Fun with Multi-Channel Fun-nels

Jared Sloan Blog, Marketing Measurement Leave a Comment

Google Anaytics is great.  What marketer doesn’t want to have a bunch of data that maps out exactly how users interact with their site?  When implemented correctly, there is SO much data that can be rolled up into the interface.  And as if Google wanted to say; “No big deal.  It should be every marketer’s natural right to have access to this stuff.”  It’s free.

That said, there are many tools and features in the interface that are often overlooked or underutilized.  Let’s take this space of the internets to talk about one, the Multi-Channel Funnel.

To cover the basics, when a user comes to your site and buys something or completes an important interaction (like signing up to receive emails) it’s called a conversion.  Most of the time a user won’t complete a conversion the first time they visit your site, but no worries, because we have the Multi-Channel Funnel to help us figure out all the different channels they may have used in the journey to conversion.  So what?  A better understanding of what role channels play in the conversion path can help marketers to properly allocate spend toward the channels that support the goals of each campaign.

Sounds good, right?  Let’s get into it.

Assisted Conversions Report

By default, Google Analytics reports use the Last Click Non-Direct method to determine what channel gets credit for each conversion.  That’s a good place to start, but let’s say 75% of the conversions for your site are attributed to the direct channel and most of those direct conversions are preceded by a visit from Paid Search.  If you’re only studying conversion rates you may overlook the important role that Paid Search plays earlier in the conversion funnel.  Using the Assisted Conversions Report, you can easily see if a channel is more likely to assist a conversion or complete a conversion.  The “assisted / last click” ratio that Google calculates is a great at-a-glance measurement to monitor the role of each channel.  If the value is close to zero then the channel is most likely to convert.  If the value is close to 1 then the channel is equally likely to convert and assist.  If the value is higher than 1 the channel is more likely to assist.

Okay, so what should we do with that information?  I use this tool as a starting place when trying to understand the funnel.  It provides some great top-line information that I use to interact more efficiently with some of the other reports.  Let’s go back to that 75% direct scenario.  It would be easy to see the importance of Paid Search as an assisting channel because the ratio would be greater than 1 and the number of assisted conversions would be high.  I would then use the next tool to better understand the specific paths that users are taking when completing a conversion.

Top Conversion Paths Report

The top conversion path report is a fan favorite.  It’s easy to understand and has pretty colors assigned to each channel.  Using this report, you can easily determine the path that most users use when completing a conversion.  By default, the report is set to show path lengths that are greater than 2 but it’s easy to adjust the path length using the drop down menu near the top of the report.

The feature that I like using the most on this report is “Conversion Segment.”  You can find it near the top-left corner of the report.  It allows you to divide your conversions into buckets based on specific criteria.  For example, let’s use that 75% direct scenario one more time.  Now that I know Direct is a strong converting channel and Paid Search is a strong assisting channel, I can sort the conversions using the conversion segment tool to see how Paid and Direct are working together in those roles.  Here is a step-by-step of how I would create a segment that shows that group of conversions:

  1. Click on conversion segment and then select “create new conversion segment”
  2. Name the segment something like: Paid Assist to Direct Convert
  3. Set the criteria to include Assisting Interactions with MCF Channel Grouping matching Paid Search
  4. Create a second conversion path option using the “and” that is set to include Last Interactions with MCF Channel Grouping matching Direct
  5. Save Segment

I find that it comes in handy if you note the total number of conversions for the time period you’re viewing before segmenting the data.  It will just give you some context when viewing the smaller buckets of conversion paths.

The amount of actionable data that can be derived from the multi-channel funnel reports is off the charts.  So the next time you’re staring at conversion rate and wondering what you can do to better understand purchase behavior on your website, don’t forget about these gems at the bottom of GA.  Last click is a good snapshot, but the entire picture could look completely different.

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