This super cool blog has been online for 6 months, and for this half-year life anniversary, I decided to highlight the top 10 posts on this blog based on unique pageviews. So here they are:
1. The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World
2. Canada in the Worldwide Top 3 for Internet Penetration Rate
3. Demystifying Viral Marketing: 7 Myths of Viral Marketing Campaigns
4. The BIXI: What Rocks and What Sucks?
5. Three Types of Convergence: Is the Future Friendly?
6. Pork and beans by Weezer and the 27 YouTube All-stars
7. 5 Questions You Must Answer in a Web Analytics Kickoff Meeting
8. Hockey and Social Networks: The Importance of Teams Members as Social Networks Assets in the NHL
9. A Reply to Mashable: 5 Reasons Why the Cost of Education Will Not Be Zero in The Future
10. Is Twitter the Next Big Thing or the Next MySpace?
Because dedicating an entire post to the single idea of promoting the top posts on this blog would not be complex enough for me, I decided to organize the remainder of this post as an overview of two psychological concepts related to the ranking phenomenon: (1) memory activation and rankings and (2) the consumer’s judgments of rankings.
Memory activation and rankings
Some will maliciously describe rankings as “MBA-format” text because they are already organized and ready to be digested by your brain. So what? Who in the world would prefer to read disorganized texts rather than organized ones? When reading an online text, textual masochism should not generally be an optimal option! Some might say that texts containing rankings sometimes lack depth or present information that should not be presented at the same level of abstraction; I would answer them by saying that this should be considered independently.
Furthermore, in a copywriting fashion, rankings could be considered as an interesting thing to add to any website since they generally ensure that the copywriting is CRABS (Chunking, Relevant, Accurate, Brief, Scannable).
The consumer’s judgments of rankings
Most organizations use rankings to show consumers how good they are in a specific area. However, there is a “science” behind the use of rankings and consumers are more aware than ever of the “science” of taking advantage of rankings. For instance, if a company ranks 10th in a top 30 ranking regarding employees’ satisfaction, will it be to the company’s advantage to highlight that it is in the top 30 regarding employees’ satisfaction or rather to mention that it ranked in the top 10 regarding employees’ satisfaction? The obvious answer will certainly be the second one, and that is what most organizations will opt for.
I remember six months ago, a Ph.D. student presented his dissertation paper at the Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP) meeting and presented how consumers perceive the rank of an organization based on the framing in which the information is presented. Some might think that working for two years on this topic would be worthless for this student, but I personally think that rankings presentation will gain in importance as the web will continue to grow. I also remember reading influential work concerning the effects of price-ending (i.e. last-digit prices) by Professor Robert Schindler of Rutgers University who spent more than 15 years working on this topic, and other influential work on psychology of pricing by Professor Kent B. Monroe when he was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both of these professors research are highly cited and have influenced large corporations. Here is in the table below a summary of how I think an organization should present its ranking.
|What the organization should present …||What the real rank is …|
|Top 10||9 or 10|
|Top 15||14 or 15|
In conclusion, rankings such as “Top 10” are useful in many other ways than only in promoting my Top 10 posts on this blog. So what do you think of rankings? Do you like them or hate them? Do they help you or harm you? Do you think rankings are like poker faces? Anything else to add on this electrifying topic?