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Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 at 9:25 am

More on Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels

By Mariel Bacci
October 3rd, 2011

Did you miss my last post on GA Multi-Channel Funnels?  Check it out before moving on to Part 2 about path length and time lag.  Or maybe two weeks is too long and you need a refresher?  Here’s a quick re-cap:

Not long ago, Google rolled out a new toy in Analytics called Multi-Channel Funnels.  You can find it in the “new version” interface in your Google Analytics account.  The feature applies to all of your previously set-up goals and funnels, and sheds light on how all of your traffic sources work together to affect a particular goal you have set up for your site.

The main navigation will drop you on the Multi-Channel Funnels Overview Report.  In our first post, we dished out a link to some GA materials on that report, and a training video for it, but didn’t spend a lot of time covering that report because a lot has already been written about it.  Instead, we focused on the Assisted Conversions Report and First Interaction Analysis, and the Top Conversion Paths Report.  Here’s the bottom line on each of those:

Assisted Conversions Report and First Interaction Analysis – shows you which marketing efforts are most effective getting visitors into your funnel and final conversion, and attributes a dollar value to them.

Top Conversion Paths Report – helps you drill into a deeper analysis of the variety of ways your visitors eventually convert, so you can visual the thinking behind their decisions.

If that’s not enough to jog your memory, you can read part 1 of GA Multi-channel funnels before you continue reading the second two “technical” sections – Path Length Report & Time Lag Report.

Time Lag Report

What (it is): This report shows how many conversions resulted from conversion paths of a specific age… for example, 0, 1, 2, etc days long. This will give you a better sense for how involved your visitors get with the buying process for your product, service, etc.  That information could be handy regardless of whether you’re trying to put together a sending strategy for your e-mail campaign, or just looking for awareness about what kind of investment your product is for your converters.

Where (to find it): A useful feature of the time lag report is to choose ‘timelag > 1 day” under the advanced segments at the upper right hand corner of the report. This will help you to visualize the differences in time lag much more easily by taking out the commonly overwhelming outlier of people who convert in less than a day. You will also be able to see the percentage of converters who do take a longer time to convert and what the dollar value of those converters is.

How (it works): The time lag report loks at when your converters first enter your marketing funnel, through any identifiable vector, search, social media, directly to your site, and keeps track of that time in a cookie until you complete a conversion. The different in conversion time and first interaction time will gives you the time lag. The confusing thing about this report is that it is a time “lag” report. So, if your converters take less than 24 hours to convert, they are given the value of “0.” I find this is intuitively a bit more involved because if they are given a value of 4, that means it has taken them 5 days to convert. This is just something to be aware of.

Why (it’s valuable): If you find that most of your conversions are immediate, it could be an indicator that you have a lot of late stage (ready to buy now) visitors, or personas that make split (quick) decisions… and that your site is already doing a good job of speaking to those groups of people.  If you find that you have a lot of visitors taking days, weeks, or longer to convert, you’ll need to think more about the valuable information that will reassure these people at each stage of their buying process, and help move them along from early, to middle, to ready to buy.  Remember that you’ll need to consider how that information is flavored for each persona as well.  It’s probably a good idea to make it easy to contact someone at the company for assistance, so you can get a better handle on the kinds of questions your visitors have that are not being answered effectively with the existing site content.  Some of the longer decision-making processes involve lots of people and research.

Path Length Report

What (it is): This report shows how many conversions resulted from conversion paths that contained one, two, three or more channel interactions.

Where (to find it): The Path Length Report can be manipulated by adding segments such as >1 day, which is useful to understand how much revenue comes from early (vs. late) stage buyers, or personas that take a longer time to make a decision. (Note: you can check out definitions for stages of the buying process in Brendan Regan’s Grok post.) Other segments can be found in the same location including ‘first interaction is paid advertising’ or ‘last interaction is organic search’. These advanced segments can be found directly above the title Path Length in your report. You can also add custom segments to your report from the same area.

How (it works): The path length report calculates the total number of conversions and the total conversion value for each number of transactions. For even more valuable information, you can divide the total conversion value by the total conversions to see which path lengths are the most valuable per visitor. You can answer the question, who is spending more money on my site? People who buy after only one advertising interaction or those that have experienced more of our online marketing campaigns?

Why (it’s valuable): You can better understand how many interactions it takes to complete a conversion. This can help to format buying stage campaigns, follow up activities or show you which paths are most efficient in reaching a conversion.

The Takeaway

If you have slightly more complex avenues for buying your products and/or services, such as multiple marketing efforts, or a lengthy sales process for more considered purchases, or you just want to take a deeper look at the nuances of how people buy from you, these new Google Analytics reports can help. They provide pre-populated options for grouping your data to view the effectiveness (ie. conversion/revenue-generating results) of various paths through your combined marketing efforts (website, plus traffic sources).  Have you already started using these reports?  Tell us what you did with them and what you found most useful!

Of course, the reports and the information in them isn’t the end of the journey… you still have to know what to do with that information in order to continue making improvements to your site and marketing efforts.  If you’re struggling with driving better results from your website, our OnTarget subscriptions can help.  There’s no need to be satisfied with low conversion rates.  Take action to improve yours today!

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Comments (21)

  1. With the recent roll out of live analytics, it will become easier to track and measure pages which are not performing – and why they are not performing

  2. always happy with the features in analytics…hands down the best and with new features like this always will be…like!

  3. I’m loving the two part post you guys have done here. I’ve been using Google Analytics for over a year now but only ever really used it for insight into where my traffic was coming from and what they were doing whilst there (and not anything else really at all).

    All I am looking to convert is that I want visitors to fill in a blank box with their email address so that I can get in touch. However, I didn’t have a clue how to set up that as a goal in GA, but now do.

    I’m now going to try to dig deeper to get all my traffic into one report showing how they react on the site. Then possibly try to make amendments to my site! I doubt I have the expertise to do it all, but your post certainly gives me a heads up and a bit of excitement about it too.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I saw this in the new Google Analytics but haven’t had time to learn exactly what it foes or how to use it. This will most defenitaly help.

  5. Thanks for the thorough explanation. I have recently fallen back in love with Google Analytics after trying out loads of other methods. Google is still the most accurate.

  6. I am going to have to intergrate this feature. This will really help to tell why some pages dont preform.

  7. [...] Speaking of multi-channel marketing, Google Analytics has rolled out multi-channel funnels to analyze visitor behavior. Read more about Google Analytics multi-channel funnels in this article from FutureNow. [...]

  8. Wow, great read! Excellent detail and this has helped me understand Google Analytics a lot more now.

  9. Did you know that in Germany users of Google-Analytics are punishable and can get an ammount till € 50.000.00 ( using that tool? This cause privacy?

  10. The new front end of all google products are just awesome be that blogger or Analytics. These are not only more user friendly but also designed so that the tools are more handy then earlier ones.

    Thanks for wonderful article on Analytics.

  11. [...] [Future Now] – More on Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels [...]

  12. I find google analytics extremely helpful but for some reason it seems to have a better interface through alot of 3rd party mobile apps. I really enjoy finding information like this on it as it makes the process so much clearer on the backend stuff.

  13. Google analytics getting better every day! I might even gonna use it :)

  14. All I am looking to convert is that I want visitors to fill in a blank box with their email address so that I can get in touch. However, I didn’t have a clue how to set up that as a goal in GA, but now do.

  15. To improve your online business witout using google analytics is nearly unimpossible. It is very helpful that google always works on developing this tool.

  16. I think Google Analytics has rolled out multi-channel funnels to analyze visitor behavior.

  17. I have used analytics for a few years now, its good to see its always improving. a must have tool for any website.

  18. wow… Great post to read . I have been too much lean from this post. Google Analytics is always remain favourite for seo. because it is great performer to incearse the traffic on product.

  19. Google analytics is a must have. I have used it to determine what keywords are giving me the best source of traffic. I then use that information to increase my traffic for other related posts.

  20. Google Analytics is extremely helpful for every web-developer. What is more, it is getting better every day. Thanks Mariel!

  21. It´s still amazing that google analytics does not cost anything. Other tools from analyzing tool providers do cost a lot every month! Hopefully google analytics remains for free!

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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