October 28, 2014

Macy's Allegedly Drives $6 In-Store Demand Per $1 Of Search Spend

Yup, click here folks.

We learned this at Nordstrom, way back in 2004-2005 (hint - that's what happens when you have a good database and staff dedicated to measuring store/web dynamics) ... technically, we learned that we drove at least as much volume in-store with search as we drove online. Once you learn that, you invest your money differently. In fact, you can kill a catalog division and not lose sales once you know a fact like that.

Now, this is assuming that the article reflects reality. There are MANY reason to think that the article is biased.

  • The theme of the article shifts from Macy's to a survey to quotes about Google, an organization who significantly benefits from increased search spend.
  • The basis for the findings in the article is a survey of 6,000 individuals. That's nonsense. Both Google and Macy's have millions/billions of individuals to measure reality from. Why ruin that to talk about how 6,000 individuals behave?
  • There are numerous research organizations that are part of the research - stuck in between Macy's and Google.
  • Trade journalists need to make money too - think talking about Macy's and Google attracts eyeballs?
In other words, the analysis is likely to be directionally accurate, and thoroughly biased all at the same time.

The article reflects everything that is right about analyzing data and making good decisions, and everything that is wrong about power, eyeballs, attention, and monetizing outcomes.