Tools for Online Enterprise: Understanding Multi-channel Funnel in Google Analytics for SME’s

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Nowadays, there are a lot of small-to-medium businesses springing up all over the world. As a matter of fact, as of 2010, there are about 125 million SME’s in 132 economies worldwide, making competition very stiff. That’s why having and maintaining an online presence is almost a requirement, because this is probably the most efficient way to get word out about what you have to offer.

The ultimate goal of almost every business website is to generate leads and make people buy their product. To achieve this, plenty of businesses opt to advertise online, ready to do everything they can just to increase traffic to their website. Yet, people are wiser than ever: making every bit of research about the product, asking peers for feedback, even asking for a free sample or trial. Despite all these factors, tracking customers and their behavior can yield higher profits.

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In a world of constant change, knowing if your efforts go to channels that provide more income may be a big factor in extending your business’ lifespan. The Multi-channel Funnel in Google Analytics show which channels work best for you. Its reports enable businesses to keep track of consumer behavior, which can then be utilized to strategically place advertisements, and make changes in efforts that don’t perform well. Google Analytics’ MCF also shows traffic data and conversions in detail. Conversions can refer to either a newsletter sign-up, or a purchase. Data shown in these reports will tell a business owner what channels are churning out customers who buy, making it a lot easier for entrepreneurs to divert advertising funds to the right channels.

Different Channels

Channels and descriptions MCF report

A customer can reach your website thru so many ways. Google identifies these 8 major channels, and uses it to easily collect data of traffic flow. Statistics generated from these channels help an advertiser or an entrepreneur to pin-point which channels provide the most traffic to their website, allowing them to create actionable plans for every specific channel.

Types of interaction

There are a number of labels defining the channels that are part of MCF reports. Labels will be identified as either the first interaction, assist interaction, or last interaction. In essence, these interaction types are markers of the point of conversion. For example, if a customer sees your post on Facebook for the first time and reaches your website by clicking on your post, social network will be tagged as the first interaction. Supposing he signed-up for newsletters and clicks on your next newsletter to reach your website, email becomes an assist interaction. This might pique their interest on buying your product, pushing them to research further. All other channels that lead them to your website will now fall under assist interaction, until such a time he makes a purchase. Only at this point can a channel be identified as last interaction.

Observing each conversion paths

Knowing which channels visitors came from, and identifying how these channels helped in a conversion will be beneficial, but lining them up in a sequential manner can make much more sense. This is where conversion paths take centerstage. Conversion path reports illustrate your customer’s buying behaviour and journey in a linear fashion, making it easier to pinpoint which channel lacks advertisements, or in what marketing effort should interaction be increased.

Assisted conversion summarizes all channels’ contribution in each conversion. It points out which channels had the most assist or last interaction function, and how much each conversion contributed to your business. In Top conversion paths, marketers can view the sequence of what channels users clicked at and landed on prior the conversion. Viewing channels in a linear manner gives insights about which channels bring in most of the buying customers, as well as what channels can acquire more newsletter sign-ups. Checking the Time lag conversion report will show how long it took a customer before converting results. Most customers will take less than a day in signing-up to newsletters, while most visitors take a couple of days – even weeks – before making a purchase. Looking at the Path length conversion report will show how many channels a customer went thru, and how many times they went to a specific channel before conversion.

Google Analytics’ Multi-channel Funnel reports goes to show that knowledge truly is power. Provided all the information and data needed in determining the strategy for a business, and after understanding multi-channel funnels, any business or entrepreneur can gauge how their campaigns are doing, and adjust accordingly to increase sales. It’s a tool any marketer should not take for granted to drive and sustain a company’s growth.

Alexandra Santos
Alexandra Santos
Alexa is Searchfuse’s Analytics guru. You can come to her for your daily dose of Analytics advice by following her on social media and signing-up on her newsletter. And unlike most gurus, her counsel is FREE.

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