Introduction to Multi-Channel Funnels within Google Analytics

By default, like most web analytics programs, Google Analytics associates goal completions with ‘last click’ channels. That is, the final traffic channel which drove a completed goal is attributed 100% of the goals value.

In August 2011 Google released a new reporting format, Multi-Channel Funnels, which applies a multiple touch-point model to give percentage values to all traffic channels that contributed to a completed goal (within a 30 day period).

However, before we jump into Multi-Channel Funnels, we must first understand how they differ from standard reporting within Google Analytics. Within Standard Reporting, direct traffic (i.e., medium='none') does NOT overwrite any value that is set within the ‘utmccn‘ cookie, meaning that if a visitor initially visits a website via an organic search, then comes back again but directly types the web address in, the second visit is still tracked as an organic search visit.

Within Multi-Channel Funnels however direct traffic is counted as a traffic channel and thus is tracked as such. To illustrate the difference we can see below a significant difference in completed goals (Standard Reporting) vs. last interaction conversions (Multi-Channel Funnels).

Figure 1 - Standard Reporting - Goal Completions
Figure 1 – Standard Reporting – Goal Completions

 

Figure 2 - Multi-Channel Reporting
Figure 2 – Multi-Channel Reporting

 

Below is a video from Google which gives a basic explanation of Multi-Channel Funnels and it’s value:

Working with Multi-Channel Funnels

Right, now we know the difference between the data we are able to see within Standard Reporting and Multi-Channel Funnels, what do we do with it?

The amazing ability of Multi-Channel Funnels is the multiple applications we can use it for, below are a couple of examples of how we can leverage the data within the reports to help better drive optimised marketing budgets to maximise their respective channels’ ROI.

Gaining greater insights by using Custom SegmentsMulti-Channel Funnel reports have the super awesome power of being able to create your own custom Channel Groupings, similar to Custom Segments in Standard Reporting. As such, it is a must to create your own Custom Groupings for Brand and Non-Brand search keyword traffic.

To create your own Custom Groupings for Brand and Non-Brand search traffic, select the Channel Groupings menu > Create a custom Channel Grouping, then simply follow the example below, replacing the ‘brand keywords’ with your own websites brand terms.

Figure 3 – Create Custom Groupings
Figure 3 – Create Custom Groupings

 

Figure 4 - Brand Custom Group
Figure 4 – Brand Custom Group

 

Figure 5 - Non-Brand Keyword Group
Figure 5 – Non-Brand Keyword Group

 

Ok, you have your groups set up, what is the data telling you? Well when we plot the two new groupings against each other, in this example, we can see that on weekends Non-Brand keywords outperform Branded keywords in conversions. From this we may be able to further improve the performance of non-brand keywords by focusing on the type of keywords converting and lowering spend across brand terms.

Figure 6 - Brand VS Non-Brand Conversions
Figure 6 – Brand VS Non-Brand Conversions

 

Determine True Value of Traffic Channels

The true power of Multi-Channel Funnels lies within the ‘Assisted’ conversions metric, this will enable us Digital Analysts to associate value with traffic channels from which First-Touch and Last-Touch attributions will not give it. As an example, let’s create the following conversion segment:

Figure 7 - Organic Search Assisted Segment
Figure 7 – Organic Search Assisted Segment

 

Using this segment we are able to see exactly how the Organic Search assisted conversions works with all the other traffic channels.

Figure 8 - Organic search assisted with 186 additional conversions
Figure 8 – Organic search assisted with 186 additional conversions

 

Closing Thoughts

Considering Google Analytics is a free tool for anyone to use, it has introduced a great function within Multi Channel Funnels; that enables smarter marketing decisions. I know I will be spending many hours hunched over my laptop following the elusive trail which we refer to as the purchase funnel.

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