It was an honor to have my work so far with Spot Trender documented on Vietnam’s national TV! I managed to do the entire interview in Vietnamese (with English subtitle) 😁
Can Netflix make a better political ad than career politicians? That’s the question the team at market research firm Spot Trender recently tackled as part of their ongoing efforts to deliver practical insights to help ensure advertisers don’t waste valuable time and money. In their recent polling, the company tested Hollywood political heavyweight Frank Underwood, against real-world players Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Spot Trender, an industry leader in ad testing technology, tested Death Wish spot against a typical Starbucks at Home commercial, to provide perspective. They published their results here.
While Starbucks took a more gender-neutral approach to their advertising, it was as effective as the Death Wish ad in causing viewers to consider and recommend the product. Women were much more likely to purchase Starbucks coffee after seeing their ad.
Click here to see full article.
According to commercial analytics firm Spot Trender’s national representative poll of Super Bowl ads, 64 percent of people said that they enjoyed the ad, and 87 percent said they would remember it. More than half said they were likely to buy the product.
Click here to see full article.
“Content is king!” – Bill Gates
Many factors impact your commercial’s persuasion: visual, music, actors, content, and more. With the rise of auto-mute videos on major social media channels such as Facebook, copy points (what’s being said) became more important than ever when considering your omni-channel strategies.
In addition to high quality quantitative and qualitative data, Spot Trender provides live second-by-second reaction graphs. Knowing how your target audience feels about your spot every second gives you the unprecedented power and control to create the most persuasive commercial:
“Spot Trender’s reaction graphs provide a great story telling tool when we work with clients to help optimize their spots. We correlated reaction graph peaks and troughs to copy points, and identified which copy points were most persuasive. This visual tool let us focus on how to emphasize the positive points, as well as cutting out the less effective parts of the ad”.
–Jack MacKenzie, Senior Advisor at Oxford Road – a data-driven advertising agency serving top Silicon Valley technology companies.
About Spot Trender:
Spot Trender is an advertising technology platform that helps brands and agencies predict the impact and persuasiveness of their TV, online, and radio advertisements from creative concepts to post production. Spot Trender’s cloud-based testing platform has developed an impressive record as the world’s fastest qualitative and quantitative ad testing solution with the largest worldwide audience reach, accurately predicting ads’ success in as little as three hours, compared with the three-week industry standard.
Article I wrote for Spot Trender. Originally seen here.
Recent YouGov viral poll managed to get 20% of Trump supporters to say they’re against the Emancipation Proclamation, which was Abraham Lincoln’s executive to free all slaves in Confederate states. Major news outlets have used this poll in their stories; for instance, The New York Times stated:
Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view. Mr. Trump’s popularity with white, working-class voters who are more likely than other Republicans to believe that whites are a supreme race and who long for the Confederacy may make him unpopular among leaders in his party.
What was even more surprising was that according to the same poll, 5% of African Americans were against the Emancipation Proclamation. It meant that if the results were accurate, close to 2 million African Americans are against freeing slaves!
There’s a saying among survey design experts: “We can design surveys to make anyone say anything!” While this skill can come in handy if you work for political think tanks/lobbying firms, as commercial market researchers, our aim is to ensure that our surveys are as objective as possible. Let’s take a look at YouGov’s survey and see how this happened.
Bias – For or against executive orders:
The study created a focus on the constitutionality of executive orders (question 47-48), then asked if participants approve or disapprove a list of executive orders.
Note that by asking about constitutionality, participants were now focused on whether the executive orders were constitutional (legal), rather than if they were moral.
Now that participants are focused on the legality/constitutionality of the issue, YouGov asked them if they approve or disapprove a list of executive orders, which “freed all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government” was among them. While respondents might be morally against slavery, from a constitutional frame of reference – the Proclamation of Emancipation might not be legal since some might argue that the Union had no jurisdiction over the Confederate during the Civil War. Another explanation is that participants disapproved of the executive order because it did not abolish all slavery, only those living in states at war with the Union.
Participant Fatigue is a well known phenomenon in research, stating that the longer the survey, the more the data quality suffers. The YouGov survey was somewhat long, with 103 questions. By the 49th question, some participants might start to speed through and thus reducing the accuracy of the study.
Some take-aways you can apply to design better surveys:
- Avoid Bias. Ask questions in an objective manner. Pay attention to the the order of the questions to make sure subsequent questions aren’t influenced by precedent questions.
- Ask questions clearly. For instance, question 49 – ask if participants thought if Abraham Lincoln’s executive to free all slaves in Confederate states was constitutional or not, rather than simply “approve” and “disapprove”. By asking questions clearly, you receive clear, actionable insights.
- Keep the survey as short as possible.
Looking to test your ads and increase sales? Spot Trender is a full-service ad testing company – we help our clients test their concepts/storyboards all the way to post-produced spots. For more information, you can call us at 800-755-5790 or email us.
Article I wrote for Spot Trender. Originally seen here.
Spot Trender, an industry leader in cloud-based ad-testing technology, recently announced the results of their third annual Super Bowl Ad Performance Test. Conducted for Super Bowl 50, Spot Trender’s test examined themes relating to sexuality and gender roles. On February 4, Spot Trender conducted a scientific poll with 1301 participants in a national representative sample. Each participant saw one commercial and completed an online questionnaire through Spot Trender’s platform.
While advertisers have expressed some of their best ideas to capture your attention, I’m almost certain that women will continue to notice more than a few ads that portray a gender role reversal. However, when in doubt, we can always turn to the raw hard data to back up this theory.
So what have Spot Trender been up to? Well, did you check out the CNN Republican Debate on November 15th? If you did, you would have seen that Netflix aired a mock political ad of the famous Frank Underwood of House of Cards. With over 5,000 retweets within minutes of airing, it’s safe to say it was a real success and Frank’s still got it! But Spot Trender, being one of the most innovative companies in the market research industry today, took this genius joke even further by testing how the mock ad of Frank Underwood stacked up against ‘rivals’ Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Why did they do it? Well, as Rick Nguyen, co-founder of Spot Trender put it, “I was watching the GOP Debate and saw the Underwood ad and loved it. Then I was curious how the mock ad would perform against Bush and Rubio’s. So we did it!”
Have you ever wondered how Southern Democrat Frank Underwood’s campaign ad would perform against Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s?
Last week, we conducted a scientific poll to benchmark Underwood’s campaign ad aired during the CNN GOP Debate against Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s. We decided to share some teaser data for your entertainment!
Let’s look at the numbers:
Underwood’s ad dominated in likelihood to share, as well as being much more likable and different than Bush and Rubio’s. Rubio’s message was the most relevant and understandable to voters. Bush’s ad under-performed in every key metric. Notice that after watching the ad, respondents are significantly more likely to vote and donate to Rubio and Underwood than Jeb Bush.
Now let’s look at how voters perceive the candidates after seeing their respective ads:
After seeing the ads, GOP primary voters thought Underwood was most presidential and most likely to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. They also perceived Frank Underwood as the most innovative. Marco Rubio shined in protecting religious freedom. Both Underwood and Rubio scored significantly higher than Bush in most criteria. It’s surprising that their ads beat Bush in “would keep America safe”, “can deal with China and Russia”, and “would be a good commander-in-chief” – since Bush’s ad specifically mentioned 27 admirals and generals support him because “Jeb has the experience and knowledge to protect your family.”
Live Reaction Graphs:
What makes Underwood’s ad so good? As participants watch the video, they used the up and down keys on the keyboard to indicate whether they liked or disliked what they are watching. Here’s the normalized reaction graph of Underwood’s campaign ad:
Comparing Underwood’s ad with Rubio and Bush:
The second-by-second viewer reaction above is highly consistent with how the ads performed quantitatively. Overall, Underwood’s ad garnered a very positive reaction. It started high and ended high. Rubio’s has it ups and downs. Bush’s ad started relatively positive but dipping below 0 around at the 7th second and remained negative for the rest of the video. Some interesting comments about each ad:
Using just a few phrases, please briefly describe your first impression of this ad:
- “Sincere, hopeful, optimistic. A man who appears to love this country and who doesn’t seem to be filled with anger, I feel like he could really pull this country together.”
- “He is too negative, he should focus on positive statements… I will ‘insert something positive here’… Then he can be taken seriously. As it is, he is just whining.”
- “I really liked the kids with the flag”
- “Americans taking pride in their presidential leader with hope, confidence”
- “Typical political ad featuring wholesome activities, but ending with empty rhetoric.”
- “Too much mud-slinging.”
- “It just puts down all other candidates. I would prefer to just hear about the things Jeb could do for us, not what the others have done in the recent past.”
- “So far those that are being attacked on this ad are – in my opinion, great or would be great leaders…”
Some key take-aways:
- While attack ads do work, it didn’t work in Jeb’s favor this time.
- Respondents loved the idea of kids being patriotic and running around with the American flag!
- Hope really sells. Underwood’s hopeful message correlated with high “is presidential” score. Talking about problems without providing solutions = “whining”.
- Watch out Hillary, Underwood is coming for you… and he’s only getting started!
Scientific Polling Methodology and Details:
Methodology: Spot Trender conducted a scientific poll with 960 US citizens nation-wide who are eligible to vote in the Republican Presidential Primaries. Each participant saw 1 campaign video and filled out an online questionnaire about the video he/she just saw. There were 300 qualified respondents for each video. Fielding took 1 day to complete.
As participants watch the video, they used the up and down keys on the keyboard to indicate whether they liked or disliked what they are watching. Spot Trender generated the reaction graphs by normalizing it with the number of participants. How the Y-axis is calculated at every second:
Green line (likes) = total ups /number of participants
Red line (dislikes) = total downs/number of participants
Average (light blue line) = (total ups – total downs)/number of participants
For example, If 100 participants who voted 15 ups and 5 downs at 5 second, the Y-axis at 5s would be (15-5)/100 = .1
Statistical Analysis Table Interpretation Guide:
Results were tabulated as “Top 2”, i.e. the sum of top two most favorable outcomes for the answers. For example, the results above were the sum of “liked it a lot more” and “liked it somewhat more”.
All results were tested at 95% confidence level unless specified otherwise. Cells with statistical significance were highlighted green.
Interpretation: Cell A is better than B at 95% confidence level.
About Spot Trender:
Spot Trender is a powerful cloud-based platform for dynamic pre-testing of commercials to help you make faster insight-driven advertising decisions from concept to post-production creative.
Spot Trender is 90% faster than the competition and accurately predicts your ad performance in as soon as 3 hours instead of 3+ weeks. Our world-class data scientists and advertising veterans combined with an advanced analytics engine gives you the time and data-driven insights to dramatically improve your ad campaign performance before running them.
Our crowdsourced platform seamlessly connects you with more than 45+ million qualified participants worldwide. Allowing you to automatically measure real-world customer responses and reactions to each ad spot as well as its impact on sales and brand awareness.
We’ve developed an impressive track-record as the leading Commercial Pre-Testing and Analytics platform trusted by the world’s leading brands and agencies.
Article I wrote for Spot Trender. Originally seen here.
“The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.” -Albert Einstein
If you follow politics, you’ll notice an alarming trend: too many folks talk about getting a tuition-free education, but way too few focus on the idea of a quality education. A “free” education means nothing if what you learned was worthless and you still can’t find a job after college. How should we define quality? First, let’s look at some trends where the world is going:
- Increasing prevalence of automation: If you live in the heart of the Silicon Valley, you see automation everywhere – like from consumer-focused services such as Google’s (aka Alphabet) self-driving car, Roomba vacuum cleaning robots, to enterprise-focused services like Marketo automated marketing, Spot Trender automated ad-testing, and so on. Even fast-food is being automated by startup like Eatsa, which provides an “automated fast-food experience”. In fact, according to an Oxford study, close to 50% of existing jobs in America is “at risk of automation”.
- Increasing foreign competition: With tremendous improvements in communication technologies and English language adaptation, Americans have to compete with cheaper workers outside of the United States. Many foreign workers can work from their virtual office and do the same job as Americans for much lower wage.
- Accelerated technical advancements: The world is changing at tremendous pace. Specific engineering skills can become obsolete in 2 years, sometimes even much shorter.
Based on these trends, let’s think about what would make one a valuable and productive member in society. The key is adaptability. What kind of college education would make one highly adaptable? I was fortunate enough that when I went to college, UC Berkeley allows student to design their own majors (Interdisciplinary Science Field – ISF). This is what I did:
Historical: Winston Churchill famously said “the farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Having a fundamental in History allows you to compare and contrast what happened to today’s society, to see and predict trends. That’s why so many investment bankers are History majors. Classes I took at Cal: Roman History, Modern Chinese History.
Scientific: Science trains the mind to reason. Scientific thinking allows you to look at facts instead of relying on your gut and biases before acting. For my own scientific education, I took Molecular Cell Biology, Physics, Calculus, and Probability Statistic for Engineers (one of the hardest math class I’ve taken – those Cal engineering students are wickedly smart!). To quote Prof. Richard Muller from Cal: “The key to learning math is recognizing that you are learning approaches, not facts, and think of those approaches as tools towards addressing new ideas. The skill to ‘problem solve’ is one of the most highly valued skills in all careers.”
Also, stop making excuses and learn how to code! I joined a Coding Dojo – a coding boot camp, and learned to code before starting my tech company. One of the best time investments in my life.
Physical : Pick a sport and work out 3-5 days a week. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Study by University of British Columbia showed that regular aerobic exercises significantly improved left, right and total hippocampal volumes (p≤0.03). Exercise makes you smarter and being healthy allows you to work harder. I currently do Krav Maga (martial art) 3 times a week as well as a combination of weigh-lifting and cross-fit exercises.
Philosophy/moral: First, the point of moral education and philosophy is not having someone tell you – in black and white term, what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. It’s for you to be able to think for yourself and determine what’s right or wrong. We’re facing an ever evolving world such that things that were perfectly OK ten years ago now frown upon. Even more, if you plan to be an innovator, you’ll have to deal with ethical issues, such as “why self-driving cars must be programmed to kill.” Second, Philosophical education is the best defense against stupidity. After learning how to reason, you’ll notice way too many people post bogus, outright stupid arguments on Facebook or social media about important issues. Inoculate yourself against stupidity and ignorance!
Leadership: The best way to learn leadership is to lead. Join a group and start leading. At Cal, I was in Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (yes, I got to take a bunch of advanced military science classes and loved it!), President of a social fraternity, and President of a Toastmasters club.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on education. Let’s connect via Twitter: @GetRickNow