Google recently launched ‘The Customer Journey to Online Purchase’. This is a useful tool that has been built based on data from 36,000 advertisers, across 11 industries from seven different countries. Each of these advertisers has been using Google’s analytics tools Ecommerce and Multi-Channel Funnels. The benchmark data drawn from this activity has enabled Google to illustrate in detail how buyers move towards purchasing decisions and how long it takes them to reach those decisions.

This article is a summary of the main features of the tool with some reflections on its limitations and how it relates to online video.

Google recognise that the customer journey is no longer a simple one. It is complex and before making a purchase decision, a customer may engage with or experience a brand via a number of different media channels over a period of several days, weeks, months or even years. Understanding the customer journey offers brands the opportunity to improve their marketing campaigns.

There is a lot of psychology involved in trying to understand the common problems/questions and concerns that your customers have. But once you have a clear idea on how this works then you can use web video to alleviate these concerns in the right way at the right time.

The effects of different marketing channels

There are a number of different marketing channels, which influence the customer on their path to purchase. These include, but are not limited to email marketing, banner advertising, paid search ads (e.g. PPC), social media adverts and direct visits to websites.

using video in customer journey

When you go through Google Analytics multi channel funnel data it quickly becomes apparent that the vast majority of purchases happen after multiple visits to a website, often from a range of marketing channels.


As you can see from the screen grab above, the tool allows you to view results based on country and industry. The results tell you about the role that each channel plays in the selected industry or region, in terms of whether or not they play more of an ‘assist’ role or a ‘last interaction’ role.

The impact of the length of customer journey on purchase value

Google point out that the length of a customer journey can vary dramatically depending on the type of purchase. It is easy to imagine that someone buying a car will go on more of a journey than someone buying a ticket for a concert. This variation is in terms of the number of interactions as well as literal length of time. In general, longer customer journeys tend to lead to greater purchase values.

The next element of the tool allows you to view in terms of days/steps in the journey, by industry and by country. The results generated from these selections are in terms of the average order value (AOV) and the length of the journey in terms of days and steps.

Also generated is a percentage figure to illustrate the total revenue from purchases made in more than one day.

Benchmarks dashboard – exploring benchmarks by industry and region

Whilst each individual customer journey is unique, it is still important to have an understanding of the context within which your marketing campaigns are performing. Google have made it possible to explore benchmarks in your region and industry with the ‘benchmarks dashboard’.

How can this tool be used in relation to online video?

Video isn’t mentioned explicitly as a channel within this tool, but Google are probably correct to exclude it – because video can actually be involved at every stage of the customer journey. Video can be included in email marketing, it can be hosted on the landing pages for your PPC adverts, it can certainly be shared with your followers via social media and of course it can be hosted on any page of your website.

Whilst the tool offers some insight into the performance of particular marketing elements by industry and region, it isn’t in-depth enough to offer insight into the effect of video on purchasing decisions. In order to establish the effect a video has on the performance of each marketing channel a far more in-depth study would be required; a look at what videos the businesses use, at which stages of the journey and comparing the results to using no videos at all.

This post on how smart retailers are using video to improve their customer journey may be of interest to you.

This is the opportunity offered to you by Multi-Channel Funnels and Ecommerce. You can monitor and analyse the effect of your own videos using these tools. For example, you could A/B test a landing page and compare the effect of having a web presenter video versus not having one. You could also use video as a method to improve the performance of marketing channels that maybe aren’t doing so well.

On the whole, this new tool from Google is a smart and interactive way for clever marketers to understanding what is going on around them, and to learn from the experiences of other advertisers.