Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-27 | 209 views
Veteran brands managers will remember this famous fight a few years back...
Tiny panda-faced brand World Wildlife Foundation took on the (then) giants of the World Wrestling Federation and smacked a chair square over their heads - sending the musclebound massifs back to the dressing room with a bruised brand, and an urgent need to create a new storyline.
Well, the results are now in. And while the panda won the battle, long-term, the folks over at WWE.com won the war. A Heardable Scan shows the WWE's site scoring 370 versus just 209 for the WWF.org (the score drops to 82 for the .com extension.)
Worse for the World Wildlife folks, search for "WWF" on Google and you'll still find WWE results dominating the top ten - and paid results.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-27 | 195 views
What's in a name? Heardable has the answer: The best individual web-based brand out there is Michael Jackson.
The site MichaelJackson.com scores very well on each of the six Heardable sub-scoring tests, gaining an impressive 581 out of a possible 1,000 points. It was a long way down from there - the next best A-List celebrity site Heardable scores were BritneySpears.com with 487 and Oprah.com at 401 points.
Most of the other sites we tested were well out of Heardable 100 territory, including DavidHasselhoff.com (391), TigerWoods.com (389), MarthaStewart.com (373), ParisHilton.com (324), BarackObama.com (316) and JK Rowling (at 310, slightly better than StephenKing.com with just 303 points and AnneRice.com with 302). William Shatner placed somewhat disapointingly lower at (281) - and no magic was found at Criss Angel's site, which only levitated the Heardable needle to 228.
But these guys weren't the worst performers. Poor performers include David Beckham's site. Barbra Streisand needs to ask her web developer team to make a comeback - at just 84, this diva's personal web site doesn't exactly reflect her standing, or her well-known perfectionism. And Arnold Schwarzenegger has more problems than just California's economy - his personal site scored a low 82 out of 1,000.
The lowest Heardable score? LindaBlair.com - a scary 78 out of 1,000. Time to exorcise your web guy, Linda!
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-24 | 167 views
We just started spreading the word. Technorati was the first stop!
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-24 | 173 views
You can't get a high Heardable Score without support for mobile platforms - end of story.
You may make it onto the Heardable 100 by doing everything else right - as four sites have done - but let's face it, with almost a billion users now accessing the Internet via mobile devices (including a massive number of teenagers, if my 18 year old daughter is any guide) do you really deserve to be in the Heardable 100 if you're not supporting the mobile user?
For example: I just accessed DIY Network from my iPhone (Heardable Score: 523). The site renders in tiny font too small to be viewable - unless I start zooming in, at which point I lose the page perspective, the advertising, and my ability to navigate. Why would an otherwise great site not redirect iPhone users? Are there no iPhone users among web developers and brand managers at DIY Network?
Sure, many mobile versions of sites other than news sites are not yet fabulously intuitive - but presenting a link-laden web page on a mobile device is even worse than the rawest attempt at serving my up info as readable links on my phone.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-22 | 169 views
Good news - we're pushing out the new code this week to "The 300".
If you have any friends/brand managers you'd like to bring into the Heardable private beta, please send them to the home page at heardable.com and we'll send them some credentials when we upload the new code.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-22 | 155 views
Want to see a well-contructed site that obeys all Heardable rules?
perezhilton.com is again top of the Heardable 100 this week.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-19 | 150 views
I just had a frustrating experience at Barnes and Noble. I picked up a book on Eyetracking Analytics (the science of analyzing how consumers view web pages) and was presented with two hundred pages filled with what *not* to do, but very few examples of the right way to do it. How pointless.
I prefer reading things that offer the fruits of experience in a form that enables adoption by others. If the excerpt offered up on his site is any guide, I suspect that the new book by Richard Stokes of Chigaco-based Ad GooRoo ("The Ultimate Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising") is a winner.
Here's the eight things he suggests web marketers need to consider when designing (the book goes into detail on each of these bullets and contains some excellent examples:
1. Single Conversion Goal
o Does every page in your sales funnel have a primary call-to-action?
o Can the purpose of the page be understood by a typical visitor in less than five seconds?
o Is the intended goal of the page clearly spelled out in a headline?
o Is the purpose of the page clearly visible “above the fold”?
o Do the shapes and colors of the page clearly lead the eye to the desired call-to-action?
o Are you using no more than two columns in your page layout?
o Are you asking for data the visitor may not want to give?
o Are you offsetting the user’s anxiety with a payoff?
o Can you use testimonials?
o Can you use third-party trust seals to improve credibility?
o Is the page copy of the appropriate length?
o Are there ten or fewer form fields on the page?
o Are there too many elements on the page?
o Are there too many links or navigation elements?
o Is there sufficient white space on the page?
o Are you using a font appropriate for your visitors?
o Are form fields aligned with one another?
o Are links and buttons used appropriately?
o Are you asking for unnecessary information?
o Do the labels on form fields clearly convey what is required of the visitor?
o Are you limiting the use of Flash or other third-party technologies?
o Can you use AJAX to eliminate unnecessary page reloads?
o Does the page look similar to the ones immediately before and after it?
o Is the page hosted on a third-party domain?
7. Load Time
o Does the page load in under five seconds in both Internet Explorer and Firefox?
o Is the page size under 150k?
o Can you use incentives to boost response rates?
o Is your incentive something that would be useful to your ideal customer?
I only disagree with two of these excellent points.
Re 6a, I think that sometimes landing pages need to look quite different from the rest of the site (directory sites such as Everyblock.com provide one example; home pages for telecoms and cable companies serving both consumer and business customers provide another).
Re 7b, *most* of my favorite sites - and most-frequented social portals - are not under 150k. It hasn't stopped me going there.
As for the rest, the bullets Stokes lists in items one to five provide a great starting point for optimizing your conversion rate. And unlike many books in the market place, including the one that I refer to above, Stokes includes positive examples of the science in action.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-18 | 129 views
A couple of days ago, I blogged about the correlation between market leadership and Heardable Score. Here's a concrete example: Toyota.
Toyota recently overtook GM as the leading car manufacturer. And while it's not without its troubles (pick up the latest issue of the Economist for more on that story), there is no doubt that its brand managers have performed exceptionally over the past two decades.
When you run a Heardable comparison scan of ten leading automotive brands, as I did, you get the following results:
419 : Toyota
369 : Porsche
306 : VW
271 : BMW
268 : Audi
268 : GM
260 : Ford
255 : Renault
189 : Hyundai
155 : Nissan
It's no surprise that perennial brand management experts VW came in near the top of the list. But what was a surprising result for me was Hyundai's score. They are doing a terrific job in coming up with innovative warranty and service plans - why are they doing such a seemingly lousy job of marketing via the web?
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-17 | 142 views
Since the launch of our private beta a few weeks ago, more than 300 beta testers have signed up. Thank you!
Now, we're getting ready for phase two. No, we're not opening the doors to the public just yet - that's phase three. This next phase involves fixing some of the things you noticed in the first phase, and road-testing them ahead of the public beta.
Which is why on December 22nd, we are going to be pushing out the latest version of the code - with a bunch of fixes and improvements, many of which were suggested by you (I think Michiel de Bruijn wins for the most suggestions implemented this round - many thanks to Michiel for his exhaustive review).
Some of the new features you will see this round include dynamic Heardable Brand Profiles for the leading online brands, along with their Heardable Score, data from some of the online analytics firms, a breakdown of how well each brand is doing in each Heardable category, and visualizations of how well they're tracking over time. We're also unveiling improved versions of the Heardable 100 and our five-domain Brand Comparison Scan.
I'm particularly excited by the improvements we're making in the Heardable engine. Since we launched, we've been making steady gains on speed, and the base scan, which used to take around twelve seconds on average now takes a third of that. Out target is three seconds - and our goal is to get there prior to public beta launch in January.
So once again, our thanks to "The 300" - please keep that feedback coming. It is much appreciated.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-16 | 130 views
One of the things that is coming out of the Heardable beta right now is the strong correlation between Heardable Score and market leadership.
We didn't design it that way, but in test after test (and users have run upwards of three thousand comparison tests since we launched), the market leader does a better job of online brand optimization (OBO).
Hertz.com beats Avis.com, Amazon.com beats BN.com, and Southwest.com (the most solidly profitable of the airlines) beats all comers. In the vast majority of tests we ran, the leader's Heardable Score beat out the challenger brand's Heardable Score.
But few brands are as dominant as P&G-owned, power-brand Gillette. Forget category, with a 70% market share, Gillette is one of the top brands in the world - period. Which means it's hardly surprising that Gillette scores a 578 on the Heardable index - a score that places it well within the Heardable 100.
So will Gillette survive the recent meltdown of the Tiger brand? You bet it will - the ROI from their Twilight tie-in alone will eclipse any minor downturn (what a smart, smart piece of product placement), and may even prove to be a better starting point for acquisition than the Woods-Jeter-Fereder pitch.
This is one well-managed brand.
Published by John Sharp on 2009-12-15 | 119 views
I don't know anything that turns off an experienced CEO faster than black magic.
Let's face it, most of the SEO (search engine optimization) work being done out there is about as "black magic" as it gets. As marketing budgets go, from the CEO perspective, SEO mostly boils down to "trust me on this". You authorize fifty, a hundred thousand dollars, then sit back and wait a month, maybe three months, maybe six - and maybe, just maybe, your web site will start showing some signs of life. And maybe not. Maybe Google "hasn't done its deep crawl yet" or one of a thousand other excuses.
Frustrated? I was too. That's why I co-founded Heardable. Heardable is designed to provide immediate, measurable feedback on how effective your site will be at optimizing your brand, online. It provides CEOs with a "starting score" and an "ending score" and the ability to easily measure the effectivenes of online marketing strategies in real-time.
We're calling this new, post-SEO approach "OBO", for "Online Brand Optimization". And we've set ourselves a few important goals:
As far as point one goes, we're going to utilize some SEO techniques that we think are valuable. But we're going to divide this and other technologies into seven areas:
In short, the difference between OBO (online brand optimization) and SEO (search engine optimization) is simple - we're about transparency and depth. We're about looking in more places, and providing feedback across multiple areas of investment.
Welcome to Heardable - the originators of OBO.