Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th edition

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics It’s with great pleasure and a little pride that we announce Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat “4th EDITION” part is important. We know lots of people are waiting for Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation and it’s next in the queue.

But until then…

Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION is about 100 pages longer than the previous editions and about 10$US cheaper. Why? Because Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation is next in the queue.

Some Notes About This Book

I’m actually writing Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation right now. In the process of doing that, we realized we needed to add an index to this book. We also wanted to make a full color ebook version available to NextStage Members (it’s a download on the Member welcome page. And if you’re not already a member, what are you waiting for?)

In the process of making a full color version, we realized we’d misplaced some of the original slides and, of course, the charting software had changed since we originally published this volume (same information, different charting system). Also Susan and Jennifer “The Editress” Day wanted the images standardized as much as possible.

We included an Appendix B – Proofs (starting on page 187) for the curious and updated Appendix C – Further Readings (starting on page 236). We migrated a blog used for reference purposes so there may be more or less reference sources and modified some sections with more recent information.

So this edition has a few more pages and a few different pages. It may have an extra quote or two floating around.

You also need to know that Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History is a “Let’s explore the possibilities” book, not a “How to do it” book. As such, it deals with how NextStage did it (not to mention things that happened along the way). It does not explain how you can do it. This book’s purpose is to open a new territory to you and give you some basic tools for exploration.

There are no magic bullets, quick fixes, simple demonstrations, et cetera, that will turn you into jedis, gurus, kings, queens, samurai, rock stars, mavens, heroes, thought leaders, so on and so forth.

How to Do It starts with Volume II: Experience and Expectation and continues through future volumes in this series. We’ve included a Volume II: Experience and Expectation preview with a How to Do It example on page 302 so you can take a peek if that’s your interest.

That noted, I’m quite sure that you won’t get the full benefit of future volumes without reading this one because unless you’ve read this one you won’t understand the territory you’re exploring in those future volumes.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat’s Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION. It’s so good and so good for you! Buy a copy or two today!


Posted in Analytics, Consumer Psychology, Marketing, NextStageology, Predictive, Research, Social, Tools, {C,B/e,M}sTagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NSOS – About NextStage OnSite

NextStage OnSite Digital Property Traffic Monitoring Tool

Use: Pure and simple, you login and get your report. Clean, quick, simple and neat because we like it that way.

NextStage OnSite (NSOS) is a visitor analysis tool based on Nextstage’s patented and award winning Evolution Technology (ET). ET is the only patent (as far as we know) granted by the USPTO that “allows machines to understand and respond to human thought“.

NextStage OnSite Basic consists of up to thirty (30) reports that work on any digital property regardless of site or visitor language. Clients may contact NextStage regarding adding reports as additional costs may be involved. Each NSOS installation includes one (1) day of consulting/month. Clients may purchase additional consulting at US$5,000/day.

NextStage OnSite Advanced requires visitor native language knowledge, adds an additional thirty (30) reports and is only available to select clients and researchers (contact NextStage for details).

NextStage OnSite Basic or Advanced require a minimum of 5,000 unique visitors per time period to report properly. The only tagging requirement is a simple JavaScript tag between the </BODY> and </HTML> tag on each website page you want monitored. Mobile properties are monitored slightly differently although the ease of installation is the same. Clients are given password access to their reports.

Basic Onsite reports include:

Age

The Age report determines the demographic age breakdown of visitors to your site.

Visitor Age Analysis

Branding

This report measures if visitors are being branded while they’re on your site. Technically, it measures how much of the visitors’ deep and long-term learning channels are active while they’re on the site and how well the site as a whole passes information into those channels. There are several learning channels depending on how and where and for how long you want information stored. You want visitors to remember a site/product/brand as separate and unique from other sites/products/brands they’re visiting because they can only return to a site if they remember it exists in the first place.
That, in a nutshell, is branding.

Branding

Conversion Factors

This graph shows eight easily modifiable factors need to be adjusted to increase conversions. The yellow bar indicates how much each page is contributing to the conversion, the blue indicates how much the visitor is contributing to the conversion and the red indicates the importance visitors are attributing to each factor. A red dot above the yellow and blue bar indicates the page needs to contribute more to a given factor to increase conversions. A red dot in a blue area indicates visitors are contributing too much information — information you have no control over — to the decision process. The eight conversion factors measured are:


  • Can the individual imagine themselves using/doing something?
  • Would the individual really use the product or would it just collect dust?
  • Can the product, service, whatever be successfully worked into their current lifestyle or would getting whatever require a change in their lifestyle? (Note that this may or may not be a positive experience based on other factors)
  • Has the individual had any experience with this or a similar product/information?
  • Is the individual using this or a similar product?
  • Has, does or will the individual have a need for this or a similar product?
  • Does individual believe they will have or have they had pleasure due to the product, service, whatever?
  • Does individual believe they will have or have they had pain due to the product, service, whatever?

Purchase/Exchange Stop


Credibility

The Credibility report measures if site visitors found the information on your site Credible (believable), Uncredible (they want to believe and want substantiating information) and Incredible (they simply don’t believe it).

Credibility


Defection

Defection is the counterpoint to Loyalty. Loyalty measures a willingness to endure pain while Defection measures how long that pain will be endured before the individual “goes to the other side”. This report lists “Days to Defection” in the horizontal axis. Note that this report is actually measuring visitor subjective time (what the visitor thinks, not necessarily what they’ll do although the two usually coincide). The report examples shown here indicates that NextStage site visitors tend to be both loyal and have no interest in defecting.

Time To Defection


Engagement by Gender

The Engagement by Gender report shows you if males or females are more interested in your site and/or are shopping your site more carefully.

Engagement by Gender


Engagement by Page

The Engagement by Page report determines which pages are generating the most interest (across all users) on your site, and is a measure of visitors motivation to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc., on a page by page basis.

Engagement by Page


Engagement by URL

The Engagement by URL report determines which URLS — hence which geographic locations — are sending you visitors most interested in your site/service/product/offerings. This report matches levels of engagement to distinct URLs, indicating which visitors and which geographies are the most likely buyers. Knowing this information directly guides your on- and off-line marketing efforts. You learn quickly where to direct your collateral efforts and can measure how successful recent efforts have been.

Engagement by URL


Engagement by Time Period

The Engagement by Time Period report indicates when visitors to your website are in a “buying” or “conversion” mood. Certain companies will bid on search terms during specific time periods because they know that’s when ‘the fish are biting.’ The Engagement by Time Period report shows when ‘the fish are biting’ on your website.

Engagement by Time Period


Expectation

Expectation is the basic, gut level desire visitors have of satisfying some need when they come to your site. That need can be finding goods, getting or finding some service, getting information, making contact, servicing their account, whatever it was they made them want to visit your site in the first place. Expectations can be low, medium or high. Measuring expectation is crucial in designing material so that it quickly helps visitors achieve their goals.

Expectation


Experience

This report measures the basic, gut level reaction a visitor has to your website. Visitors can have a good experience, a bad experience or be indifferent. Knowing Experience is key to everything about making sure your message gets across, that your product gets purchased, or that your site gets and keeps people coming back. People will remember extremes, so you want their experience to be either good or bad. In either case, they’ll return. If it was a good experience, they’ll return because they enjoyed it or were successful. If it was a bad experience, they’ll return with friends to show them how bad it was. You never want visitors to go away indifferent. People remember bests and worsts meals, people, cars, movies, music, … Can you remember the best meal you ever ate? Can you remember the worst? What about the most average meal? Ever had a really incredible dining experience at a burgerjoint? You don’t want your website to be a burgerjoint.

Experience


Failure Pages

Which pages are causing visitors to lose interest in staying on your site, in what you have to offer, etc.? The PageFailures report measures which pages are causing visitors to lose interest in your offering and convincing them to look elsewhere. Often these “failure pages” precede “last page visited” by 2-3 clicks. Companies who redesign “last page visited” are wasting their efforts because the decision to leave a site is made before that last page is reached. The Failure Pages report insures you’re focusing your efforts where they’ll generate the greatest reward.

Failure Pages

Failures Pages to Exits

Failure Pages to Exits measures the difference between the page where a visitor lost interest to the page where they actually left a site. This chart shows the page where interest died and how many pages later the visitor actually left a site. Most people get a metric of which page visitors left on and begin modifying that page. That’s a nice exercise and not at all useful because the page visitors left on isn’t usually the page where they lost interest in continuing. Think of it this way; You’re shopping for a car. Something about the car you’re looking at right now doesn’t work for you. Do you immediately walk away from that car or do you spend a little bit of time talking yourself out of the car? Most people spend a little bit of time talking themselves out of the car before they move onto the next car (meaning they’ll continue shopping on your site, maybe) or leave the dealership (meaning they’ll leave your site, probably). That little bit of time talking to themselves equates to continuing on a site for a few more pages before they leave. Your goal at this point is to regain their interest on those few pages you have left. Think of it as a salesperson recognizing interest has waned and directing the client to what the salesperson knows was of interest, picking up the thread of the sale and moving on from there.

Page Failures to Exits


Gender Ratio

How many men and women are visiting your site? What is being determined is not physical gender but neurologic gender aspect; are people thinking using traditionally recognized ‘female’ neurologic aspects or traditionally recognized ‘male’ neurologic aspects. Knowing neurologic gender is far more important than knowing physical gender; if a man is choosing clothing using his color sense you want to market to his feminine side, not his male side.

Male/Female Visitor Ratio


Loyalty

Loyalty is the amount of pain an individual is willing to endure to either be with or to use something when they know less pain would be involved either being with or using something else. This is also known as “strength of commitment” to a site or brand. Knowing Visitor Loyalty and knowing how far that loyalty can be pushed before disloyalty sets in tells you how much and how well your clients and visitors think of your site or brand.

Loyalty


Navigation

Navigation measures how much work was required by a site’s visitors to find what they wanted and whether their problem solving skills were up to the task. Essentially, navigating a website can be likened to moving through a maze. You know where you are, aren’t sure of where you were and don’t know if the next turn will get you any closer to where you want to be. Mazes, though, are often designed to test problem solving skills. Often people design websites that they can navigate easily in the mistaken belief everyone thinks the way they do and hence solves problems in much the same way. If a site isn’t designed for the majority of visitors then visitors will find it difficult and/or intractable and go away confused, disappointed and probably worse. Ease of Navigation is a crucial metric for designers, developers, website owners, ecommerce providers, etc. It doesn’t matter if a site is easy to navigate by the people who designed the website, it only matters if visitors to the website can find what they want.

Ease of Navigation


Page Target Audience

The Page Target Audience Report is a page by page listing of pages and their target audience. It reports Gender, Life Experience (Neurologic Age), Understandability (Neurocognitive Age), and Decision/Learning Style. Page Target Audiences are metrics of who a site can best communicate to on a page by page basis. This is not a measure of who is coming to your site.

Page Target Audience


Price vs Product

This chart shows whether or not people believed the value (for ecommerce) or benefit (for informational or educational) of what was offered was worth the price (for ecommerce) or time involved (for informational or educational). In addition, this chart shows whether or not visitors wanted more product selection or less and whether or not visitors would purchase the product if the price was higher or lower.

Price vs Product


Real Visitors by Address

How many people per session where actually visiting your site as opposed to how many cookies or logins were on your site?

Real Visitors by URL/Address/Location/Name

Referral Quality

Referral Quality is a measure of which referral sources are sending you visitors most motivated to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers.

Referral Quality

Referral Quality by Time Period and Level of Interest

Referral Quality is a measure of how motivated site visitors are to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers. Referral Quality by Time Period merely adds the dimension of time, so you’ll know when the most motivated visitors were using which search engines and looking for what. Knowing Referral Quality from referring sites — especially if you’re paying for SEO, clicks, etc. — is incredibly important. You want to make sure your money is being spent wisely. These graphs show you which search engines are sending you the most qualified visitors. You would want to bid on the engine giving you the most highly motivated visitors, and specifically on the search terms that are used by the most highly motivated people.

Referral Quality by Time Period and Level of Interest

Return Ratio

Return Ratio is a measure of how strongly your site influenced a visitor to return. A strong enough negative experience will cause visitors to stay away, a strong enough positive experience will cause visitors to return, tell their friends and spend money — whether or not they found what they originally came to your site for.

Return Ratio

RichPersonae

People think, act and make decisions based on an incredible number of factors. NextStage codifies these different ways of thinking, acting and making decisions as RichPersonae. Material such as websites, brochures, etc., are designed for specific RichPersonae, intentionally or not. This chart shows visitor RichPersonae versus material design RichPersonae The ideal is to have a close match between the two. For more information on decision styles, read NSE Evolution Technology Research Paper – Evolution Technology as an Adjunct to Decision Support Systems.

RichPersonae

Search Term Quality

Search Term Quality is a measure of what search engine terms the most motivated visitors to a site are using to find you. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers. This chart measures search terms used to find your site by engagement (see Attention, Engagement and Trust: The Internet Trinity and Websites for NextStage’s definition of “engagement”) displayed while on your site. The higher the engagement the higher the interest and if they’re not purchasing, there’s problems on your site you’re probably unaware of.

Term Quality

Seek Effort

Seek Effort is a measure of how much work visitors are doing to find what they want on a site’s pages and is closely tied to PageFailures, the pages where visitors’ interest wanes and or leaves completely. The higher the Seek Effort score, the worse the page for keeping people on track to meeting both their and your goals. Seek Effort also measures which pages are providing more information than visitors can comfortably and successfully use. Pages which are too complex, are not easily learned or retained, contribute to visitors leaving your site.

Search Interactions


Site Target Audience

The Site Target Audience Report determines the best audience for your site as a whole as it currently exists in the system. It reports Gender, Life Experience (Neurologic Age), Understandability (Neurocognitive Age), and Decision/Learning Style.

Site Target Audience

Success

Success measures whether or not visitors were able to find what they came looking for and is closely tied to the Tirekickers report. Visitors who considered their time on your site unsuccessful will go away confused, disappointed and probably worse. An excellent report has the Site and Visitor lines

  • Close together
  • Equidistant at all points
  • Spiking at the same point

Thus you want a lines that increase from Entry to Exit or at least decrease little after MidVisit.

Success

Suggestions

The Suggestions Reports contain specific information on how to modify your site in order to provide your visitors with the most rewarding experience possible. Suggestions are broken down as Critical (red), Important (yellow) and Advisable (green).

Suggestions


Tirekickers to Buyers Breakdown

The Tirekickers Report indicates how many of your site visitors are serious buyers versus how many are just doing research, and where they are in their research. For example, the first category is ‘Grazing’ and indicates how many site visitors are basically channel surfing and stopped on your site for no real reason. The different gradations then go to ‘Making a Decision’, ‘Not the Decision Maker’ and onto ‘Buying’. Remember, this doesn’t mean they will buy from your website, only that they want to buy something while they’re on your website. A higher “Buying” value than your conversions indicates your site needs work.

Tirekickers to Buyers Breakdown

Understandability

This report determines if visitors can understand your site. Note that this is a measure of whether your site, your menu structure, your content, etc., is understandable to visitors. If the majority of visitors can understand your site you’ll see a green bar, the fewer visitors who can understand your site the bar becomes yellow then red. If a site is too complex for visitors to understand or not able to communicate its message in an understandable way, you’re losing business, sales, etc.

Understandability

Note that NextStage Evolution can deny use of its offerings to individuals or groups at NextStage’s discretion.

Posted in Analytics, Marketing, NextStageology, OnSite, Predictive, Tools, {C,B/e,M}sTagged ,

NextStage Member Tools Explained

For anybody keeping track, here are our current tool offerings to NextStage Members. We keep adding tools as they become available and will update this list periodically. Some tools require training, some tools require our tracking code be on a digital property, some tools are so new they don’t have their own icons yet.

For those who don’t know, NextStage Membership costs $250US/year. There are lots of other benefits. Come play with our toys. They’re lots of fun and so are we.


Posted in Ad Placement, Age Persuader, Analytics, Audience Finder, BlueSky Meter, Client Prospector, Compatibility Gauge, Entrepreneur Gauge, Experience Optimizer, Gender Persuader, Immediate Sentiment, Job Prospector, Looking Glass, Love Finder, Love Jones, Marketing, NeuroPrint, NextStageology, OnSite, PersonaScope, Political Analyzer, Political Reader, Predictive, Predictive Echo, Resume Rater, SampleMatch, Sentiment Analysis, Social Interferometer, TargetTrack, Tools, Veritas Gauge, {C,B/e,M}sTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introducing NextStage Trainings


NextStage has been testing some webinar trainings with various groups and the results are excellent.

So good, in fact, that we’re going public with our trainings. You can read about all trainings on our Schedule page.

Trainings cover topics such as

  • Building and Maintaining a Prospect List – NextStage demonstrates how some simple social mining can provide data on who needs you and how receptive they’ll be to your offer.

    This class is already sold out. Another will be offered sometime soon.

  • Know How Someone Is Thinking in 10 Seconds or Less Intro Webinar Training – a new one for us and already quite popular.
  • Email Pitches That Work – NextStage’s lowest email pitch success rate is 58% immediate and 608% pickup via social. These high numbers are achieved through selective audience development and a deep understanding of how an offering is percieved, by whom Want to learn how it’s done?
  • Webinar Introduction to NextStage Tools and Technology – NextStage has developed over 60 tools for various companies, agencies, businesses and governments, and many of them are available as part of NextStage Membership. This webinar provides an introduction to using NextStage tools and understanding the results. In some cases, participant provided material will be analyzed. The price of this webinar is applied to the Membership fee for anyone who chooses to become a NextStage Member.
  • Making Images Work – NextStage’s studies on the use of head and body images in marketing are used worldwide. Here’s your chance to learn directly from NextStage what images and videos to use for different audiences and when and where they should go on your digital properties.
  • Effective Newsletter Design – The email newsletter isn’t dead. It’s alive and flourishing if you know how to design for today’s mobile devices. This webinar shares NextStage research and results into crafting email newsletters that are opened and forwarded again and again and again.
  • NeuroDesign – NextStage’s Joseph Carrabis dissects ten websites chosen by participants and explains what works, what doesn’t and why. DMG’s Chief Content Officer Brad Berens said of Joseph ‘You are an expert in web usability, fast-paced analysis of how people’s postures and statements reveal their motivations, how color impacts decision making, and a lot of other things that I could list if I were about to take the time to go review websites and notes.’ Joseph, in 30 seconds, caught 10 out of 10 things Accuquote spent thousands of dollars and months A/B testing, according to Accuquote’s Sean Cheyney. Come see how it’s done!


Posted in NextStageologyTagged

We’re Changing Again

I’ve been running NextStage for most of this year. Much of that time has been analyzing usage data, discovering patterns, the stuff of general manager nightmares. Next I had Joseph and his crew compare what was happening on our site with what was happening on our client sites.

The result is our new homepage.

NextStage’s largest profits come from Memberships, Research/Consulting, Trainings and Surveys. Our tools get lots of use and end up being consulting engagements for most users. The tool question we get asked most often is “Which tool should I use to do …?” and Joseph and his crew end up working for free by demonstrating the tools, something I’m putting a stop to with this new design and direction.

Everything NextStage does is built on a base technology. One of our early investors prophetically told us “You folks have invented plastic. You’re like BASF; you don’t make the basketball, you make it better. You don’t make the milk bottle, you make the milk bottle better.”

Joseph’s creating a base, disruptive technology is impressive from a science perspective but rotten from a marketing perspective. Being able to do a diversity of things confuses businesses who want small companies to do one thing. They really prefer small businesses that do one thing that’s easily described. Every time someone asks Joseph what NextStage does and he says “We analyze how people interact with information in their environment” I cringe. It’s completely accurate and completely useless.

NextStage has an incredible number of offerings between papers, podcasts, tools, trainings and the list goes on and on. There would be more tools and trainings if I didn’t put my foot down.

The end result of all this is that the KnowledgeShop is going away and we’re consolidating everything into one site (except for the blogs and I’m rethinking those, too). We’re limiting our offerings even though everything will still be offered, just under fewer headings.

NextStage members will make out like bandits in all this; with the exception of a few tools, they now have access to everything we do as part of their membership. This includes most tools, papers, research briefs, presos, podcasts and their discounts still apply to what we do sell (trainings, webinars, etc). Memberships were $100/year, now they’re $250/year. Membership also includes two webinars and two personal site assessments per year free. We think that’s a good deal and hope you do, too.

Managing an office is a challenge, managing a small business is more so, managing Joseph and his lot…priceless.

Clarifications to a podcast – I was recently mentioned (quite positively, me thinks) in a podcast. The speaker made a few mistakes though…


Drew Sanocki mentioned me in EP #49: Bold eCommerce Predictions with Drew Sanocki of DesignPublic.com up around 36m14s. I was flattered and noted a few mistakes in what was said. I offered the following as a comment (hasn’t appeared yet) so I’m publishing it here in case others are similarly confused.


Hello and thanks for the mention.

Just so there’s no confusion, my name is Joseph Carrabis. You can get most of the scoop on me on LinkedIn. The book is Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History. Interested listeners/readers can pre-order V2: Experience and Expectation in NextStage’s KnowledgeShop.

I’d consider myself a researcher rather than sociologist.

The tool you’re mentioning is our Evolution Technology (ET). We currently have four patents on ET and there are more in the queue. ET is considered both base and disruptive. One use is monitoring online behaviors and in doing so, ET does use transient cookies to store things like pagename, sitename and so on.

However, ET neither uses permanent cookies nor gathers any personal identifying information whatsoever.

ET has been independently validated to 98% accuracy determining visitor age and gender while they’re navigating a site. Its ability to identify individuals across websites is due to its ability to recognize an individual’s thought patterns — what we call neuroprints, like fingerprints of the mind — when an individual is on different properties. This ability comes from most people being able to fake just about anything except how they think. How an individual makes decisions, shows interest, demonstrates attention, etc., is the same (at a neural level) regardless of what site they’re navigating or what device they’re using. Again, this is covered in V1: Science and History.

The “job” example you mention is also covered in V1: Science and History. It took about 30 seconds to determine that visitor’s job based only on how they interacted with our site. We don’t have a “jobs” page per se. ET pops up a request that you contact us if it determines you’d get along well here and we have an opening that matches your abilities. It asks no questions, there are no forms to fill out.

Mouse movements comprise about 10-15% of how ET makes its determinations. Its accuracy drops to 83% if the visitor bounces and it works on most commonly used digital platforms (desktops to mobiles, etc).

Our company is NextStage Evolution. We’ve been in business since 2001. ET currently gathers and tracks online behavior in over 100 countries. Companies often come to us to

  1. create custom tools for their use based on ET
  2. advise them on entering new markets or cultural marketing based on our extensive cultural behavioral database
  3. because we’re lots of fun to work with, …

Hope that helps and again, thanks for mentioning us.

Joseph


Posted in About, About MeTagged

Here Are Your NeuroMarketing Options

I was at a conference recently and took many turns through the exhibitors’ booths.

I took many turns through the exhibitors’ booths because I had no idea what I was doing at the conference. I’d been invited and someone else was paying my way, and I hoped seeing the wares presented would offer some insight into why some group would contact me to attend on their behalf and essentially pay me to do so.

Before going further, let me state that I don’t remember any NextStageologist saying or writing “We do neuromarketing.” It’s been said about us often enough and I’ve publicly written that I think people say we do neuromarketing (skim down to “3. What the heck is a NeuroMarketer?” in the link) because 1) it’s a term du jour, 2) they don’t know what else to call us, 3) they’ve called us many pleasant and few unpleasant things in the past and seem to think we change as do the buckets they want to put us in, …

People say “But you guys do so many things” and that’s true. Our response is “That’s because the brain does so many things. The brain doesn’t only make decisions or only control breathing or only look at pretty people or only guess about the future and if the brain could only do one thing we wouldn’t have evolved much beyond amoeba. We do lots of things because, like the brain, we have no limits.”

Okay, we have some limits.

But, as I was typing, some of the vendors did…something…at the conference. I watched. It looked a lot like what I’ve been told is traditional, historical neuromarketing. You know, traditional and historical, like the stuff going back a year or more ago?

It was fascinating.

Now before going any further, none of the people shown here claim to be neuromarketers and that includes NextStage. I merely offer these as examples of what others who call themselves “neuromarketers” do.

Here are some of your NeuroMarketing options…

Option 1 – See the Brain in Real Time

Cap Showing the Brain in 3D

The fellow in the picture above is brilliant. He and his team (if I understood correctly) have developed a cap that generates a image of an individual’s neurophysiology in real time. The medical implications of this are incredible.

But it’s not neuromarketing as I understand it. Seeing the brain work is not the same as knowing what the brain is working on. Seeing specific brain areas associated with likes and dislikes is not the same as knowing what the brain is liking or disliking. Tomograph, fMRIs, neurographs, etc., of heat and blood flow in the brain while showing a picture of a brand product is not the same as that individual wanting, desiring or avoiding that brand product. They are, at best, proxies. There may be a direct connection or they may not be. A dislike of a particular brand might have more to do with a bad memory of someone who used that brand than the brand itself, and building a campaign on such evidence is…is…a really interesting way to spend your budget.

But credit where credit is due, if I ever get a brain lesion, I want the guy in the picture above in my corner.

Option 2 – If the Device Fits, Wear It

The video below is of a young woman being fitted with a device that allows the wearer’s brain to interact directly with an image on a screen. Doing that is impressive. The device itself is nicely designed and packaged. The gentleman in the video is someone trained by the company that markets the device. He’s a trained professional. After two minutes and twenty seconds he still hadn’t gotten the device to work correctly, and he’d applied enough saline solution to make Brylcream proud because this time, a little dab wasn’t doing ya.


Fairness time; lots of people at this conference sat down to have this device placed on their heads. I talked with several of them who wanted to take part but couldn’t because the device couldn’t read their signals reliably if at all.

Option 3 – You Can Find A Company that Claims to do NeuroMarketing

A long standing NextStage client was told by his GM to go talk to the GM’s friend who had started a neuromarketing company. You could tell they were a neuromarketing company because they used “neuromarketing” on their site a lot.

I asked the client how it went. Here’s the conversation:

“Hi! I’m speaking with these guys today, …, it looks like they are taking a similar theoretical approach as you, although their execution is paleolithic compared to yours.”

Be sure to tell them that.

“The guy is a friend of the GM. The GM hears me say the word neuromarketing, this guy says the word neuromarketing, GM says lets all meet. I say, ‘Why would I let them put headbands on 5 people when I can learn way more about EVERY one visiting a site without looking like Olivia Newton-John?’ I can assure you that basically I’m going to tell them they’re in the stone ages. No reason to drive the ford Edsel when you have the rocket car sitting in the garage!”

(a few days later…)

How did it go with your GM’s friend?

“The neuro guy was a joke, an entrepreneur who saw a cool graph on a screen, no plan, no insight, no training, no business plan, not even an elevator pitch nor the brains to run it.”

Hmm…but he has money? Maybe he’d like to buy us out…?

“He doesn’t have that kind of money….”

Sorry it was so ungood. And may I quote you?

“Quote me?”

Yes, I’ve been working on a response to all the neuro blather and would like to include an anonymous note about someone who went looking for neuro solutions and came up short.

“No problem ;)”

(and here’s to hoping you, dear reader, have similar luck)

Recapping thus far

Thus far we’ve seen the need for devices that may or may not work for everyone, require a skilled professional to place on the test subject’s head correctly, are limited to subjects who basically raise their hand and say “Yes, I’ll wear one of those”, and people with pretty websites, high level friends and are a joke (so said the client, not us).

First, what happens to those people who raise their hands but can’t make the device work? How many will be satisfied with “Here’s your $20 and sorry your head’s not the right shape” or “Here’s your $30 and your brain’s not giving off any signals we can detect” or “Here’s your $50 and our equipment doesn’t seem to be working right now, no need to come back later because it won’t work for you, then, either”?

You’d probably go with a variant of that last one but then you have people walking around telling others how their incredible noggins broke your fancy-dancy mind-reading headgear.

And if people can train their brains to do what’s required, how long do you think it’ll be ’till companies start selling “Brain-Trained” individuals for testing purposes, or offer “Brain-Training” courses and all so that, when the neuromarketing goblins come a’knockin’, your results will be through-the-roof kind-of good?

And you thought buying Fans, Friends and Likes was scummy?

And do remember, none of the folks in the above images claims to do “neuromarketing”. At least they didn’t claim to when I asked (and I did ask and I did ask permission to video and photograph so I could use the video and photographs on one of my company’s blogs). I took the pictures and video because the folks shown above do things that other companies have called “neuromarketing”.

Second, the GM’s friend. Let me repeat myself. “The GM’s friend.”

Option 4 – In the Time You’ve Been Reading…

In the 1-5 minutes you’ve been reading this post, NextStage’s Evolution Technology has analyzed the behaviors of anywhere from 3-25,000 individuals. It has determined how they think, how they make decisions, what types of things convince them, whether or not they believe whatever they’re viewing, whether or not they accept whatever they’re viewing (belief and acceptance are two very different things), when they’re likely to spend money and what needs to be changed on a client’s digital property so that they, the visitor, will spend money on the client’s digital property or in their brick&mortar store. You can get an idea of what NextStage’s Evolution Technology can determine in our example NextStage OnSite reports, you can get an idea of where we’re currently being used on our NextStage SampleMatch Countries listing and you can get an idea what people are saying about everything we do in our Comments section.

And remember, we don’t do “neuromarketing”. We just give you results. From your entire online audience. There’s a lot of neuroscience in what we do, true, and there’s also a lot of anthropology, linguistics, sociology, psychology, mathematics, and other sciences in what we do.

That’s why I prefer to offer that NextStage does NeuroAnalytics rather than NeuroMarketing because we’re more interested in how to use what the brain does naturally to make your marketing work.

As one happy client wrote in my LinkedIn Profile,

I’ve been working with Joseph and his tools now for several years. As a “digital analytics professional”, there are several phrases I can use to describe the man and the technology he creates related to my field of work: game-changing, mind-blowing, visionary.

I don’t use those words lightly. I’ve seen the future of advanced analytics, and it’s the next generation technology Joseph has invented and continues to develop.

How do you measure website engagement? Page depth? Time on site? Top viewed content? Satisfaction surveys? These are proxies for what we in digital analytics think reflects visitor engagement. Now imagine a tool that you could put on your website that silently measures engagement by actually determining how visitors feel about content, without having to ask them.

Then imagine that the same tool can then alter visitor website experience on-the-fly and present more engaging content. Then imagine watching your conversion rates go through the roof.

It’s not fiction or magic. It is a real tool, it is real science, and you can use it on your website to drive real extraordinary business results.

And that’s just the tip of Joseph’s iceberg. He’s continually creating new tools, new technology, and new thinking to enable marketers to measure and enhance the effectiveness of their work in ways that haven’t even been thought possible before.

I consider myself lucky to have met Joseph, and I am continually awed and humbled by the man. If you’re in business and want to do better, I’d suggest you get to know him and his marketing toolbox as well.

If nothing else, you’ll at least get a few good jokes out him!

Ta-Da!

Posted in Advice and Content, Analytics, Marketing, NextStageology, OnSite, Predictive, ToolsTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Using NextStage’s OnSite Visitor Analysis Tool – TireKickers To Buyers Breakdown

This post is the first of several (we think) about using NextStage OnSite‘s many reports. The audience for this post and series is NextStage’s business clients and prospects. The goal is to provide some “connecting the dots” between reports and actions. We’re starting this series with the TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown. “TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown” is a descriptive but wordy title and we usually refer to it simply as the TireKickers Report.

Background

NextStage’s tools have been in public use for about three years now and all our tools are based on client requests. The tool that’s grown the most in that time is NextStage OnSite. That growth shows up as OnSite‘s many reports.

Visitor Age Groups for a 30 day intervalThere are currently sixty (60) different reports in the NextStage OnSite Tool. These reports span everything from visitor AgeGroup breakdowns (a 30 day report is shown on the right) to a QuickOptimizer report that provides three and only three suggestions for quickly optimizing a site. For example, QuickOptimizer suggested the following modifications for one of our clients for a recent thirty day period:

  1. Important – A blog, podcasts, a link which starts an audio feed or music from a source which matches the mood of your site.
  2. Desireable – A single image on the upper to middle left of the screen, at most 1/4 screen width and height, clearly showing your product or your service in use or a satisfied user of your product or service
  3. Critical – Having all selling points to your product or service in the center third column of your screen. Anything that does not demonstrate your product’s or service’s features should go to either side

Most clients get 25-30 reports (some they request, some we know they’ll need) and there’s a lot of information in those 25-30. Sometimes we’ll include a custom report or two among those 25-30 for clients who we believe will benefit from them.

NextStage OnSite offers clients a report palette because (we believe) using reports individually is like looking at stars through only one type of telescope — your understanding is based on only one type of light. Different types of telescopes (NextStage OnSite‘s 30 or so reports) trained on the same object provide a fuller understanding of what’s happening to and with that object.
TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown for a one day interval

TireKickers Report Basics

NextStage OnSite‘s TireKickers Report (a one day report is shown on the right. Clicking on some images opens larger images in another window) is named for the proverbial used car shopper who walks around the lot, finds a car they want then kicks the tires to demonstrate that they’re not going to get swindled.

What it reports is described in 2006’s Listening to and Seeing Searches:

What we’ve discovered is that these [report] numbers (which will vary from site to site) remain stable for each site except when something new — such as a product release or updated pages — is placed in the mesh.

  • Knowing what percentage of site visitors are serious buyers versus tirekickers is an important tool in keeping your expectations and sales forecasts in check, and for designing entry pages appropriately.

  • Visitors who are “grazing,” “tirekicking,” “talking themselves out of it” and “planning to make a decision” are still in the search funnel.
  • Visitors who are “planning on how to use it,” “talking it over,” “making a decision” and “buying” are in what most people recognize as a sales funnel.
  • The transition from searcher to buyer occurs at “talking themselves into it.”

TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown for a seven day intervalNotice in the above bullet list “…these [report] numbers (which will vary from site to site) remain stable for each site except when something new — such as a product release or updated pages — is placed in the mesh.”? Compare the 1-day report shown above with the 7-Day TireKickers report on the right. Same site, but this time reporting on the past seven (7) days instead of the last one (1) day. You’ll notice there’s not a lot of variation in pie slice size.

We encourage most clients to run reports for time periods of 30 days or longer unless they’re doing highly targeted or spot campaigns. For example, if you’ve just made an update to your site, introduced a new product or service, made an announcement, et cetera, check for changes over shorter periods of time.

But consider the two figures above. These two figures are similar and not identical. All charts in this post are for the same page. Only the report interval is changed (top to bottom, they are 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days). What you’re seeing is the normal variation that occurs on sites. Especially when you compare the above one and seven day cycles with the following 14 day cycle and 30 day cycle further down in this post.

TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown for a 14 day intervalOnce you get past the 20% that were buying in the one-day cycle (“Making a Decision” and “Buyers” combined. Ninety-nine percent of people who get into “Making a Decision” become “Buyers” before they leave a site or will conclude their purchase offline) you’ll notice that the seven and 14 day cycles have similar “Making a Decision” and “Buying” numbers — 13-14%. The 13% cumulative “Making a Decision” and “Buying” numbers are repeated in the 30 day cycle.

First Take-Away

These numbers haven’t varied in quite a while. This site is going to max out at about 20% total conversions and probably the online numbers will be closer to 13%.

We now have a baseline. The current version of the site is going to do 13-20% business. That’s where we are. Now it’s time to improve.

TireKickers to Buyers Breakdown for a 30 day interval

Large versus Small Populations

Consumer psychology and buying behavior are fascinating subjects to study. One thing that’s very impressive about them is that large populations are the easiest to influence. Knowing that large populations are the easiest to influence comes from social dynamics. NextStage demonstrated this with an audience participation exercise at a SNCR conference several years back during my TS Eliot, Ezekiel, Beehives and Mighty Mouse – Why “Whispering to Be Heard”? presentation.

What we demonstrated was the relative transmission speeds and dispersion rates of the same message in a large and small population, followed up with examples of how to increase transmission and dispersion. In a nutshell, large populations tend to have fewer broad reaching influencers and quorum sensing behavior rules. The large population behaves as a single body but without a lot of discretionary and (dare I suggest) intelligent behavior. Quorum sensing was pretty much the consumer psychology rule in the old media days (as noted in Why Isn’t Marketing a Science, Part II ).

Small populations tend to have much tighter social bonds and interactions. This is necessary for the smaller population to survive. The large population’s quorum sensing becomes the small population’s smart mob behavior, meaning people talk to each other more, rely on each other more, there are more influencers because the population realizes that the person who’s a great cook may not be the best harvester and so on.

TireKicker Reports show small populations as small pie segments. Instead of a small population being a “neighborhood” or “town”, the small population in these TireKicker Reports are (for example) “Tirekicking” at about 2% and “Planning to Make a Decision” at about 2.5% across all reports. Like neighborhoods and small towns, the visitors making up the “Tirekicking” and “Planning to Make a Decision” segments may not be directly talking to each other but they are talking to people who are talking to each other.

Second Take-Away

You want the Tirekickers value to be as small as possible. Small Tirekickers values indicate that all visitors (save the “Grazing” segment) came to your site with the intention of getting something done. They may have wanted to purchase or do research, but your site was their intended target.

“Tirekickers” indicates people who are killing time. They were looking for something to do and your site was what caught their eye. They may convert and it’ll be a long while before they do so the smaller this number is, the better your site is working at bringing you visitors who are actually in the sales funnel.

“Grazing” indicates people who came to your site by accident. You want that number to decrease, either because fewer people get lost on the web or because your marketing is so good only people who want to be on your site arrive there.

On these charts you’ll notice that the largest population segments are “Talking Themselves (Out of/Into) It” and “Talking It Over With (Themselves/Others)”.

What’s most important (from a consumer and behavioral psychology perspective) about these two populations is they describe people engaged in internal dialogue. Most people engage in internal dialogue and do so most often when they’re making decisions. If you’ve ever spoken to yourself out loud or just in your head, debating whether or not to do something, to buy something, to say something, going over pros and cons back and forth, you were engaged in internal dialogue.

We recognize internal dialogue is taking place because both populations are Talking (dialogue) and to or with Themselves (internal). People who are talking themselves out of/into it are the tougher sell so let’s start with people who are talking it over with themselves or others.

These are people who want to act but lack the confidence to act. They are looking for justification to act (convert) and seeking either themselves or others to provide that justification. Some times they’ll ask their peers, some times their friends, some times their parents. Browsing is still a solitary activity — we don’t often encounter masses of people sitting in the same place, facing the same device, agreeing where to navigate and what to click on — so who will these visitors seek justification from?

Readers of Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History know that the first “person” to be asked is the site itself and at this point it is time to learn what the page being TireKicked is telling them to do (the page’s form and function1).

The form and function of the page being TireKickedThe layout sans content (form) of the page being TireKicked is shown on the right. We learn from the client that the function of the page is to describe product/offering/service features. What can we do to nudge the roughly 26% of visitors who are “Taking It Over With Themselves/Others” into either “Making a Decision” or “Buying”?

We start by looking at the page’s TargetAudience. NextStage considers material’s TargetAudience as the audience that will best respond to that material. The best responding audience is the audience that shows up most often, stays and acts. This best responding audience may or may not be the audience the content creators had in mind when they published. The gulf between best responding audience and intended audience can be amazingly wide and we often suggest clients use our AgePersuader, GenderPersuader, PersonaScope and related tools to better target their content before publishing.

In this case, NextStage OnSite‘s PageTargetAudience report determined that this TireKicked page is best designed for:

Gender: Male
Age: 35-44yo (±9%)
Education: Post Doc
RichPersona: V9

  • These people are moved by what they see
  • They are drawn to the negative of things
  • These people tend to be process oriented
  • They tend to be confused by “what if this happens?” type of questions

Let’s take the above one element at a time:

  1. Gender: Male – NextStage has demonstrated an extremely high accuracy determining age and gender online. The accuracy we’re comfortable with is about 83% across all our reports (we’ve tested higher), so we can accept that this specific material is indeed oriented towards a male audience
  2. Age: 35-44yo (±9%) – This material is best designed for 35-44 year olds and could serve for 32-48 year olds (the ±9%)
  3. Education: Post Doc – NextStage OnSite makes this determination based on how much cognitive effort and life experience would be required to understand the material
  4. RichPersona: V9 – “V9” is a NextStage RichPersonaTM designation. People familiar with our PersonaScope and Sentiment Analysis Tools have seen these designations many times. Other psych-behavioral classification systems would recognize this as “ENTJ”2

Review and Forward

So far we’ve learned the following:

  • 26% of the audience is seeking justification to convert
  • the material will best influence a mid-30 to mid-40 year old,
  • well educated,
  • males audience

Visitor Gender Analysis for a 30 day intervalHolding just that much information we can look at two other NextStage OnSite reports, AgeGroup and Gender. A 30 day visitor AgeGroups analysis for the TireKicked page is shown at the top of this post. The image on the right is a 30 day visitor Gender analysis for the same TireKicked page.

AgeGroups tells us that better than a third are under 25yo and we see on the right that there’s a fairly even male-female gender mix.

Before going any further and in a very few minutes of time (assuming some training on how to use NextStage OnSite) we’ve discovered that the TireKicked page isn’t designed for its actual audience. Remember, we’re not considering intended audience — who the site owner wants as visitors — we’re looking at who’s actually showing up and wanting to do some shopping.

The site owner informs us that the actual audience is the intended audience. Excellent! The question shifts from “How do we get the intended audience on the page?” to “What can be done so that the audience does more buying?”
Suggestions based on visitors during a previous 30 day interval

Suggestions, Suggestions, Suggestions

NextStage OnSite includes a Suggestions report (a 30 day report is shown on the right) that provides three levels of suggestions (General, Levels 1 and 2). The immediacy of each suggestion is indicated by Desireable, Important and Critical. We encourage clients to start with the General suggestions and work their way up through Level 1 suggestions to Level 2 suggestions. I, as a researcher, find the Suggestions report a deep dish of information.

But I as a business person? That’s an awful lot to swallow.

The difference between research and business person is one of constraint. Researchers love knowing all possible suggestions because they usually have the freedom to select what constraints they’ll work under as part of their experiment’s design. Business and online analysts usually are given a list of constraints based on corporate requirements and policies regarding color palette, logo placement, images, text and so on. As one business client said, “Design is finding solutions within constraints.”

The specific business constraints for this TireKicked page are:

  1. Adjust the copy within the body area of the page
  2. No changes to the design or placement of navigation
  3. Adding “nav-looking” links on the right is acceptable
  4. Creating a number of “orphan pages” where navigation between the pages is via breadcrumbs is acceptable

Knowing constraints ahead of time is excellent as it allows us to know which Suggestions we’re able to work with. For example, one of NextStage OnSite‘s Suggestions for this TireKicked Page is

Desireable – Provide (more) visitor-participatory navigation so that visitors become consciously aware of their navigation decisions.

Not sure what “visitor-participatory navigation” is? Not a problem. NextStage OnSite‘s Suggestions report tells you:

Visitor-Participatory Navigation – Menu style navigation is replaced by a single question in place of the standard menu. The question has several answers (that are themselves based on traditional menu options) and one of the answers is the option to return to a traditional menu system. Further, each loaded page includes BreadCrumbs so visitors have a clear understanding of where they’ve been on a site.

Why Training Is Important

Live training on any NextStage Tool goes beyond “click here, click there, now click that and get your report”. Live NextStage trainings cover human behavior, communication, behavioral psychology, consumer psychology and the like in depth. This is obviously true for our listed trainings and is also true for our tool trainings. Tool trainings focus more on how to use tool recommendations and results to cause the desired human behavior, et cetera, and students still learn a great deal about how humans interact with their environment and each other3.

In this case, a little social and behavioral psychology provide some obvious solutions.
What We're Allowed to Modify on the TireKicked Page

Form to Function

The image on the right is the form of our TireKicked page. The area we’re constrained to is bordered in red. Because the actual audience is young we’re going to make use of how youthful minds (under 25 years old) demonstrate social cognition, mirroring and group identity. Remembering that the client has told us this TireKicked page’s purpose is to demonstrate product/service/offering features (and by the numbers):

  1. Adjust the copy within the body area of the page
    • Any feature-descriptive text must indicate how this product/service/offering will create or continue connectivity between friends, peers and related others. Write anything about TXTing, sharing video, et cetera, content with friends and family and you’ve scored a success.
    • Include images of groups involved in some activity (walking in a downtown setting, biking, but stopped, et cetera) with two or more group members using the product/service/offering
    • Any banner offer image should show two or three peer group members demonstrating enjoyment due to their use of the product/service/offer.
    • If the audience is too young to make independent purchase decisions (they require parental approval), modify the banner image such that a single peer group member is on the left of the banner, the parent is on the right of the banner and make sure the parent is smiling or otherwise demonstrating acceptance and agreement.
      • The audience is fairly evenly mixed male/female so use a female parent image. Use a male parent image if the audience starts to skew and stay male.
    • Use short, decisive sentences to list features, use images to demonstrate features (two of NextStage OnSite‘s suggestions were “Critical – Use language which emphasizes understanding and logic, and demonstrates present capabilities” and “CriticalUse simple, concise language to differentiate items“. Other suggestions were along similar lines)
  2. No changes to the design or placement of navigation – The Suggestions Report offered several modifications, none are applied at this point in time
  3. Adding “nav-looking” links on the right is acceptable
    • Several NextStage OnSite suggestions apply to where “nav-looking” links should take visitors (remembering that this page’s purpose is to demonstrate or list product/service/offering features)
      • Critical – Include a video demonstrating the endgoal of the visitor specific to the current page. Make the video informative, educational and entertaining. Example: a video of someone in the target audience using the product, good or service specific to the page. The video demonstrates some simple and common operations using the product, good or service.
      • Important -Any “self-help” pages should have an image montage of the any steps involved. The image montage is synched to an audio feed explaining each image, its purpose, et cetera. The visitor must be able to control the image/audio progression.
      • Important – Use images which demonstrate your product or service being used 1-2 seasons ahead to do specific tasks.
  4. Creating a number of “orphan pages” where navigation between the pages is via breadcrumbs is acceptable
    • This is one of NextStage OnSite‘s suggestions, as noted above. Combine breadcrumbs with the product demonstration and self-help suggestions above and the redesign work is done.

What We Did Within the Business ConstraintsA rough mockup of some suggestions (for starting point purposes only) is shown on the right.

Summary

Any tool is going to require some training in its use and some tools will require users to incorporate new information, new ways of thinking and problem solving methods.

This post has gone through one of NextStage OnSite‘s thirty reports — TireKickers — and demonstrated how to use it to increase conversions.

The next post in this series will pick up with the other big visitor population chunk, that 22.5% that are Talking Themselves Into/Out of converting.

Third Take-Away

One NextStage client was boasting about the 35%+ gains they received based on various NextStage tool recommendations at a recent conference.


1 – Normally, NextStageologists (our consultants who help clients) look at site pages as a last resort because the moment someone looks at something they form an opinion and that opinion changes the observer and what is observed forever. Our own prejudices, likes, dislikes and personal requirements are the last thing clients need when they ask us to help them redesign their pages.

In the case of NextStageologists, we actively guard against our unknown biases and prejudices affecting our understanding of the reports or what they’re reporting on. We may ask about form and function but rarely content.

2 – V9 is one of NextStage’s RichPersonaeTM designations. NextStage’s RichPersonaeTM do not necessarily map one-to-one to other psych-behavioral systems.

3 – NextStage also offers client specific and customized trainings. Contact us for information.

Looking for Love? Now You Can Find All the Right Places!
(On the Evolution of Tools)


The NextStage LoveJones ToolI published What Kind of Lover Are You (And Can You Improve)? on That Think You Do and introduced The NextStage LoveJones Tool (NSLJ)1 last Friday (2 Dec 2011).

History

There’s a bit of history behind that tool, some of which is documented in How Do You Define ‘Love’?. In a nutshell, several years back a personals site asked if we could produce a tool that would determine if people would fall in lust. They called it “love” and when we talked with them at length their greater interest was lust.

Lust — or Erotic love — is immediate, tends to be satisfying due to its extreme psychosensual and endorphin stimulating nature (sex is good exercise in case you didn’t know) and — the best part as far as personals sites are concerned — lustful relationships tend to be temporary. Participants tend to tire of each other quickly because once you get past the magic whumpa whumpa there’s not much holding the relationship together. I should also point out that there’s lots of studies indicating 17-30yos primarily want this kind of relationship (sometimes called “f’ckbuddies”) and an analysis of TXT traffic in this age group bears this out. This generation’s momentary pairings purely for tension release make my generation’s barhopping look lame.

The goal of most personals sites is to have people return frequently to queue up for their next go-round. Long term relationships don’t generate a lot of income for personals sites. Yes, they advertise successful long term pairings because the majority of people frequenting such sites are in a state of “hope”, hence market to that hope.

The reality is that such sites profit when people fall in and out of lust or like and definitely not love. The personals sites’ goals, in other words, is to have people make long term commitments to the site, not to people they’ve met through the site because such sites don’t profit if you find the love of your life, they only profit if you find the love of your night, week or month at best.

Anyway, determining such things was beyond ET’s2 ability at the time. However, developing ET-based tools that determined people’s suitability for each other seemed so doable that we kept returning to it through the years.

aHA! Moments

NextStage OnSite Visitor Analysis ToolEventually we figured it out. We didn’t realize we had figured it out at first. We got our first inkling that the problem was solved when we released our NextStage OnSite3 (NSOS) demo. Normally NextStage OnSite reports on visitor activity en masse. The breakthrough was in isolating and reporting on unique visitors.

aHA!Isolating and reporting on unique visitors wasn’t a breakthrough so much as it was a remembering of how ET was originally purposed; to help individual students better understand course material. That form of ET monitored some highly specific aspects of memory and cognition of individual visitors/students. It was while modifying those ET elements for a specific NSOS client that we had our aHA! moment.

We had lots of data (both our own and from a variety of other researchers) on how the brain maps “love” to specific regions, to what degree, at what levels and so on. All that was necessary on our end was to develop the neuromathematics that translated those neural firings to psychomotor behavioral cues (both gross and fine) and then test test test.

Meanwhile, Back at the Barn…

NextStage SampleMatchWhile this was going on, we released our NextStage SampleMatch Tool4. Whenever we release a new tool we get lots of emails about how that tool could be used, specifically how it could be used in ways we never thought of.

Case in point,

Can your SampleMatch tool show me where I’ll find people I’ll like, maybe even someone to fall in love with? …

Well…that wasn’t what it was designed for, and…hmm…yes, it could.

More accurately, it could give you an idea where you’ll find like-minded people, people you’re most likely to get along with.

So while we were testing testing testing the NextStage LoveJones tool we also realized some it’s outputs could be used as inputs to our SampleMatch tool and, as they say…

…the Quest Was On!

NextStage PersonaScope reveals details about individual thinking patterns, behaviors and motivationsOne of the things NextStage LoveJones determines (although it doesn’t report it) is the user’s RichPersona5. RichPersonae are reported by NextStage PersonaScope (NSPS).

Using myself as a test subject, I ran an earlier version of this post through PersonaScope tool to get an idea of how I was thinking, behaving, responding, what was motivating me and so on. NextStage’s PersonaScope tool indicated that I was a V9 RichPersona (Personality Type). This is also known as an ENTJ in some psych profiling systems.

NextStage's PersonaScope thinks evaluated me as a V9 Personality TypeBut a V9? I know a lot about V9 RichPersona/Personality Types because PersonaScope tool tells me a great deal about such things. Basically, at that moment in time and based on what I’d been doing at that point in time, I wasn’t a pleasant person to be around6. Note: We suggest PersonaScope users prevent one bad piece from dominating an analysis of themselves or others by gathering several pieces together into one file, say some emails or blog posts written over several months, maybe 7-10 total, then put them through PersonaScope.

NextStage's RichPersonae Wheel - Click for larger imageMoving ever onward, the next step was to take a look at NextStage’s RichPersonae Wheel. Not quite a Wheel of Fortune and perhaps close in this case. (Note that the image on the right is a simplified version of our RichPersonae Wheel)

For the purposes of using SampleMatch to find a soul mate, life partner, significant other, special someone, …, the next question is “Do I believe Likes attract or do I believe Opposites attract?”

This question is significant because Likes versus Opposites indicates where you should look on the wheel to determine the RichPersonae of those significant others.

Likes Attract - Click for larger imageLet’s say for our example that you learn you’re an A19 Personality Type and you believe Likes attract. You should look for people with A18, A19 and A20 Rich Personae. People with Rich Personae further and further away from A19 are increasingly less likely to make an A19 personality type happy.

Opposites Attract - Click for larger imageUnless, of course, you believe that opposites attract. Opposites attracting allows our A19 personality type to select from a V6, V7 and V8 personality types.

Therefore the next question in the queue is “Is this user a like or opposite type of person?” That’s actually determined in the RichPersonae. My (at that time) V9 RichPersona was very much an opposites attract type of person. Our A19 example is a likes attract type of person.

The Need to KISS

Possible Attractions - Click for larger imageAt this point we sat back a bit. “Okay, we need the visitor to first use PersonaScope to determine their RichPersona, then they need to know if the response indicates a Like or Opposite personality type, then how to map the response to either a “Likes” or “Opposites” on the RichPersonae Wheel, then what? Are we going to ask them to breakdance on their tablets while singing the Oratorio from Carmen? Backwards? In Spanglish?”

We realized that yes, requiring users/visitors to navigate such a solution path violated our own rules and observations regarding how people use tools (not just ours, everybodies’). The best way to get the largest number of people to use anything is to KISS, the “Keep It Simple, Smeadley” rule that’s on each of our tools as Use: Pure and simple, you login, [either upload a file or enter an URL], click on submit and get your result. Clean, quick, simple and neat because we like it that way.

Eventually we decided that ET could figure all this out and without asking the user any questions at all, simply report back the most likely geographic locations where the user might find compatible life-partners. No questions, only results.

And the Winner Is…

Introducing The NextStage LoveFinderSo we developed The NextStage LoveFinder (NSLF) that automatically performs all the steps outlined above. Literally, all you need to do is login and it determines where on the globe you’re most likely to find compatible life-partners.

So if you notice any mass migrations over the next few years…

And we’re also waiting to see if there are certain places where anyone is most likely to be lucky.

The above, by the way, is how tools evolve here at NextStage; either clients make a request or ask a question and we’re off, or sometimes we just go exploring because we’re researchers and that’s what we like to do.

Currently we’re working on two new tools, one directly requested by a NextStage member and the other hinted at by another NextStage member (although they didn’t know it at the time).

And we continue to improve all our existing tools, too.

Busy us, yes?

True TriQuatro

Beta tests and current use of NextStage LoveJones are indicating that culture plays a great role in how people interact with their partners. Fascinating stuff, this, we thinks!


The NextStage LoveJones Tool1 – The NextStage LoveJones tool measures a bunch of factors and determine what, if anything, the user could do to improve their relationship with their life-partner(s).

2 – If you’re new to this blog or NextStage in general, ET is Evolution Technology, something we designed and developed, now being used in over 70 countries worldwide, and is capable of determining and responding to human thoughts through any human-machine interface.

NextStage OnSite Visitor Analysis Tool3NextStage OnSite is a site visitor analysis tool that provides qualitative and quantitative information about visitors well beyond traditional analytics. OnSite even evaluates bounces and lets you know why visitors bounced. OnSite requires only that a simple JavaScript tag be inserted between the </BODY> and </HTML> tag on each page you want monitored. The basic version consists of thirty reports that determine various psychological (“{C,B/e,M} matrix” or “cognitive, behavioral/effective and motivational”) factors about visitors, all of which provide suggestions for improving site conversion. You can learn more on the NextStage OnSite About page.

NextStage SampleMatch4NextStage SampleMatch (NSSM) analyzes NextStage OnSite data collected worldwide and determines the RichPersonae of geographic regions. Clients use this location specific RichPersonae information to insure their marketing material is designed correctly for the available audience.

NextStage PersonaScope reveals details about individual thinking patterns, behaviors and motivations5 – “RichPersona” is the high level concept of an individual {C,B/e,M} (Cognitive, Behavioral/effective, Motivational) matrix. People are always demonstrating how they think (“Cognitive”), how they act based on how they think (“Behavioral/effective), and how how they think motivates (“Motivational”) them to behave as they do. NextStage currently indices 144 RichPersona for most cultures although that number can be significantly higher for specific audiences (east Asian audiences, for example). NextStage’s PersonaScope (NSPS) tool analyzes material and reports RichPersona in depth.

6 – It’s probably worth knowing that we eat our own dog food here at NextStage, so to speak. I took a moment to determine if I really was demonstrating V9 characteristics and yes, I was. Okay, time to put things down or away and go take care of myself so that I would be a better person to be with for both myself and those around me.

I realized my schedule at the time was somewhat harried and that I was putting demands on myself that were both unnecessary and excessive, nor was it making life much fun for everybody else. I took control back and feel better for it (and I’m told so do those around me).

NextStage Tool Previews in the Members Area

I mentioned in Next Tool Releases from NextStage that we’d be releasing some new tools in the coming months, some of which are being previewed in the NextStage Members area (probably a good reason to become a member, access to tools in the development stage, a chance to shape them before release, discounts on their use thereafter, …)

  • NSPM – NextStage PersonaMap works much like NSPS – NextStage PersonaScope in that it determines behavioral, psychological, cognitive and strategy factors of individuals. It is different in that it uses data collected by NSOS – NextStage OnSite rather than having you submit an individual’s material for analysis. NextStage PersonaMap lists some industries ET has knowledge of, you pick one and it reports how web, print and video material should be designed to capture that audience and what traits any personae should have if designed for this audience. It also lists known Myers-Briggs Equivalents.
  • NSPE – NextStage Predictive Echo scans web server logs and previous web pages to determine how visitors were thinking, determines how much of your audience was getting your message historically, then makes suggestions for your next design efforts.
  • NSSM – NextStage SampleMatch lists psychologic and behavioral traits about visitors to various sites we monitor worldwide. The information is presented in regional, industry, time and gender based formats. This information is useful when designing marketing and creative material for specific audiences. More industries, locations, etc., will be available as we have time and before the tool is launched. The tool updates once every 24 hours.
  • NSVG – NextStage Veritas Gauge uses data from NSOS – NextStage OnSite to determine how many visitors to sites are entering truthful information online to blogs, comments, forms, etc.

Enjoy!