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How Precise Percentage Numbers Can Boost Your Sales

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In Today’s Issue:

🔣 Precise, non-rounded discounts like 12.5% instead of 13% increase purchase intentions by up to 18%.

🔍 Meta recommends open-ended questions on Threads for more engagement

🎁 86% of holiday shoppers prioritize on-time gift delivery.

🛠️ Facebook to remove 'Hobbies' section from user profiles starting December 13th to streamline profile displays.

⏱️ YouTube implements load delays to combat ad blockers, with some users experiencing waits of more than five seconds.

🛌 Mattress CEO posts about a spike in low-quality sleep in SF, linking it to OpenAI drama.

Today's Big Reveal: NewsBreak's Ad Manager Launches Max Conversion Bidding!

Tap into NewsBreak's new AI-driven platform to smartly maximize conversions and reach untapped high-potential users, all within your daily budget.

SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT
Rounded Discounts Could Be Hurting Your Sales

So you’re putting your holiday marketing plans together, deciding on price points for some of your products. You drop one of them by $50 which ends up being a reduction of 15.3% of the regular price.

“Well,” you think, “That’s a mouthful. Better just say 15%.”

New research in the Journal of Consumer Psychology has found that rounding off your discount could cost you sales.

The scientists behind the study did four experiments — one example was a hard drive that was priced at 7% for some people, and 6.8% for others — those who saw the latter said they were 13% more likely to buy it.

And let’s not forget — 13% is often in the make-or-break range for profitability.

Why does this happen? Here’s what the researchers think is going on:

We consider precise ideas and concepts (e.g. a specific price of $4.87 versus $5) to be more likely to change over time.

On the other hand, round numbers seem more ‘stable’ and signal that they are likely to last for a longer time (e.g. a permanent student discount policy).

So when we come across a precise discount, we have an increased fear of missing out on a deal.

This increased sense of urgency makes us more likely to buy right away.

Don’t Go Overboard

But don’t load up on all the tricks… If you try to also throw in some time pressure, like “Today only!”, the effect on sales is actually weaker.

The Catches

  • The study only looked at products that were bought for their function and utility, not products bought for enjoyment or to satisfy emotion. Some previous research has found that people prefer round prices when buying hedonic products.

  • Plus, they only tested percentages, not dollar amounts. So it’s not clear whether saying “$8.13 off” is better than rounding to $8.

  • Finally, the study looked at relatively small discounts in the 10% range, so you might want to test your own discounting if you plan to have a stronger offer than those.

The study notes that most companies aren’t doing it this way — most round off their discounts. When they do use a precise number, it tends to be for cheaper products. The higher the price-point, the more likely they are to start rounding.

The paper is in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. It’s called “Can rounding up price discounts reduce sales?

THE TRICK WE ALWAYS FORGET
Want More Views on Threads? Start a Conversation.

With Elon Musk’s X imploding, some brands are turning to Threads — that’s Meta’s challenger to what was once Twitter.

Threads usage is on the rise, and to that end, the company recently revealed what so far is driving the most engagement.

A Meta marketing director told attendees at the CreatorIQ Connect conference in Los Angeles that if you want your brand’s Threads content to be picked up more reliably by their algorithm, make a concerted effort in each of your posts to start some kind of conversation with your fans.

This is, of course, advice from ages, but it’s easy to forget when social media content managers also field requests from product teams, putting out corporate news, and trying to jump on memes of the hour. After a while, you can sometimes forget to use the post to ask for some kind of reply.

At our agency, we’ve found that using the green checkmark emoji and the words TELL US in all caps, followed by a conversation prompt, works really well.

What Doesn’t Work

Threads is a new app, even if it is riding on Instagram’s code foundations, so there’s a lot we don’t know about how its content discovery algorithm works.

  • We do know, though, that re-posts don’t get the same amplification that they do on other platforms.

  • And those “Dear algorithm” posts where people list their interests, in an attempt to get content about those topics flowing to their feed? Yeah, Meta says those don’t work either.

Topic Tags

Threads is also testing out “topic tags” which are sort of like hashtags, but rather than you being able to link any words as a tag, you’ll pick from a pre-determined list of topics provided by the app. That’s a bummer for brands who use branded hashtags or ride alongside some obscure topics.

Topic tags are being tested right now in Australia.

DELIVERY DECISIONS
Top Delivery Priorities for Holiday Shoppers

A recent survey highlights the top delivery priorities for holiday shoppers, with on-time delivery of gifts being the most critical aspect for 86% of respondents.

In addition to that obvious finding, it also found that 73% of shoppers consider it important for brick-and-mortar stores to offer delivery options.

If traveling for the holidays, 40% would want their online purchases delivered to their destination. And almost three in 10 said they’ll have most or all their gifts delivered.

It should be noted that the survey was conducted by the delivery service Shipt, so of course they have “a dog in the race.” The survey polled 3,000 U.S. adults who celebrate a winter holiday.

Another recent study found that almost two-thirds of consumers expect brands to use sustainable materials for shipping, and 30% said they’ll procrastinate their holiday shopping into either early December or even the week before Christmas.

HOBBIES
Facebook to Remove “Hobbies” on User Profiles

When Mark Zuckerberg first launched Facebook, it had a whole bunch of fields you could fill out to describe yourself — birthday, gender, relationships, hometown, and so on.

In 2019, they added hobbies.

That became a pretty good source of targeting data for advertisements. List that you like shoes, and you’d start seeing a lot of shoe ads. Those listed hobbies were one of the early sources of interest data used for ads campaigns on the platform.

Has AI Killed Hobby/Interest Targeting?

But ad technology has matured, it’s much more about signals interpreted by machine learning, and now Meta confirmed this week it will be removing Hobbies on user profiles in mid-December — all part of an effort to scale back how much information is on user profiles.

In the early days, the hobbies section was actually quite helpful in that you could even click them to find other people interested in the same hobby. Something that was helpful then, and maybe a little creepy in today’s environment.

ENSHITTIFICATION REDUX
YouTube Steps Up Fight Against Ad Blockers

YouTube confirms that it’s artificially throttling the video load times for people who use an ad blocker on the site.

This is the latest in a slow push toward getting people off ad blockers and pointing people to YouTube’s premium subscription — one I pay for only because that’s the only way to get picture-in-picture on my phone, and no I’m not happy about it.

These new load-time delays are five seconds or more.

In a statement to media, YouTube said:

To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience.

Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.

YouTube

That last sentence apparently a reference to the fact that some people noticed the slowdown wasn’t quite as slow if you're using Google’s Chrome browser.

According to research by Tinuiti, almost 1 in 3 American adults use browser-based ad blockers, and that number is steadily growing.

How do you use YouTube personally?

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AND FINALLY…
Somebody Give This Marketing Person a Raise

You may have been following all the drama around the ouster of OpenAI’s CEO. I won’t catch you up here; it’s all over everywhere else.

But here’s a genius exploitation of the moment by a smart mattress company that sells a mattress topper that can analyze your sleep.

The company’s CEO posted this yesterday on social media:

But as 404Media pointed out:

Eight Sleep’s data does not and cannot actually show that “San Francisco” had a spike in low-quality sleep.

What it shows is that people in San Francisco who have purchased a $2,295 smart mattress topper and have not successfully opted out of Eight Sleep’s analytics—a group that surely overindexes on tech workers—slept less Sunday night.

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