Last month in our post on attribution modelling, we wrote about how conversions don’t happen instantly. With the exception of bottom of funnel campaigns targeting people who are “ready” to take that next step, there’s usually a story behind each conversion. And much like how different types of keywords work together and support each other, the same can be said about marketing channels. Similar to a sports team, marketing channels play different roles in scoring conversions and their performance should be tracked accordingly.
In this post, we’re going to dive into Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Reports, which have some of the most interesting data GA has to offer. Commit 5 minutes to reading this post, and you’ll learn how to identify key channel combinations, view your Google Analytics assisted conversions and the marketing channels behind them, and the different conversion paths your prospects take before engaging with you.
Multi Channel Funnel (MCF) Reports
The more considered buying process your business has, the more value you’ll get from MFC reports, which are great for learning about your customers buying journey. All Multi Channel Funnel Reports in this post can be easily found in Google Analytics under Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels.
On the overview page, you’ll see your total amount of conversions, which are likely on several of the standard reports you view frequently. However, you’ll also notice “assisted conversions” right underneath.
You might be wondering, what exactly is an Assisted Conversion in Google Analytics? This is the number of conversions that were not one hit wonders; they took more than a single visit/interaction before engaging with your business.
Consider the way a soccer team moves the ball up a huge field. There’s a lot that takes place before the forward puts the ball in the back of the net. Full participation is required from the goalie, defenders and mid fielders to strategically work the ball up the field to the forwards. It wouldn’t make sense to grade a defenders performance on the amount of goals scored. The same can be said about marketing channels moving prospects down the marketing funnel.
Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer
This great diagram shows your channels that appear in your Top Conversion Path reports, and the percentage of total conversions they can be attributed for.
You can hover on the different parts of this diagram, and the overlap areas will show you the percentage of total conversions that each combination is responsible for.
This report is nice way to get a quick overview of your top conversion channels and channel combinations.
Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics
Google Analytics assisted conversions give you the total amount of conversion assists per channel, and lets you compare that number with the overall conversions. This is really great for evaluating traffic channels that might otherwise seem like they are underperforming, but are actually contributing further up the funnel.
By default, the Assisted Conversions reports in Google Analytics will display Multi Channel Funnel grouping, but you can customize this to your liking. It can be helpful to drill down this report with more a more granular grouping (e.g. Source / Medium) to get a sense of your top performers. This could include your best social channels, paid campaigns, referrals and even offline sources.
A column that can be easy to overlook in this report is the “Assisted / Last Click or Direct Conversions” section. This gives you a quick idea of whether the channel operates primarily as a last click / conversion interaction (if the number is closer to 0), or if it functions more in an assisting role. If you’re already familiar with attribution modeling, you already understand that conversion value goes far beyond just the final click. This is a key column to identifying the type of player the channel is.
One more tip in the Google Analytics Assisted conversions reports is to view with the percentage display. This shows you a pie graph of the assisted conversion percentages each channel is responsible for. This gets really interest if you’re assigning values to your conversions, or are tracking e-commerce transactions!
Conversion Paths in Google Analytics
One of my favourite reports is the Top Conversion Paths in Google Analytics. Often times clients are shocked when they see this for the first time, and say something along the lines of “Our visitors go through all of that before they reach out to us?!”.
Conversion paths in Google Analytics give you insights into how your channels work together to help your prospects through their journey. Your most effective channel combinations become a lot more clear when you can see the paths people take before resulting in a lead or sale. This report can also help you qualify which channels are playing their part in nurturing visitors / assisting conversions, and which ones have low impact.
I like to think of conversion paths as linemates. Identifying the most effective pairings can help you understand which marketing channels play best with each other.
Time Lag & Path Length
These last two reports in the Multi Channel Funnel section of Google analytics gives you the percentages of length (time and paths) of your conversions.
Time Lag - Displays amount of conversions, and total conversion percentage per Time Lag in Days (e.g. 0 days, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, etc.). This can be useful for setting expectations for your business or client in terms of how long it should take to generate a lead.
Path Length - Similar to Time Lag, this report displays the same conversion metrics but in reference to the amount of interactions. This is useful in determining how many touch points are required in order for a lead to be generated on average. Are there several assisted conversions, or is there usually only one interaction required?
These usually depend on how considered the process is for the conversion event you are tracking. If your goal is to get a user to fill out a form, chances are you’ll be getting lots of shorter time lags and paths. If your goal is to sell a hot tub, or expensive software, you’re much more likely to have longer time lags and conversion paths.
We hope this helped you learn about assisted conversions in Google Analytics, and the value they offer. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to contact us! We’re always happy to help.
Chris is one of the managing partners at Roketto. His area of expertise is digital marketing and loves sharing and educating on topics like Google Ads, CPC bidding tactics, Google Analytics, and marketing automation. When Chris isn't in the office, he enjoys playing volleyball, mountain biking, and hiking with his American Eskimo.