This week at Ad:Tech San Francisco I joined Amy Chang and Laura Holmes onstage to discuss a common problem that many marketers have: measuring how many digital channels work together to drive conversions.
During our presentation Amy announced an amazing new feature called Multi-Channel Funnels. This awesome feature is a series of marketing attribution reports that will help marketers understand how different marketing channels lead to conversion. These reports are full of strategic and tactical data.
Note: Google Analytics has let us know that the feature called Multi-Channel Funnels discussed in this blog post is in limited pilot. That means that Google Analytics is testing the feature and its usefulness to a small group of trusted testers, and have not made any plans or a timeline for a full launch.
You’re probably thinking, “HOLY COW!” I know, this feature is really amazing. But I want to reiterate, this is NOT a formal launch. There is NO TIMELINE to roll these reports out to GA users.
Multi-channel funnels are completely new. That means a whole set of metrics to measure the interaction of all your online marketing channels. Before we begin I know there are some basic questions you might have:
1. What is the look-back window? These reports provide a 30-day look-back window. That means that Google Analytics will stitch together all the different traffic sources 30 days prior to a conversion.
2. Do these reports include view-thru data? View-through data from other systems, like DoubleClick, is NOT included in this data. The reports will only include data from visitors who visit the site.
3. Is there any attribution modeling? No.
4. Do I need to do anything special to set up these reports? You must be tracking conversions using Goals or tracking ecommerce transactions. But to really make these reports meaningful you should also be tracking your marketing campaigns with Campaign Tracking.
Let’s start with the beginning. Multi-channel funnels are part of the Conversion reports in the new GA v5 interface. There are 5 new reports and all are very useful.
One of my favorite new reports, and one that I’ve been asking for, is the Path Length report. This report shows the number of interactions that leads to a conversion. This is the next version of the Visits to Transaction report from the old Google Analytics.
The great thing about this report is that you can now choose to view the path length for ANY conversion, not just transactions. Use the drop down box at the top of the report to choose any conversion.
What are the insights? Now you know how many interactions you need to have with a visitor before they convert. If it takes a lot of interactions you can engage in different types of activities to engage prospects.
But let’s dig in and get more details about various marketing activities and where they fall in the funnel. That’s the job of the Assisted Conversions report.
This report shows a number of new metric, all your traffic sources, grouped by source/medium. The new metrics are:
Assisted Conversions: This is the number of conversions that contained this source/medium combination in the last 30 days.
Last Interaction Conversions: This is the number of conversions where this source/medium was the “last touch.”
Assisted / Last Interaction Conversions Ratio: This is the simple ration of the above two metrics.
The Assisted / Last Interaction Conversions Ratio is THE KEY new metric. I’ve come up with my own name for this metric: the Exposer to Closer Ratio. It’s way more catchy, don’t you think? This single number will tell you which traffic sources are Exposers, meaning they spread your brand message, and which ones are Closers, meaning the get people to convert.
Marketing activities that have a higher Exposer to Closer ratio are upper funnel activities. They get you prospects.
Marketing activities that have a lower Exposer to Closer ration are lower funnel activities. They close deals.
So if you Path Length report shows that you have a longer sales cycle, that takes a lot of interactions, you need to push upper funnel activities. What kinds? Look for marketing activities that have a higher Exposer to Closer ratio and start pushing those!
There is another view of this report that is actually very useful. Google has created traffic groups which bundle certain kinds of traffic together. For example, all referral traffic from Twitter and Facebook will be grouped as Social Media.
There are some cool features of the Assisted conversions report. Notice the Custom Dimensions item at the top of the page? Google will let you group your traffic together according to your marketing activities.
I think one report everyone wants to see is the Top Paths report. This is a list of every combination of marketing activities that led to a conversion. This is the one that people have been asking for.
Let’s just soak in the beauty of this one for a minute….
While I too like this report, it can be a bit overwhelming. Like click-path reporting, there can be a LOT of different marketing paths. This report will NOT show you the ideal way to mix and match marketing channels. But it will help you drill into your channels and uncover details. For example, we can use the tools at the top of the report to focus in on keyword paths.
The last report I’d like to share is a very strategic one. The Overview report in the Multi-Channel Funnel section actually allows you to mix and match different marketing channels and see which combinations result in the most conversions.
To me, this is the most advanced feature. This is the beginning of multi-channel modeling: a way to help marketers determine spend across multiple channel. Wow.
I’ve got a lot more to write about search funnels. I had to hammer them pretty hard last week to put together some slides for AdTech.
I’ll leave you with the official videos from Google:
Soeren Sprogoe says
This is so exciting, can’t wait to play around with it! I’ve been wanting to do Campaign Attribution for years, and now my favorite analytics tool *may* be able to do it soon!
Now we just need a way of applying our own cost data to other channels than Adwords. That’ll make Campaign Attribution even more usefull!
Nice write up Justin. I missed your presentation but caught a demo at the Google booth. Your article compliments that demo nicely.
Anthony Centeno says
Great post Justin! This is very exciting stuff. Looking forward to getting access to this new feature and uncovering newly actionable insights. Keep the enhancements coming Google!
Gregory Cox says
Really impressive. Justin, I’ve been cleared for v.5, but do you know if there is a special signup list for assisted funnels?
Justin Cutroni says
Greg, Multi-Channel Funnels is in a LImited Pilot. There is no timeframe for when this feature will be available for all users. But you can try to get access via this signup form.
Greg Cox says
Forgot to thank you for this like a year ago. And… Thank You!
barry mann says
I have been saying that last click is not fit-for-purpose for years. Presently I use Tagman for multi-touch point analysis as well as conditional java tag firing / container solution.
I’m so excited about these new functionalities! Looking forward to getting them released for everyone at some point in the future!
Gregory Cox says
Thanks, Justin! I appreciate the referral to the signup form.
Hi Justin! Great post, and from now i’ll change he assisted/conversion ratio to “Exposer to Closer ratio” in my reports :)
The question is: is the setcookietimeout or utmz customization affecting to the Big Funnels? Or, as i think, it’s built from a combination of both utma and utmz atribution history?
I mean: changing the utmz life, is not affecting to Multi channels reports. Is it right? Thnak you!!
Justin Cutroni says
@Xavier: Correct. MCF will only look back 30 days prior to conversion and it looks at the data that’s in the back-end system.
No David says
I’m a bit late on this but nice post Justin! As a review I didn’t like these new features. And as another point, now Google are adding Social signals into Analytics it goes to show how much they are preparing to influence the search engine results with social signals.