Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Don’t Care… It’s Spooky

You build a web site with valuable content and a strategy to acquire traffic... and you’re on the way to a successful online business.

Simple… yes. Easy…no.

I believe in constant review. See where you are today and where you need to be tomorrow. Web site metrics will provide valuable data to examine how you are progressing.

Study your page views… and average time spent on the site per visitor. Imagine if thousands of people came to your site each day and left within: 30 seconds… yikes that can’t be good for business. Not much of a community exists I’d say.

If this is what your current site stats look like… you are in trouble.

Your site is not engaging the visitor. Perhaps the content is not dynamic… or hasn’t been updated in some time. (Both common mistakes.) You’ll never convert visitors to buyers if your site doesn’t pass the “blink” test.

So what can you do?

Improve the content, keeping the site fresh and current… use engaging headlines, special offers… use video… or what about Site Pal's speaking animated characters or avatars?

I’m sure you’ve seen these talking heads, right?

They seem to be all over the web so they must be working…

In fact, yes, these animated characters have been tested throughout the Internet and generally speaking have shown impressive results.

In the A/B testing I’ve seen… the avatar is added to a site and opens with a short welcoming message to the visitor - between 20 and 25 seconds.

What happens?

Dose this engage the visitor to stay and read more or do they click out in fear?

Surprisingly, Site Pal increased both the page views per visitor and the average time on site in most cases.

And not slightly but a full one minute increase in site time!


The set up is really simple and Site Pal’s allows you to build a host… or avatar based on your choosing. The list of specifics includes the shape and color of the face, hair, lips, nose, age, clothing, and background setting.

A one-year account is just over $100.

The Site Pal characters can also respond to visitor questions and if you use geo-targeting, messages can be varied by geographical location of the visitor.

Conceptually you are personalizing each visitor's experience, and that results in a longer and more involved session. What’s not to like, right?

I don’t like it.

I think it’s spooky. The interaction is contrived and disingenuous. Most importantly… it’s the credibility factor. This kills it.

Does a pre-programmed animated face build your credibility or take away from it?

I think it hurts it.

Your voice needs its own face… your face. This gimmick will only distract from the thematic voice and personality your building.

Test it, because that is what we do, and then let me know your results.

I’m going to pass and I know that is wrong.

I don’t care… it’s too spooky.