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Understanding Google Multi-Channel Funnels

6 MINUTE READ | January 25, 2012

Understanding Google Multi-Channel Funnels

With the unveil of Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) on November of 2011, Google offers new and exciting opportunities for PPC Managers to measure and track the performance of their accounts. Multi-Channels Funnels promises to take tracking and measuring results on a paid search campaign to the next level.

Basically what we had before MCF on Google analytics was when a purchased was made, Analytics would track the last interaction before the conversion and attribute that sale to that last interaction. Nothing wrong with that, it still very valuable data for any PPC Manager to be able to optimize their accounts, but it still a very limited view of the entire purchasing process. What Google’s Multi-Channel Funnels can offer is the complete picture; it will show the entire path taken by the customer during the purchasing process.

You may be asking, how can this help me manage my account and most importantly, how can I use Google’s Multi-Channel Funnels to show my client the importance of a paid search campaign. Well, in this post I will go over each new feature and show you how MCF will help you get a better insight of your account and some ways you can use each report to maximize your account’s performance.

  • In order to use Google’s MCF you must have ecommerce tracking setup on your website.

  • If you don’t have ecommerce tracking enable you must at least have goals enabled.

  • You also must be using the new version of Analytics.

Now that made sure you have all of the above taken care of, you are ready to see all the benefits that Google’s MCF has to offer.

Let’s get started! Once you are inside the new version of Google Analytics you must click on the “Conversions” tab on the left side, and under conversions you will see Multi-Channel Funnels. When you click thru MFC, the first thing you will notice is that are 5 available reports. Let’s go through each one of them at a time.

On the Multi-Channel Funnels Overview, you will be able to see a general overview on how each channels interacts with each other on the path of a conversion.

On the very top left of the page you can see a box that says “conversion segments”, by selecting that box you will be able to choose from a variety of segments to analyze your data.

On the right top of the page you will also see an option to create a new segment if you need to get more specific.

Still on the Multi-Channel Funnels Overview you will be able to see the data on how each channel is interaction with each on the on the path to a conversion. Here you will see the totals for all the channels and you can also mix and match to observe the performance on each specific channel. You will be able to analyze the number of conversions and assisted conversion that each channel generated and the combinations of transactions that were generated by multiple channels. Note: Google is only planning to make this data available back to January 2011.

For instance, you can see that in the account showed above, 623 (3.25%) of conversions had an interaction by Referral, Direct and Paid Advertising before purchase was completed.

There are two ways you can see this report. Assist Interaction Analysis and First Interaction Analysis.

The assisted conversion tab will show in details the total number of conversions and total amount of revenue that each channel initiated, assisted and completed.

An importance thing to notice in this example and something you can show to your client as well is that paid search acted as a last point of interaction for 175K in sales but also assisted in another 178K. Even though Paid Search wasn’t the last click before the conversion, it served as link on the conversion funnel for those transactions that may have not been completed without paid search.

By switching to first interaction analysis you will see all the transactions and total revenue that paid search initiated on the conversion funnel.

You can see on this report that Paid Search contributed more by initiating the conversion than being the last interaction.

On the Top Conversion Paths Report you can see all the unique conversion paths that lead to a conversion, the number of transactions for each path and total revenue as well. Here you can see how different channels work together to create a conversion. Understanding how different channels help each other on creating a conversion can be very helpful when optimizing and defining budgets for each channel.

This is how your basic Top Conversion Paths Report should look like.

If you want to be even more granular with your data, you can create “Custom Channel Groupings”. This not only works for Top Conversion Paths but it also works for all the other reports. One great example on how you can use “Custom Channel Groupings” is creating a “Generic vs. Branded” grouping, where you will be able to see all the conversions generated by branded search terms and generic search terms, not only on Google but on MSN (Must be running conversion tracking on MSN) and Organic Search as well.

You can also separate each social media channel (Facebook, Google+) into its own channel so you can see how each site is contributing to your total revenue.

This is how Custom Channel Grouping looks like on an Assisted Conversion Report. Much better right?

The Time Lag report will show you from 0 to 12+ days the time length it took from visitors to complete a conversion.

This report will give you a pretty good idea of the sales cycle for your account. If you notice on the account shown below, 48% of all conversions took place in the same day generating a little over 50% of the revenue for the period. You also see that more than 35% of conversions took place 12 days or later from the first interaction.

Path Length Reports will show you how many times customers interacted with your website before completing a conversion. It looks a lot like the Time Lag Report except instead of days you will see number of interactions.

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We can see on this account that the majority of conversions take place within the first 3 interactions also generating most of the revenue for the period.


Posted by Carlos Navarro

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