If An Ad's Played On A PVR, Does It Make An Impact?
Sometimes a different perspective opens your eyes, as when I received this comment,
"I am the tech support resource for a very wide range of family and friends (and their friends, too!), and I can tell you why Yahoo is the biggest search word at Google, and vice-versa: because nobody understands the difference between the search bar and the URL bar."
I'd cited the search-engine "fact" in a previous post as a cipher for people's techno-ignorance but I'd always assumed that it was a reflection of deliberate actions. CJ's comment raised the possibility that my assumption might not even be the majority cause of those oft-quoted statistics.
Sometimes a different perspective can confuse you, like when I came across the Thinkbox report into TV viewing in the UK.
It presented the seemingly counterintuitive finding that "PVR viewers watch more TV and more ads." It revealed that only 15% of viewing is time-shifted programming and announced that within that 40% of viewers watched the ad breaks at normal speed - no doubt one of the contributions to higher ad impacts.
Now, I wouldn't go as far as to say that if something seems counterintuitive then it's probably wrong, but the cynic in me wonders how much of that is due to viewers who aren't aware that they can fast forward and more seriously whether that proportion will remain that high over time?
Clearly, I don't know what the truth of either situation is, whether any usability gurus have studied the search engine enigma or if there's any way to validate my TV theory, but the point is that assumptions our frequently useless. Don't assume you know why something is happening - especially if research indicates it and/or your business depends on it - make sure you find out why it's happening. Because many things are not as they seem and everyone will try to give you an explanation that is shaped by their world or business view.