Most PPCers and SEOs (myself included) go crazy for analytics numbers. After all, how else are we going to quantitatively justify the qualitative recommendations we make? PPCers need to design proper ad copy, SEOs need to be able to execute on-site optimization strategies. Often we find ourselves relying on Google Analytics. It’s free; it’s winning.
And it’s about to get winninger.
Introducing Multi-Channel Funnels
Analyzing conversions is one of the most powerful uses for Google Analytics, especially in eCommerce or social sites. By measuring where users drop out of the conversion funnel, the path to conversion can be optimized through user testing or other methods. We know this as CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization.
The problem is that Google Analytics currently allows for a linear funnel which attributes the value to the last element with which the user interacted. If a user visited your site through organic search, then purchased something, organic visits would be credited with that sale. But what if the visitor only made that organic search after clicking a link in a banner advertisement? You would never know the full path your customer took. In fact, we at Distilled have been concerned about this in the past and offered our own custom solution to the problem.
But Multi-Channel Funnels will change the game. It will show the complete map of a user’s interactions over the past 30 days prior to their conversion.
Top Conversion Paths
This is the feature that best summarizes the value of the new Multi-Channel Funnel feature. This report shows you exactly which paths produced the most and most valuable conversions. In our example above I suggested a path where the user first discovered a site through a banner ad, and then made a purchase after an organic search. The following Top Conversions Path report would reveal such activity if it were enabled on my site:
As you can see, this report covers all kinds of navigational alternatives. And the report can even be customized by grouping various traffic sources together, such as branded searches. Check this out:
This… is my kind of Analytics.
Also included is the new Path Lengths feature, which breaks down the same data slightly differently:
So that you can see, naturally, how long a user takes to convert, measured in interactions.
Finally, another brilliant report that shows you the value of the transactions in which different sources played an intermediate role. You can compare them at a glance to the value of the transactions where they were the last interaction from a user.
There has always been a danger of mistaking or disregarding the value of intermediate steps in a funnel. Now we are not limited to the last interaction or the path to the shopping cart. All steps can be holistically analyzed.
This is only a brief overview of the new functionality that has been announced; I’m sure there will be more posts to come in the future from Distilled and others about how to leverage the power of these reports most effectively.
To learn more about Multi-Channel Funnels, watch the promo video or the new tutorial video, from which all of the screenshots in this post are taken. Google also has a help page up already. And, if you want a chance at experiencing this new functionality before it is publicly live, be sure to sign up for a chance at access!
So, what do you all think? Can you dig it?
Benjamin Estes SEO Consultant