The key to achieving solid results with Rapid Microtesting is understanding the concepts of ‘framing’ and ‘bias.’ Without at least a basic understanding of ‘framing’ and ‘bias,’ you will not reach your full potential as an eCommerce entrepreneur.
Implementing framing correctly and eliminating bias completely are integral parts of Intellivy’s philosophy. Intellivy has managed to integrate the concept of framing into its platform by simulating Amazon’s environment. It makes it seem like an immersive shopping experience for the audience answering your poll. As you will read in this blog, this is a form of subconscious framing.
In order to take full advantage of the Rapid Microtesting strategy, it’s essential to understand ‘framing’ and ‘bias.’ This blog will explain both concepts in detail, including written and visual examples.
First, let’s take a look at the definitions. What does the dictionary have to say about framing and bias?
The dictionary defines bias as ‘any tendency which prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question.’
Although framing doesn’t have an entry in the dictionary like bias, Framing Theory has defined it as ‘how something is presented to the audience (called “the frame”) influences the choices people make about how to process that information.’
Since the definitions are described in abstract terms, it’s understandable that you are feeling somewhat confused — if not more confused than at the beginning of this blog. Fear not! At the end of this blog, framing your Rapid Microtests and avoiding bias will be second nature to you.
Someone who knows a lot about framing and bias is Daniel Kahneman. He is the author of the book ‘Thinking, fast and slow.’ We cannot recommend it enough. It’s an invaluable source of information.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of framing: Conscious and subconscious framing. With the following examples, I will illustrate what these two types of framing entail.
Conscious & Subconscious framing
The same facts presented in two different ways can lead to people making different judgments or decisions. Here’s an example.
S O – P is a fragment of a word. Without framing, it means nothing. However, what if I showed you the image of a shower first? Suddenly, you’ll see the meaningless fragment in a completely different light. By putting S O – P in the context of “shower,” you are probably thinking of “soap.”
Now, what if I didn’t show the word “shower,” but instead, I showed you “eat.” You would no longer complete the fragment as “soap” but as “soup.”
This is framing. It’s also known as ‘priming.’ The priming of actions and thoughts is completely unconscious. This means that you’re not always in control of your actions, thoughts, or decisions despite what you think. This is also the reason why framing is so important when you’re creating a Rapid Microtest. Whether you know it or not, you are steering your audience in the direction of a certain answer.
Framing in the context of Intellivy’s Rapid Microtesting
Intellivy has been designed with the concept of framing in mind. It’s not something you, as an Amazon entrepreneur, can see. However, when your Rapid Microtest is running, and an audience is working on answering your questions, the audience will see it. Although the audience will not be aware of it.
When participants from your audience enter the Microtest, they are immersed in a simulated shopping environment. It’s like they are truly shopping for a product, looking for the one they want to buy. The products you added look exactly like the Amazon search result tiles. This creates a context in the mind of the participant. They are immersed in the experience of one of your customers, and they will be able to show you which product they would choose in real life. That is how Intellivy takes advantage of framing.
What about entrepreneurs who have built an eCommerce empire on Walmart or Google Shopping? No worries. Intellivy has thought about you! Intellivy’s design isn’t just able to simulate Amazon’s environment but also Walmart and Google Shopping.
Framing isn’t just a visual matter. It can also be done by providing context in writing. Intellivy has incorporated this by adding a situation to Rapid Microtesting. Every time you create a Rapid Microtest, Intellivy will ask you to provide a situation. The audience will read it before completing the Microtest. It’s the first step in the immersive experience that Intellivy provides. The audience will start to imagine themselves as the customer by reading the situation. This is framing.
Every situation can be written via this formula: “Imagine you have [problem], and you found out there was a solution like [solution], which of these products you would buy and why?”
Here’s an example of a situation written by an entrepreneur selling dog food: You are the owner of an elderly dog with osteoporosis. The vet has recommended dog food enriched with protein and vitamin E. You are searching on Amazon for dog food according to the vet’s advice. These are your search results. Which of these products would you buy and why?
Where framing provides context, bias will prevent the audience from completing your Rapid Microtest without prejudice. But without careful consideration, framing can crossover into bias. This needs to be avoided at all costs.
With a biased Microtest, you will end up with results that are unusable. The outcome is unreliable because the audience was steered toward a certain answer — whether or not intentional.
The bad news is that in every Rapid Microtest, there will always be some level of bias. The good news is that 80% of bias can easily be eliminated using common sense. Don’t let the fear of bias keep you from Rapid Microtesting. With the help of a baseline score, you can easily detect bias in your Microtests.
It’s essential to keep this in mind when creating a Rapid Microtest — and it’s not great news:
We are lazy. Or, more specifically, our brains are lazy. We can’t answer complex questions, we make snap judgments, we take shortcuts whenever we can, and we don’t understand statistics. Our brains try to avoid too much cognitive load. For this reason, our brains tend to pick the easiest route. Even if that route is rooted in bias.
As an Amazon entrepreneur endeavouring to improve your business with Intellivy, it’s your job to create Rapid Microtests without bias. So Rapid Microtests should be simple, logical, and focused on one element at a time. Since this is somewhat abstract advice, I’ll elaborate in the next paragraph.
Keep your Rapid Microtest simple. Too much complexity will drive your audience towards the answer that requires the least amount of cognitive effort. Instead of using jargon when writing the situation, keep it simple. An eight-year-old should be able to understand it.
Make sure that your Rapid Microtest can only be interpreted in one way. Don’t leave room for ambiguity. When the audience is responding to the Microtest, the question they answer [i.e. which product would you buy] needs to be straightforward and simple.
- One element at a time
Avoid bias in your Microtest by only testing ONE element at a time. In scientific research, this is called: a single variant. Testing only one element per Microtest will help you to avoid confusion when interpreting the results. Suppose you’re running a Competitive Comparison in which you are trying to determine which one of your product variations is the best. When your product finally wins, there won’t be any doubt as to which element of the product secured the win.
Take a look at the images below to see how bias appears in your Rapid Microtests. The eyes of your audience are drawn automatically to the contrasting image, making it more likely to receive the most clicks. The result is a skewed outcome, and you will not be able to draw solid conclusions from it.
Is my Rapid Microtest potentially biased?
Answer the following question and find out.
Is there one product (or element of a product) that stands out too much compared to the other four products in your Rapid Microtest that look mostly similar?
Did you answer the question with ‘yes’? There is a high chance of bias. Return to the drawing board and figure out what created a bias in your Rapid Microtest. Fix it before running the test in order to get the most reliable results.
Some elements are more susceptible to bias than others. When erasing bias from your Microtest, take a look at the following elements:
Is there one product with a conflicting color? For example, all products have darker colors, like blue or black, while only one product is bright pink. This may be a sign of bias.
Is there one product with a household or well-known brand? For example, are all products with relatively new or unknown brands competing against a big household name, such as Apple, Google, or Kleenex? This may be a sign of bias.
Packaging or accessories:
Is there one product that shows the packaging or other accessories on the image? If the other products don’t have the packaging or accessories included in the image, this may be a sign of bias.
Replace or add a product that is similar to the deviating one. Two similar-looking products will eliminate most of the bias.
Replace the one that stands out with one that looks similar to the other four products that look mostly similar. This option is less optimal, as this will give you less flexibility in modifying your images yourself.
Did you answer the question with ‘no’? Congratulations! There is a low chance of bias. After completing the Rapid Microtest with these images, you will most likely end up with an outcome that’s reliable and useable.