Whether you're a bootstrapping start-up or Fortune 500, the ability to accurately measure marketing results is imperative when it comes to deciding which efforts are actually driving sales and conversions.
Measurement is fundamental to ROI-focused marketing and tools such as Google Analytics provide Web solutions that can offer rich insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness. The idea is to help marketers write better-targeted ads, strengthen marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.
For example, whenever someone purchases or converts on your website, conversion tracking tools automatically credit either the most recent link followed or ad clicked. The problem is that more often than not customers take a more circuitous route that leads them to this decision. It is more than likely multiples steps were made before the conversion took place.
Now Google Analytics has retooled its reporting tool a with a Multi-channel Funnels feature that reports the digital path consumers take before they complete a purchase. Formerly Google Analytics only recorded the form of advertising that closed the sale, but the improvements now document the string of advertisements that contributed to the purchase.
Previously with Analytics, an email address would be credited with a sale or conversion even though it was the converging of different advertising channels that ultimately led to a decision. With the Multichannel Funnels feature, marketers will be able to see all of the digital channels that led to the end result of a user making the purchase, including the pop up ad and the internet search.
This means marketers can now see all the ad forms and referral sites that preceded a sale. Until now, Google Analytics had only provided last-click data, which meant reports gave credit to the last ad clicked prior to a purchase.
This five piece system gives marketers insight into the full path to conversion over a 30 day period, not simply the last click.
How it works
In essence, marketers measuring return solely on the last channel a customer touches before conversion are getting an incomplete picture, and potentially missing out on important opportunities to reach their customers when purchase decisions are made via multiple touch points across multiple channels.
Google has been working with several companies using a pilot program and report customers are gaining “valuable insight into the buying-cycle and understand the often hidden contribution of channels like social and display to conversions."
The idea of monitoring interactions across most digital media channels, including clicks from paid and organic searches, affiliates, social networks, and display ads, to help marketers understand how different channels work together to create sales and conversions is encouraging.
One partner, HUGO BOSS, uncovered significant contributions from upper funnel efforts, helping to better inform marketing strategy, according to Google.
"Knowing more about how our customers find us is very important, and this data helps us make better decisions. We found out that nearly two out of every three conversions involves more than one touch point,” said Patrick Berresheim, director e-Commerce/CRM for HUGO BOSS. “It's now possible to value the contributions of assisting channels, which had previously been hidden by looking only at the last click.”
According to Google, anyone using Google Analytics on a website, and have goals or e-commerce tracking enabled, can begin using the reports by clicking on the My Conversions tab, with no further setup required. AdWords customers should make sure to link AdWords and Analytics accounts to get the most detail on your ads performance. The complete data is available in the reports for the past two months, and Google will be expanding to encompass data back through January 2011 in the coming days.