Reading your responses it’s clear we all looked at the images in the search result. We completely ignored the top 4 paid search result spots. This is both a problem for the advertiser (who is spending top dollar for these spots) and a testament to the power of visuals (our remarkable human processes visuals 58,000x faster than text).
What’s also interesting is that most of us first noticed the non-traditional fan images on the extreme right column. The one I fixated on was
What’s relevant to this discussion is that the non-traditional fan images we focused on are NOT Big Ass Fans. Even though I was doing a targeted branded search term (Big Ass Fans) once the search results appeared the brand name didn’t matter, the search intent did (air circulation fans). This is a big detail.
Our brain’s fascination with unexpected things (in this case the two strange shaped fans) is incredible. For me, the sway was so strong I didn’t notice anything else.
The mistake marketers make is that if the sales of those 2 odd-shaped fans are low they will be dropped from this placement. I think that’s a bad call. These eye-catching items are called anchor products and their job is the pull the curious browsers in (in this case build.com). It’s unlikely buyers will ultimately buy these oddly shaped fans (Big Ass Fans doesn’t make these shapes) but once they’re on build.com it’s 20% more likely they’ll stay on build.com (and likely buy some product there).
So instead of looking at the # of units of anchor products sold the metric I’d look at how many $$ dollars in overall sales they generated on my site (irrespective of what was ultimately purchased, which will likely be a more traditional fan). The key goal for Build.com is to take someone looking for Big Ass Fans, apply a Jedi mind trick, and make them forget all about Big Ass Fans. And to do this without marketing a discount tag.
Would love to hear your thoughts on my thesis. Please comment below