals college student attitudes towards social media in relation to society:
With a mind on money and a positive heart, the research should give hope to the country’s future. Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they begin to dominate the workforce. Thus, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with the student debt and not enough salary growth.
Content marketing has become increasingly attractive to many businesses and brands seeking to expand their web presence. But what is content marketing and how does it work—beyond being a sleek buzzword in cyberspace? Can it work for those in the earthly construction industry?
In essence, content marketing is any marketing involving the creation and sharing of media content to help and inform customers—ultimately with the goal of acquiring and retaining them. It takes a variety of forms including news, videos, white papers, ebooks, infographics, how-to guides, and blog posts.
Content marketing is viewed as solely functioning on the internet, but that’s not necessarily the case. One of the primal forms of content marketing would be the famed Michelin Guide, published over a century ago.
And yes, content marketing can be beneficial to those in the construction industry seeking to expand their online branding and generate traffic.
One of the main reasons content marketing is beneficial is because it’s currently seen as an essential aspect of any internet marketing and its continual paradigm changes. After all, it was marketing guru, Seth Godin, who said, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
Those are bold words, but these are bold online times. As examples, 88 percent of B2B marketers in North America already use some form of content marketing, while 76 percent of overall marketers are increasing investment in content marketing in 2016. All trends point to the financial rewards of content marketing.
Centering on the construction industry, a prime example of content marketing success can be found in a case study by Delta Marketing Group involving commercial contractor company, North Country Mechanical Insulators (NCMI). By using a sound inbound marketing strategy, NCMI increased its organic web traffic by an astounding 200 percent, as well as rank in the first page of Google under its preferred keyword (“mechanical insulation”). NCMI achieved this by optimizing its pages for local keyword search, rebranding its online persona via content as an “energy advocate,” and escalating its social media presence, among other strategies.
Adding to this, our research reveals that only 26 percent of general contractors utilize any form of online marketing. In other words, the internet is wide open to fill with traffic-generating content.
Content marketing is the future now, and construction companies should further pay heed for these three reasons:
1. CHANGING CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY
It’s no secret that everyone is flooded with more information than ever before. The average American is bombarded with five times more information than he or she saw 15 years ago. It is more of a secret, though, that consumers have become anesthetized to unwanted information. Furthermore, mobile technology has shrunk the space to advertise in and Ad block technology has made it easier to expel intrusive advertising from screens.
Look at it this way: Once banner ads were ubiquitous across the internet, and the investment paid off for many companies. That’s no longer the case. According to recent data from marketing company HubSpot, the average click-through rate of display ads is merely 0.1 percent.
Content marketing is the answer to this, bringing the buyer down the sales funnel by adding value, education, and entertainment in their purchasing journey.
2. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Just as consumers have become more nimble at avoiding traditional marketing, they have also become more cynical as they navigate a vast field of brands wanting their attention on the internet. It’s just not enough for companies to explain how great they are—they have to show them.
This is where thought leadership comes in. Company heads can highlight their knowledge and expertise via articles, videos, infographics, and other elements of content marketing. This not only improves a brand, but it also assists and educates consumers—ultimately making them more grateful, trusting, and potentially closer to the contact form when it comes time to make a buying decision.
Search Engine Optimization remains key in any form of internet marketing. A good construction company craves the highest possible ranking on Google and other search engine providers (and the case study mentioned above made it a reality with NCMI). One way to rank is to spend inordinate amounts of money to remain on the first page of a search engine. The other is to utilize content marketing.
Content marketing is, at its core, about creating relevant content. The more valuable content created with relevant keywords, the higher the chance a website has of being indexed by search engines. Furthermore, more videos created can be noticed on YouTube, more infographics drawn can be shared on Social Media, and more guides published can be downloaded from a site into the hard drive of potential customers.
BEYOND THE CONTENT
Beyond the mentioned, content marketing is useful for branding, public relations, and even networking. This type of marketing is traditionally more cost-effective than other internet marketing, although distribution depends on a company’s needs (AdWords, Social Media displays, etc.). A construction company does not need an agency to successfully content market—simply a dedicated staff and owner that want to share their insights and passion with the industry.
At the end of the day, content marketing benefits consumer needs and forges a bond between brand and customer. That’s never a bad form of marketing …
Millennials and Boomers. Two demographics separated by an ocean of time and the icebergs of Generation X. No way in this or any galaxy far away they could be similar.
Think again. Beyond the reality that both groups have a population nearing 77 million, they are oddly very similar. In fact, think hard again since Millennials and Boomers are two powerful consumer groups (as will be shown) whom deciphering could be a millennium boom for marketers.
As a company that manages both Millennial and Boomer panels for online research, we’ve noticed their similarities, and we are not alone.
Social Media and Technology
For starters, it’s no secret that Millennials are the sultans of social media. Yet qSample’s primary research reveals that Boomers are becoming extremely passionate about their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. They may not dig Snapchat like Millennials, but more than 27 million Boomers possess a social media account (and other data claims that 65% of Boomers have a Facebook account). When it comes to smartphones, Millennials win this game, as approximately 85% own a mobile device (only 47% of Baby Boomers own a smartphone, but they’re catching up).
Someone who has extensively analyzed both Millennials and Boomers is Sara Bamossy, a strategic planning director for Saatchi & Saatchi LA. She explains, “Both generations value technology. Sure there’s been a delay in Boomers adapting, but they are.”
The difference, according to Bamossy, is that Boomers are more careful and less organic when it comes to technology, but in the end just as embracing.
Social Issues and Transformation
Where Millennials and Boomers truly connect is in their altruism. Yes, both generations are lambasted for being egotistical, hence the titles of the “Me” and “Selfie” generations. That’s more of a myth, though. Our research has shown that Baby Boomers are extremely socially-conscious. As an illustration, 89% of Baby Boomers want to improve energy dependence while 84% feel it’s important to use green energy. As we’ve also reported, Millennials are just as socially-conscious, to the point it deeply influences their buying decisions.
Here is more information on Boomers and green technology:
– Both are deeply informed by the opinions of their family and friends (unlike Gen Xers, who just don’t care). – Both are loyal to the brands of their parents or family. – Both tend to be frugal, enjoying the thrill of bargain hunting and showrooming.
As for politics and civics, Millennials and Boomers are somewhat different (beyond the fact that one demographic looks like Bernie Sanders while the other supports him). This chart from the National Conference of Citizenship offers their differences when it comes to civic engagement:
Why The Similarities?
One could draw parallels of Millennials and Boomers from the societal events in their respective times:
– Both grew up in strong economic times (the 50s for Boomers, early 2000s for Millennials). – Both grew up during questionable wars and shadowy enemies (Vietnam War/Communism for Boomers, the Iraq War/Terrorism for Millennials). – Both face seemingly corrupt governments and financial institutions (too many to mention here). – Both, for some reason, possess nicknames that originate with the counterculture movement of underground Jazz and drugs, the beatnik worlds of Kerouac and Ginsberg (Hippy for Boomers and Hipster for Millennials). Yet both have a strong tendency to act more like Yuppies when it comes to careers.
These reasons are just speculation. In the end, this is subject for anthropologists and social scientists. When it comes to marketing research, what is most relevant is that both Millennials and Boomers are powerful consumer blocs. Boomers annually spend $3 trillion in the U.S. alone, while Millennials spend $600 million (but some estimates have them matching Boomers within the next decade). Both groups dominate 70% of disposable income.
Perhaps it would be wise for qualitative researchers to find out why Boomers and Millennials are similar in their spending habits. This would go a long way in streamlining marketing efforts, provide rich Venn Diagrams that could save budgets in advertising campaigns.
Hopefully, as the world caters to the dollars of Millennials and Boomers, someone will leave Gen Xers with some crumbs, like a few Nirvana albums or plaid shirts.
Perception is reality, but often both perception and reality are not based on fact. Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb and eight glasses of water a day are not necessary for good health. The Big Bang Theory is not funny.
This St. Patrick’s Day there will usher merriment, but also a plentitude of wrong facts. We’ll get to these commonly-believed myths quickly and briefly. We know your email or social media feed is being bombarded by an avalanche of St. Patrick articles from Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and that annoying cousin who has to share everything with you.
The truth might not be pretty, but as someone with Irish heritage, it’s never an excuse miss out on the day’s merriment (even if they’re fictional).
St. Patrick was Irish
He was actually born in either Wales or Scotland, in the 4th century, from a wealthy family who for some reason never invested in maps or GPS. In those days, the Romans occupied the British Isles. Therefore, St. Patrick was probably a Roman, although no records exist naming him a citizen of the empire. He wrote in Latin, according to the two surviving documents bearing his name, and signed his name Patricius.
Hey, when it Rome can mean have a green beer!
Green is the national color of Ireland
Traditionally, it’s blue, something like a sky blue. It seems green became culturally adopted in the 20th century mainly because of soccer. It’s a bit more complicated, and wearing blue on St. Patrick’s Day probably won’t save you from being pinched.
It’s Paddy and not Patty. Patty is short for “Patricia.” Paddy is short for the Irish male name deriving from the Latin Patricius, which is Patrick as we just saw. In any event, Paddy in many contexts is considered a racial slur. Only the Irish can use the “P” word freely.
Oh, and please no ordering Irish Car Bombs at bars this year, while we’re on the topic of political correctness.
St. Patrick was a Saint
I’m not saying I’ve got TMZ information on St. Patrick’s weekend adventures, but that he was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church. His title simply was woven by folklore. On the topic of folklore, legends state St. Patrick drove out the snakes from Ireland, but since the country still boasts politicians the story is likely a fable. In reality, there were never any snakes in Ireland to drive out in the first place.
St. Patrick’s Day started in Ireland
That’s like saying fajitas started in Mexico, even if they’re popular now in that country. The truth is that the holiday—as we know it—began late in the 18th century in Boston and New York when Irish immigrants marched against American racial prejudices against them. The event gradually evolved into the drunk fest we have today, and then made its way to Ireland.
Sure, March 17 has long been a day of devotion in Ireland, with pubs not even allowed to open. Only in the 1970s did the Irish start taking St. Patrick’s Day as a cultural celebration. And man, those pubs stayed open…
Most Irish are Catholic
Okay, they are, but the reality is that most Irish American are Protestant. The main reason, it appears, is that during colonial times Irish immigrants arrived from Protestant regions of Ireland like Ulster. My father, for example, was a proud Irishman who was raised Lutheran (and later became an atheist, probably to fully celebrate St. Patrick’s Day).
Keep in mind and other than that…
Just so you know, Leprechauns were originally lecherous, drunken elves rebranded by American marketing; and that the luck of the Irish makes no sense at all considering history’s ass kicking of the Irish. But it was Tennessee Williams who said, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” I’ll leave it at that.
It is sensible to assume that St. Patrick was indeed captured by Irish slaves as a child, spent seven years in brutal bondage (forced to listen to prehistoric U2, perhaps?), converted to Christianity, and then returned home only to go back to Ireland to become a bishop.
Between leprechauns and St. Patrick’s history, however, I think you can find the essence of what is an Irishman: life is fiction, history is harsh— so you might as well believe you’re lucky and make your personal history an enjoyable fiction, full of oppression and liberation. Or should I say Irishperson, as I rail against saying Paddy or ordering Irish Car Bombs?
I decided it might be interesting to analyze the tweets of the main political players in the run-up to Super Tuesday. The methodology was simple, follow their official twitter accounts and then analyze the tweets for emotional word content. 1029 tweets from official twitter accounts for Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were collected. The collection started on February 23rd and continued through to midnight February 29th, the day before Super Tuesday. A breakdown of the volume of tweets per politician is shown on the right.
Obviously, there were a huge amount of other tweets relating to the individual politicians but I wanted to see what their core message was in terms of the use of emotionally related words. It’s of note that Cruz , the youngest of all the candidates analyzed , sent out the most number of tweets, followed by Sanders. Cruz was also the only one to use no capital letters in his screen name “tedcruz”.
Words were categorized using 8 types of emotion, which could overlap. The types were fear, anger, sadness, disgust, anticipation, surprise, joy and trust. It’s an approach which treats text as a “bag of words”, no attempt is made to parse the text for grammatical constructions in this case.
As an example I searched for the word “food” in a collection of 1.5 million random tweets. The search revealed 7319 tweets with the word “food” in them, the analysis of these tweets for emotional content is shown below:
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This ring is like a pie chart, except its thickness is in proportion to the numbers of words which could be classed as emotional out of all the words in a tweet. The percentage in the center is the value for this, so 33% shows that 33% of words in the tweets with the word “food” in them could be put into one of our emotional types. This is a measure of how emotionally expressive the tweets were. The circle on the lower right shows the percentage of emotional words that are either classed as positive or negative within all the words classed as emotional. Blue means positive, red means negative. In way of contrast a search for the word “death” shows a very different result:
Click for full view
For our candidates, we see some subtle differences. Both Trump and Cruz share the same level of “positivity”, with a score of 59% but it would be useful to remember nothing is exact with any analysis of language.
Click for full view
Cruz uses fewer words that are classed as emotional words in total, yet with more tweets overall.
Turning to Clinton and Sanders we see this:
Click for full view
Here we see a different pattern. Levels of positivity are slightly above those of Cruz and Trump at 64% for both candidates with Clinton using less emotional words overall in a similar way to Cruz.
The top three emotional categories for Clinton and Sanders are trust, anticipation and joy. For Cruz the top two are trust and anticipation. In contrast, Trumps’ top two categories are trust and joy. Trump and Cruz also differ in the third highest. For Trump, his third category is sadness, for Cruz fear.
Bag of words approaches to text analysis are well established in the realm of content analysis of huge text collections. It’s interesting to see that they might have some application to smaller problems. The key point to remember is that this is one way of looking at text, there are many more. None of them can be said to be correct, it all depends how useful the results are.
Andrew Jeavons is Founder and CEO of Mass Cognition – a company that specializes in helping clients understand the deeper meanings in text and social media data. He was previously the CEO of Survey Analytics, a major survey software vendor serving Fortune 500 customers and the international community. He was one of the founders of e-tabs and has a (too) long history in the market research technology industry. He is a well-known award winning speaker and blogger.
In these divided days of political campaigns and social upheaval, one event that always brings the country together is the Super Bowl. It’s a marketing and celebration bonanza surrounding the two best teams in the National Football League, this year being the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. More than a cultural phenomenon, the Super Bowl is a chief bellwether of American consumerism.
Moreover, the Super Bowl seems to be an increasingly family affair unaffected by past NFL scandals. These are just two of the findings from a joint study by qSample and QuestionPro, surveying more than 300 panelists from a general population sample. Nine-nine percent of respondents claimed they would watch Super Bowl 50, another exclamation point to the popularity of this quasi-holiday.
Nevertheless, the Super Bowl is famed for being an extravaganza stew of sports, entertainment and advertising. Why are people tuning in primarily on Super Bowl Sunday, then? It appears the game itself still dominates the country’s attention span, according to the data:
1. The game (39%) 2. To enjoy a social event (22%) 3. The commercials (7%) 4. The half time show (1%)
It should be mentioned that 33% of respondents claimed they were participating in the Super Bowl for all the reasons mentioned above. Only 18% of these said they were avid football fans who typically bought NFL merchandise. A majority (48%) stated they were casual fans, with 28% being avid fans that rarely bought merchandise.
As far as interest levels, one ought to wonder if the halftime show might garner more significance if an American or more blue-collared act than Coldplay was performing. As far as commercials, the low percentage may not bode well with advertisers spending a record $377 million for Super Bowl 50.
Will bars and restaurants fare better, even if the winter weather is more clement on Super Bowl Sunday? According to the study, ranking on location preference of the game, not likely:
1. Athome (78%) 2. A party (12%) 3. At a bar/restaurant (6%)
As with other extroverted, national celebrations like New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, it seems Super Bowl is becoming more of a home festivity instead of a going-out occasion.
Supporting this, most respondents said they will spend the night with family members (53%), followed by friends (32%). Eight percent will watch the Super Bowl alone (and unfortunately Coldplay as well). A vast majority (91%) will watch the game on television.
With the Super Bowl becoming a family event, does this mean that this year it might lose viewers due to the recent NFL controversies like Deflategate and the Ray Rice video? That doesn’t seem to be the case, according to the study, when ranking respondents’ view of the NFL as a brand, as shown in this graph:
Along with bars/restaurants and passionate interest in commercials, social media is not a main player during the plays of Cam Newton and Payton Manning. The exception is Facebook. With 47% of respondents claiming they will be active on social media during the Super Bowl, 41% of those will be on Facebook. All other social media channels receive less than ten percent. This percentage includes Twitter, once the primary social media channel for real-time cultural events, revealing the deepening trouble with the company.
Of course, these findings do not mean social media is irrelevant during the Super Bowl. Last year, Facebook saw 265 million posts, likes and comments during the game, the most measured for any Super Bowl. At the same time, Twitter generated over 28 million global tweets, making it the most tweeted Super Bowl ever. What it does mean is that engagement on social media is potentially not as high as brands would desire.
Speaking of engagement, there are social critics who propose that the Monday following any Super Bowl should be a national holiday. The argument has merit. The study found that 26% of respondents will not go to work after the game. Furthermore, it’s estimated that last year 1.5 million people missed work the day after Super Bowl (at a loss of roughly 12 million hours of productivity for that Monday), while 4.4 million workers showed up late to their jobs.
What about the game itself? Is there a favorite team to win the Super Bowl, according to the study? Indeed there is, with respondents giving the edge to the Broncos over the Panthers (45% to 41%).
But as they say: that’s why they play the game and on any given Sunday. On Super Bowl Sunday it will be clear who wins, not just the team, but also consumers, marketers, work bosses and perhaps even Coldplay.
In a fast-moving online culture, it seems like we’re always catching up to the next tech advance…or at least waiting eagerly for the next smartphone upgrade. In reality, though, technological innovations are a logical and natural continuum—sometimes long in the making and slow in the perfecting.
This progress could be the case for market research in 2016. Several technologies might finally bear fruit, though, instead of remaining as forbidden fruit no one can touch.
The issue is whether researchers notice instead of lingering in the already-halcyon days of phone polls and paper surveys.
Nobody knows that answer except 2017. In the meantime, here are some of the technologies that could potentially influence market researchers in 2016 (and this list is a suitable companion to our recent Market Research Trends To Follow In 2016 Or Die).
Eye-tracking technology: It’s doubtful this will make you a Blade Runner running around with the Voight-Kampff test, gleefully exposing Replicants trying to migrate to Earth. Yet this technology will get you much closer to deciphering participants’ intimate motivations in qualitative projects.
Eye-tracking technology is not only becoming accurate but also cost-effective, not something only the Tyrell Corporation can afford. As we reported:
The idea of eye-tracking technology on smartphone screens and other mobile technology was once deemed too pricey. This is no longer the case, with companies already offering eye-tracking technology for home devices at under $100. Samsung, as an example in the marketplace, has incorporated eye-tracking technology for a variety of its mobile products.
Automation: The word “automation” probably unnerves many researchers. It does evoke a notion of losing control, and that traditionally translates into wayward data. Yet companies with automating capabilities in their survey software—such as our sister company QuestionPro—can assist gaining insightful snapshots of consumers, as well as quick and often real-time feedback from respondents.
By no means does automation replace a robust research project or nurtured sample. Nevertheless, automation is beneficial for companies seeking “to find efficiencies similar to those enjoyed by media planners and campaign analysts.”
Don’t get left behind like the career of Nicholas Cage after he did Left Behind.
Big Data: Sorry, but nothing to here see here, kids. Wait until 2017. Please let me repeat the quote from our executive that exemplifies what Big Data truly is:
It’s like teen sex. Everyone talks about it, everyone wants to do it, everyone thinks they know it, but no one is doing it.
If that’s not enough, here is telling research from Adobe explaining that “companies that embrace creative marketing are 3.5 times more likely to see their annual sales revenue grow by 10 percent or more compared with companies that exclusively rely on big data.”
Stay human, my friend.
Social Media Research: Social Media has been around almost as long as Big Data, but at least the former may potentially be harnessed in 2016 by market research. Sure, the age of organic social media is gone; yet that just means that companies like Facebook can corral their demographics in far more tidy ways. It’s a matter of market research listening better and leveraging automation in the right way for real-time data mining (and again, not replacing traditional research projects but complementing them).
From Fan Pages to Brand Communities, it’s time for brands to go further and use social influence to create real conversations between brands and ambassadors. Co-creation at the center of social interaction. Social Media at the center of market research. Moving from ethnography to netnography, every aspect of a brand will be observed and determined by monitoring human behavior on social media.
Honorable mentions: Virtual Reality, wearables, and the Internet of Things. These three technologies will likely boom in the next year and beyond—or at the very least blossom—and already they have become vehicles for a sensible amount of market research.
In the meantime, don’t pass up the mentioned technologies in 2016. If not, even the Tyrell Corporation will not be able to save your data slipping away like a Replicant after a badly-conducted Voight-Kampff test.
qSample recently had the pleasure of directly interacting with Google. The encounter revealed important shifts in Google+ and much of Google’s business-ranking on search engines.
Marketing Director Miguel Conner and Business Development Executive Maryana Stepanova attended an exclusive Google Partners Digital Breakfast. It was held at 150 N. Michigan (downtown Chicago).
The event was hosted by Tom Casale and Gary Sigman of Simplified Solutions (an online marketing firm as well as Google Partner).
The keynote of the Digital Breakfast was listening to the insights of Justin Perron, Google AdWords Certified Agency Development Manager. There were also fresh bagels and excellent coffee—as well as the theme of how crucial it is to advertise with Google. That’s not surprising, except for those who forget that Google is not about information but advertising (which is around 80% of its revenue).
However, some intriguing information was revealed during the Digital Breakfast concerning the recent evolution of Google+.
In essence, Google+ is moving away from being a social media channel. It is morphing into a blend of Google Places and Google My Business—perhaps aiming to be a mammoth Yelp-type entity. That is perhaps more sensible than trying to compete directly with Facebook. Even Facebook is attempting to recreate part of itself as Yelp.
The central takeaway is to ensure your business already belongs to Google My Business (and leverages an operational Google+ business page from it). That is an immediate search engine advantage.
In addition, Simplified Solutions and Perron offered these suggestions for a Google+ page and online branding in general:
– Post as many pictures as possible on your Google+ page (visual is the trend, after all). Oh, and make sure to Geo Tag any pictures uploaded, for that is what search engines are hunting for. – Create plenty of relevant content in available media channels. – Update both your Google My Business and Google+ pages frequently, at least every three months. – Don’t try to be global, as local is where Google is putting much of its SEO energy (in other words, give Google a physical address when it asks for one in any part of its channels). – Keep in mind that consumers are now more convenience-loyal than brand-loyal. Making it easy for consumers to find and buy your product is imperative.
As mentioned and beyond this, the dominant advice was to utilize both Simplified Solutions and Google AdWords. In the meantime, while the first quarter comes in 2016, these pointers should assist those wondering what to do with their Google+ page and those who haven’t subscribed to Google My Business—in market research and beyond.
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