The importance of Google multi-channel funnels for marketers

Web analytics has become a critical tool for marketers, helping them optimise campaigns through greater understanding about the channels that drive success. But often, web analytics doesn’t give the full picture. If you track traffic sources that lead to site conversions, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where visitors came from. But in the vast majority of cases, you won’t know how a customer has been influenced by your wider marketing efforts.

This is because customers that convert are likely to have been to your site, or exposed to your ads on a number of occasions before making a purchase. Maybe the first time it was through a press ad, then they returned when you sent them a triggered email campaign and then finally, they came to your site via search to buy. With traditional conversion tracking it would be search that would be credited with the conversion, despite the fact that your press ad drove the initial interest and your email helped nurture the customer.

For marketers, it’s vital to be able to understand online behaviour prior to the “last click” to get a greater understanding of how online users interact with your brand. It also allows for more accurate budget allocation and helps you understand how all your marketing channels work together to deliver measureable results.

Introducing Google multi-channel funnels…

So it is very exciting to see that Google has launched a new set of reports in Google analytics called multi-channel funnels. This now gives marketers that use Google Analytics access to full conversion paths over a 30-day period, not just the “last click”. If you currently use Google Analytics and have goals or ecommerce tracking enabled, you can go to “My Conversions” and start using this new feature immediately with no other setup necessary.

There have been several providers out there that have attempted to do something similar with a greater or lesser degree of success or accuracy. But Google Analytics is still the tool used by the vast majority of our customers and that is what makes this particularly exciting.

Making sense of user behaviour

User behaviour isn’t linear. Humans are more complex than that. We browse, we research and we weigh everything up before making a decision. It’s like a football team; there are many passes that occur before a goal is scored, but the goal typically gets attributed to the goal scorer, not the rest of the team that made it happen.

And because I work with PPC campaigns for dotsearch, I’m particularly eager to put multi-channel funnels through their paces. Display Advertising (Banners Ads) has often been seen as the poorer cousin of search for a number of reasons, but primarily because it is much harder to measure effectively and because consideration into how it “assists” other activity was never fully examined. Search engines are amazing at demand interception, but there is still a need for demand creation and that’s where display can have a huge role to play.

So the ability to track, measure and report on “assists” is a massive step forward for the marketing industry and one that we are very excited about here at dotdigital.

If you would like help setting up your Google funnels or if you want us to review your Google Analytics see how we can help here.

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