Junk Science, the QWERTY Effect, Google Privacy and More

| May 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

Yet more chronic junk science in the cosmetics industry, this time from Clarins. Plus the QWERTY effect, smartphone conversion rates and Google Privacy. Here’s some news from the amazing world of marketing.

Clarins’ junk science – Breaking nonsense

Clarins cosmetics are very expensive. Fair enough, if that’s what floats your boat. But that’s no excuse for descending into the realms of unscientific nonsense.

Their Instant Light make-up range carries an extraordinary message. Apparently the ‘3D Radiance pigment’ it contains optically ‘splits’ light into three dimensions to enhance facial beauty. The quotation marks around the word ‘splits’ are a mystery, as is the exact nature of the dimensions the light is split into and the split light’s ability to ‘enhance facial beauty’. In short, it’s nonsense. It’s high time the cosmetics industry stopped fibbing.

The weird power of the QWERTY effect

Did you know the layout of the QWERTY keyboard influences how people feel about certain words? Apparently we feel a whole lot more positive about words that major on letters from the right hand side of the keyboard. The effect takes in letters y, h and n onwards, moving right, and has been noticed in both English and Dutch speakers.

There’s more. It looks like baby names with more letters from the right hand side of the keyboard became a whole lot more popular after the 1960s, when the QWERTY keyboard went mainstream. Odder still, the effect seems to be widespread right across the internet. Positive online reviews contain more letters from the keyboard’s right hand side than the left. On the other hand products with names that contain more letters from the right side of the keyboard don’t display the effect.

Why do we tend to prefer words containing more right hand letters? Nobody knows. Can you harness it for marketing? No idea. But the challenge of working out which words major on left hand letters probably precludes taking advantage… unless someone creates an algorithm to suggest right hand alternatives to lefty words.

More people buying stuff via smartphones

Like many people I tend to research products on my smartphone and actually do the buying bit on my desktop. I do it because the smartphone screen is too small to see the fine detail of the items I’m buying, I don’t feel smartphones are intrinsically secure enough for financial transactions, and because apps just don’t contain enough detail to drive an informed buying decision. The Ebay app for Android, for example, feels pretty thin compared to the wealth of choices, filters and information you get on the desktop site.

It looks like things might be changing, according to Marin Software. They’ve discovered search conversions on smartphones up 10% on last year, display conversions up 26%, clicks up 13% and impressions up 10%. And they reckon mobile social conversions will be up 50% by the end of 2016. It looks like shopping on smartphones is on the way to becoming the norm.

Google privacy takes one step forwards, two steps back

At last, Google has taken data protection concerns to heart. On the rare occasions I use Chrome, I get the following message:

To be consistent with data protection laws, we’re asking you to take a moment to review key points of Google’s Privacy Policy. This isn’t about a change that we’ve made – it’s just a chance to review some key points. We’ll need you to do this in order to continue using Google services.

Hm. Okay. So I go through the process, disagree with their data use statement, click ‘other options’ and turn off all the ways in which they want to use my data to inform my search results. So far, so good. Then I find out that for Google to remember my preferences I have to stay signed into my Google account. Aha, so that’s the catch.

Ideally I would like to be able to choose my options using one simple statement: Is it OK for Google to use your data, yes or no? And I don’t want to have to stay signed into my Google account to make it happen. It’s a start, but not a very good one. So I’m sticking with Firefox’s Private Window option, so much simpler.

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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