Monday 23 July 2012

Understanding Multi Channel Funnels In Google Analytics

Google Analytics
Multi Channel Funnels (MCFs) was a feature in Google Analytics launched in August 2011, so it has been around for a while. Despite this, many internet marketers have not got round to checking out this great feature. This is a shame, since MCFs offer a great opportunity for mining for useful data and for improving your site's conversion rate.

So how does MCFs work? Well, the main benefit of MCFs is that they allow you to see how effective each of your marketing channels is on creating conversions for your site. They allow you to see the big picture; how your marketing works together to get your visitors to do whatever you want them to do on your site. To access the MCF reports, you must have a Google Analytics account with conversion tracking installed, and be using the new version of Google Analytics.

An analogy would explain the principle behind MCFs well: think of marketing channels like players on a football team. We can say that organic search could be, say, a central midfielder, email marketing a right-back, direct visitors is a centre-back, and paid search is a striker. Normally the channel that was the customer's last contact with the site gets the credit for the conversion. So if a visitor comes to your website from a Google ad (without visiting your site before), then fills out your contact form, then PPC would be the channel that would take the credit for providing the conversion (so-called "last click attribution"). But in reality, it takes many players, or even a whole team, to produce a goal (conversion). So MCF allows you to measure the impact of all the channels involved in producing a conversion. So in our football team analogy, a conversion path made by a user visiting the site by typing in the URL (direct - centre back) then passing to organic search (midfield) who passes to the striker (paid search) shows how each element makes up the conversion path. Now you can see the principle behind "multi-click attribution".

There are five main MCF reports currently:

1. Overview - This is the first report you see when you go into the MCF section in Google Analytics, located at the bottom of the left hand menu, under conversions. This report shows the aggregate number of conversions (number of times somebody completed a task you wanted them to complete e.g. a purchase or filling out a campaign form) as well as the number of assisted conversions (the number of conversions that have involved the user interacting with other marketing channels (organic search, paid search, display ad etc...) before finally converting).

The overview report also has a handy feature called the Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer, which shows the percentage of conversion paths that include different channel combinations.

2. Assisted Conversions - This is the next report in the MCF tab; it shows how many sales and conversions each channel initiated, assisted, and completed as well as the value of those sales and conversions. The pound/dollar value amount is calculated from the value assigned by the Google Analytics user to each conversion. Basically, this is the amount that a lead is worth to your business.

3. Top Conversion Paths Report - This report shows the channel paths that customers made before completing conversions. An example conversion path made by a user might be "organic search>direct>direct>direct" or perhaps just "paid search>direct". This report also displays the conversion value for each path, enabling you to see which path is the most profitable.

4. Time Lag Report - This report shows you how long the conversion paths are taking from first contact to conversion. The report gives the time lag in days.

5. Path Length - This report shows the conversion path length in terms of interactions. So if 70% of your conversions were made up by visitors who had just one interaction with your site, then that will show in the path length graph.

To summarize, MCFs offer a great opportunity for internet marketers to gather that much needed data. If you're not using this feature in Google Analytics, I suggest you do so to further improve your site's conversion rate.

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  1. Just want to say your article is very informative and you are clearly an expert on this subject. After seeing such great content on your blog, I will subscribe to your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming posts. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  2. Hi,

    Very informative post about GA features, this is great tips to improve CTR and improve conversion ratio. Also one more thing I like in Google Analytics is tracking of traffic from Social Bookmarking website. This also important as you come to know how successful your social media campaign.



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