As a business owner who relies on their website to market or sell their products, it’s very important to track and understand how prospects and customers are engaging and interacting with your website; particularly, the path they take to reach a specific goal – such as filling out a contact us form, downloading a whitepaper or eBook, purchasing a product etc. This is called your conversion path.

Although a necessary task, for busy business owners, the idea of tracking and understanding this information may seem somewhat daunting or complicated. Thankfully, Google analytics provides a reporting feature called Multi-Channel Funnel Reports to help track and display how website visitors are (or aren’t) reaching your website’s goals and converting into a customer or lead.

Below I’ve outlined a quick how-to guide that will walk you through implementing Google’s Multi-Channel Funnel Reports and using the findings to improve your conversion path.

Buyer Behavior and Marketing Measurement

Conversions can take place during one visit, or multiple visits to a website – it all depends on the type and quality of a site as well as its ease of navigation, the product or service being sold, and the typical type of user and their buying process. By using multiple channels to target this customer (such as SEO, PPC social media, etc.), they will be exposed to your brand more often and can work towards converting into a lead or customer.

For example, an e-commerce websites that sells clothing would have the goal of selling more clothes. Although this may seem obvious, a typical shopper may not make a purchase every time they visit your website.

Multi-Channel Funnel reports record the path people take when accessing your site. You can track direct visits, PPC, and organic search and how each contributes towards a conversion.

Using this same example, someone using a search engine may find your website while looking for a specific type of shirt. And while they may find the perfect product on your website, they may not make a purchase right away.

After browsing other websites to compare prices, they may come across one of your PPC ads, driving them back to your website. This ad may result in a sale. Another possible scenario is for the customer to see an email that you sent out as part of your email marketing campaign. Minutes later, they may return to your website by entering your URL directly into their browser, or clicking a link in your email.

And without tracking this information, all you may see is a sale – without any data on where it came from and which marketing channels are truly profitable. Utilizing Google’s Multi-Channel Funnel Reports, you can see how each of your marketing channels are interacting together to create that sale or conversion, giving you better insight into your target audience’s buying process and the impact of all of your marketing campaigns and channels.

Implementing and Reading Multi-channel Funnel Reports

In order to use a multi-channel funnel report, you must have e-commerce tracking or goals enabled. Goals can be added via the admin settings. Click goals and then create a goal. You can learn about installing e-commerce tracking here. This will allow Google analytics to track the path towards a sale or goal completion. Google analytics allows you to see data for assisted conversions, top conversion paths, time lag reports and path length.

Assisted Conversions – The assisted channel report shows you how many conversions each channel (such as social media, PPC ads, organic search, email marketing, etc.) assisted with.

Using the t-shirt example, let’s say a prospective customer first found your site through a Facebook ad. This user then decided to leave your website without making a purchase. A few days later, the same person searches for a specific t-shirt and they arrive back at your website, this time making a purchase. Without using the Multi-Channel Funnel Reports, we would conclude that organic search resulted in a sale, failing to recognize the importance of the assisted conversion – the Facebook ad.

In this example, there were a total of 79 assisted conversions.

Top Conversion Paths – The top conversion path report provides information about the path that people take to convert on your website. In the screenshot below, you can see that the most popular path is two organic searches followed by an organic visit and then revisiting your website directly. Understanding this information can outline opportunities of where you may want to consider putting your marketing dollars to bring more qualified traffic back to your website.

Path Length – The Path Length report provides the number of interactions users have with your website before converting. This information provides business owners with more concrete information relating to the actual length of a customer’s digital buying cycle.

In this example below, the majority of visitors are converting on the first visit to the website, leading me to believe the buying cycle is quite short.

Time Lag Reports – The time lag report shows the number of days it takes someone to convert from when they first visited your website.

All of these reports provide important information, but knowing how to utilize the data is what really makes a difference. In order to improve your conversion path, you need to take into consideration your target audience and their typical online buying cycle, your current marketing strategy and how you want people to find your website.

Get more information on how to improve your website to engage and convert your prospects, check out this free webinar replay.

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