Ever notice how certain things you do at your day job seem to integrate themselves into your everday life? A perfect example is the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80-20 rule, the Longtail, the Zipf law or the Power Law. Whatever you know it as, it has become very well known to the internet industry due to the www's ability to offer greater choice and inventory than previously possible in a brick and mortar store. For the sake of this article, I'll be referring to the Pareto principle as the Longtail rule.
For those interested the Longtail rule, it's represented by the 80% of low demand products/inventory in relation to the remaining high demand 20%. In other words, 80% of effects come from only 20% of causes. In fact, the origin of the Pareto principle came from Italy, where Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the income in Italy went to only 20% of the population.
In internet marketing, this same rule applies. Specifically in SEM, 20% of your keywords generate 80% of your traffic. That 20%, known as your 'head' keywords, usually consist of your branded terms or terms that relate directly to your product or service, rightly delivering your best traffic. The remaining 80% of your keywords are your 'long tail', characterized by low traffic offering and (as has been statistically proven) much higher conversion rates due to their specificity. An example is searching for 'DVD players' (a 'head' term) versus a search for 'Black Toshiba DVD player XD-1903 Brighton'.
So, as I work with keywords all day long, I start to do what anyone would do - I start seeing the same long tail/zipf law/power law/Pareto principle in my everyday life. I know it's a bit sad, but it's just unavoidable! Here are just a few, but please if you have any to add, feel free!
- All great music albums seem to have 20% of their tracks that contribute to 80% of your listening time.
- iPod playlists. See above, same applies.
- 20% of the numbers in my mobile phone receive 80% of my calls.
- Emails. Same as above, but reversed. 80% of the emails I receive are from 20% of the people I know.
- Facebook friend activity - same as above.
- 20% of people commenting on any given blog contribute 80% of the comments
- Websites I frequent. 20% of the sites I visit represent 80% of my online behaviour.
- 80% of the cars on the road are made by 20% of the car manufacturers
- 80% of the personal computers around the world are made by (less than) 20% of computer companies. Obviously the same goes for OS'!
- 80% of the mobile phones we use are made by less than 20% of mobile manufacturers.
- TV channels. 80% of my watching is done on 20% of the channels (namely Setanta Sport!)
- 80% of the tweets I read are made my 20% of the tweeters I follow.
This list can go on and on. Feel free to comment with your own and I'll add them in.
I never said there was much point this post, but hey, its fun putting what I do at work into context of my everyday life.