Growth Newsletter #074
Welcome to the 582 new marketers and founders who joined last week!
This week we're covering content strategy, a B2C ad tactic, and experiment prioritization.
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This week's Insights
When running experiments, should you go higher or lower in the funnel?
Insight from Demand Curve.
Prioritization is a critical step in the experimentation process.
You can’t test everything. Testing takes time and resources, which are always in short supply.
One piece of criteria we always recommend factoring into prioritization: impact. How much could test findings move the needle on your north star metric—the metric you care most about?
When making that call, it’ll help to think about a test’s funnel stage.
Bottom of funnel
Bottom-of-funnel events—those nearer to the point of purchase, like the checkout process—are almost certainly closer to your north star, so they have a high likelihood of driving impact.
An extreme example: A test that removes the “buy” button from your checkout page will have a drastic effect on revenue (just not the kind you want!).
Prospects at that stage have high buying intent. They’re ready, or nearly ready, to buy.
However, some changes to bottom-of-funnel events might not be as effective because prospects have already made their decisions.
Top of funnel
Top-of-funnel events, like those in the awareness and consideration stages (e.g., landing pages and ads), can sway decision making. And prospects’ emotional investment may be higher at earlier funnel stages, when they’re discovering how your product will help them.
Plus, top-of-funnel experiments are often easier to test and alter, both because sample sizes are bigger (top of funnel gets more traffic) and because the changes themselves are frequently lower effort.
But they’re farther from conversion, they have lower intent, and they run a greater risk of being vanity tests: tests that move the needle on some metrics but not your north star.
Our recommendation: When your experimentation program is new and you’re gaining an understanding of which tests will have the most impact, all else being equal, go lower in your funnel to remove the distance from your north star.
Make your content different—not just better
Insight from Animalz.
Content marketing used to be pretty simple.
Finding an article that answered your specific question in a Google search was rare. Articles that got it right earned most of the traffic.
Then SEO shifted to aggregation: articles that consolidated information into one place ranked higher than fragments. This led to the “skyscraper model”—massive, exhaustive guides on subjects.
Now, search results pages are dominated by established brands with loads of authority and backlinks. Most search results contain the same information: copycat content. The problem is, once a reader has read one article, they’ve effectively read them all.
To address this problem, in April 2020, Google filed a patent that, in short, should reward articles that bring new information to the table.
They call this idea information gain. It’s a measurement of the new information provided by a given article, above and beyond the info provided in other articles on the same topic.
So instead of studying search engine results pages to outline articles, content marketers should be asking themselves, “What new information can I bring to the discussion?”
Three ways to factor this question into your content:
1. Create content that builds on other results
Instead of trying to outrank a top-ranking, comprehensive article, assume that the reader has already read it. How can you add value beyond what they’ve already read?
- Share a practical “next step”—a continuation of a competing article.
- Elaborate on a key idea contained within the competing article.
- Write the 102 version of their 101, going into more depth, detail, and nuance.
2. Experiment with risky framings and angles
You’ll likely be rewarded for bringing new and unique information to the table. Consider:
- Addressing unserved intent (“My specific use case isn’t represented here.”)
- Filling in missing information (“It’s weird that no one has mentioned X here.”)
- Challenging a differing or erroneous opinion (“That’s an outdated belief.”)
- Correcting mistakes in Google’s comprehension (“That’s not what I meant by this keyword.”)
3. Build an information moat with original research
Create content that can’t be found elsewhere.
- Include personal perspectives and company experiences.
- Survey your customers, users, or network for interesting data.
- Add quotes from subject matter experts.
Your content still needs to be better. But with the direction Google seems to be heading in, it’s smart to make it different as well.
Show a hand touching your product to increase its perceived value
Insight from Ariyh.
An effective way to improve B2C ad performance?
Show people using your product.
When we see others using a product, we can’t help but experience it vicariously. This effect improves how we value the product.
Based on the research, this increases how much people:
- Like the product
- Are likely to buy it
- Are willing to pay for it
For example, the study found that people who saw a gif of a hand touching a sweater:
- Liked it 9.4% more
- Were 16% more likely to buy it
- And were willing to pay 14% more for it
Brands like Starbucks and Samsung reported more likes on social posts when a hand was touching their products.
In order for the effect to work, the hand:
- Must be seen from a first-person point of view, as if it’s the person’s own hand
- Must touch the product in a relevant way (e.g., feeling a shirt’s fabric, mixing or pouring a drink)
- Doesn’t need to match the viewer’s hand—it can be any skin tone or gender, or even a digital recreation (like an alien’s “hand” in a game)
Steps to implement:
- Include a first-person-POV hand in your image and video creatives. Make sure it’s touching your product in a meaningful way (such as using or feeling it).
- Use those creatives in your ads, on product pages, and in social media posts—in any of your marketing assets.
- Implement this tactic if you’re in the VR or metaverse space.
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See you next week.
— Neal & Justin, and the DC team.