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Sometimes logic is tough

. Pete

First, a video:

President Bartlet, being a nerd.

"Well, we find that customers who engage with the experience, use filters on the search results and subcat pages, tend to convert more. If we find a way to increase engagement with the filters, I think we can up conversion. Let's take a look at that."

This snippet overheard recently on a phone call for the Conversion Task Force I sit on. My ears perked up. As a child I'd had a Jesuit education, and logical crazytalk tended to remind me of stern looks, and brandished rulers.

I was disappointed by the choruses of "Definitely!" that came next. Visions of raised wooden rulers followed, and I thought I heard someone mutter a Hail Mary.

Post hoc ergo proptor hoc


The above is a bit of Latin that described a logical fallacy; translated it comes out to be 'After the fact, therefore -because- of the fact." It's the idea that just because something follows after something that came first, that first something caused the following occurrence. It's crazy talk, of course. Ask any Jesuit.

I have a teacher friend of mine that recently pointed out another instance of this. Apparently, kids that take AP Physics do better in college. So in an effort to help more kids do better in college, my friend's school was trying to shoehorn as many kids into AP Physics as possible, adding extra sections.


AP Physics probably doesn't cause better grades, and shooting kids through high-end physics classes if they shouldn't be there is probably no way to move the college GPA ball.

Similarly, I'm not sure people convert because they diddle with our filters, or convert less because they don't. I think it just as likely that people who come tothe site looking to convert readily make use of the filters to narrow their choices, whereas peeps who had no intention of converting didn't touch the filters because they really weren't so invested.

I am assuming some things myself, here. And I think our filters do need a bit of tweaking, and ironically conversion would probably go up if we made them easier to use. But "getting more people to use our filters so that they'll convert" sounds wrong to me. There's also some thought around the idea of putting these filters up higher in the visual hierarchy, moving them from the left up to just under the header.

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