Local service A/B test


One method I’ve relied upon to “take the pulse” of an area is finding out where advertisements for informal services such as this tend to post/gather, and what sorts of services tend to be on offer. Of all the posters I’ve seen, though, this one stands out: by understanding which tabs people tore off and comparing it to the file you printed, you gain an understanding of which elements of your service appeal most to people (ostensibly). I wonder if they vary by neighborhood, or context in which they are displayed – as in, would a laundromat in Brooklyn have a different set of the tabs pulled off than a public library in Oklahoma? Or a post office in Copenhagen?

Based on the different offering on tap here, I could imagine a combination of lack of time to do these tasks and a lack of technical knowledge of how to do so being what could motivate someone to at least take one of these tabs. While these service propositions are differently attractive to different people, what if some of them were phrased negatively instead of positively? “Don’t lose all of my files”, “Don’t accidentally delete my memories”, etc. Considering people’s aversion to loss, how might that change potentially-interested consumer behaviors?

This experiment unravels somewhat, of course, if interested parties decide that the effort of taking a specific tab is outweighed by convenience of simply taking the closest tab to the end and then remembering the service (or benefit) you “actually” want from the service provider.

When in the future the wording of ads you’ve reacted most strongly to are scraped, and that information sold to the highest bidder, consider what happens when every ad you see resonates deeply with you – does that change how you consume or value things?


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