If you run online campaigns you really must read Wikipedia’s detailed description of how it tests creative for its fund-raising drive. Since August, every Thursday for one hour the encyclopedia tests either a range of banner ads or landing pages, typically 4-6 elements run against each other. As Information is Beautiful summarizes in the graphic above, winners beat losers by a mile.
Call it a challenge for creative agencies focused on building the single great idea. Your concept may be good, but if you’re not testing 40 components against each other, you’ll likely miss the big result.
NY Times missed the mark today when it chided Apple for still having only 3 percent of the personal computer market — a failing, the Times suggests, given the iPhone buzz halo and Vista’s unpleasant idiosyncrasies. Microsoft messed the launch. Apple share ain’t climbing. The Times’ point: what gives?
Maybe it’s not PC market share Apple wants, but share of market entrant. Porter’s five forces model talks about competition as five pressures — direct competitors, downstream and upstream buyers and suppliers, substitutions, and market entrants. On the tilted table of technology adoption, where every gadget eventually slides into oblivion, entrants are what to watch for.
So, where is Apple looking? Follow the path of recent Apple design and you’ll see only four things: simpler mobility, interface, content distribution, and wireless. Untethering the masses from T1 lines and profiting off the passage of content into their pockets is Apple’s future; I don’t see a PC in my pocket soon.
Another way of looking at this is that Apple is investing in future market share, by setting up a parade of products that open the funnel for where consumers will be in 2009. They are not pushing desktops hard, just as they are not pushing horses and buggies.
Media planners or marketing directors might take note of this trend, and start testing at least 5 percent of their ad budgets on emerging internet or mobile advertising formats. The results today can be strong (SEM is still the lowest-cost lead generator in most industries), but you’ll also build a knowledge base about new formats for the future.
That way, when the wafer-thin glass Apple iScreen takes even more readers away from print publications and desktop PCs in 2009, your advertising strategy will be ready. (Watch for the iScreen here.)