There was a little stir after Shane Atchison’s recent column pronouncing the linear conversion funnel dead. Shane got the idea I was an overzealous cheerleader for linear conversion funnels. He even seemed to fear I’d suffer heart failure upon reading his revelation.
Subsequently, clients, friends, and Web Analytics Association (WAA) members emailed and called (some bewildered, some amused), wondering what was going on. We all had a good laugh. This misconception about linear processes has been a pet peeve of mine for years.
After publishing his column, Shane sent me the classiest email explaining the stir that column caused on his end got him to read some of my past columns. He’d misunderstood my position. No harm done, Shane, and thanks for your concern.
Misperception is fortunately an opportunity for clarification. So please allow me clarify.
The linear conversion funnel has its place. Though rudimentary and limited, it’s a great blunt-force beginners’ tool for online marketers with little or no metrics in place (and there are far too many of those left).
For what it’s worth, Shane’s right. The linear conversion funnel won’t take sophisticated marketers very much further in their optimization efforts. No conversion funnel will, 2.0 or otherwise.
Instead of considering the conversion funnel by itself, we should think of it as living at the bottom end of the buy/sell process. Conversion is no longer the biggest problem facing online marketers; persuasion is.