Four short links: 15 March 2013

Search Ads Meh, Hacked Website Help, Web Design Sins, and Lazy Correlations

  1. Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment (PDF) — We find that new and infrequent users are positively influenced by ads but that existing loyal users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by paid search account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative. We discuss substitution to other channels and implications for advertising decisions in large firms. eBay-commissioned research, so salt to taste. (via Guardian)
  2. Google’s Help for Hacked Webmasters — what it says.
  3. 14 Lousy Web Design Trends Making a Comeback Thanks to HTML 5 — “mystery meat icons” a pet bugbear of mine.
  4. The Human Microbiome 101 (SlideShare) — SciFoo alum Jonathan Eisen’s talk. Informative, but super-notable for “complexity is astonishing, massive risk for false positive associations”. Remember this the next time your Big Data Scientist (aka kid with R) tells you one surprising variable predicts 66% of anything. I wish I had the audio from this talk!
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