Book Review: “We Are What We Click”

As Bill Tancer says, in the last five words of his book, Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters — “We are what we click.” In other words, you can draw a profile of people by looking at online behavior — what they type into search engines, what sites they visit… It is the kind of market research that your grandparents’ generation could only have imagined, even for “real world” applications. For example, as Tancer explains, if you own a store that sells prom dresses, brick and mortar or otherwise, and you assume the biggest promotional or sales season  is April/May, you would be wrong. (For prom dresses it’s actually January.)

Like any good storyteller, Tancer starts his tale with some sex — Chapter One is entitled PPC, as in “Porn, Pills, and Casinos.” Fun fact: the domain www.sex.com has generated upwards to $750,000 per month in PPC revenue. A self-employed software salesman registered sex.com in 1994. The domain was subsequently stolen from him, but he eventually got it back. Another fun fact: Twenty-percent of all email spam is for Viagra.

“How to” questions are nearly 3% of all search-engine queries in the United States. That may give you some ideas when you are marketing your business. The internet has fundamentally changed the nature of marketing itself. As one hotel executive told Tancer, “I use to rely on my brand to keep my hotel full.” Now he spends his time keeping up with TripAdvisor.

Studying the internet like this is new, and potentially very powerful. You can start making predictions, based on what people are doing online. More to the point — as an associate of Tancer says — you aren’t so much making predictions as finding out about stuff before everybody else does. The author explains how he has used his research to pick the winners of reality TV shows. And by examining the early adopters of today’s biggest websites, you could, potentially, predict the big websites of the future. Another important part of internet marketing: the superconnectors of social marketing — the increasing power of sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Tancer is a statistics geek and sometimes his excitement for the stats can get into dry territory, but overall we find this amazing material. He works for Hitwise, a firm that concentrates on this type of research. As we have said before, most of your competitors have no idea about this stuff; they probably don’t even think to care. Meanwhile, our copy of Click is highlighted with all kinds of notes and ideas. POP QUIZ: If you are a common celebrity ( female, particularly), what is the #1 thing you can do that will catapult you straight to the top of celebrity-world? In this book, Tancer reveals what it is…. hint: Paris Hilton did it…

Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters

(review by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

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