Multi-Channel Funnels you should have by now

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This week Google Analytics released Multi-Channel Funnels for all users, after months of testing with selected customers. Simply, Multi-Channel Funnels make it easy to see how users visited your site over a 30 day period prior to making a purchase. However, now that the information is available, just how can you use it?

Generic versus Brand Searches

Creating a Generic versus Brand Search Rule

Brand search term rules are so important that Google Analytics uses ‘Generic Keywords vs Brand Keywords’ as an example name during the custom Multi-Channel Funnel grouping creation process. It is a very powerful tool, assessing the general performance of a search related campaign, paid or otherwise. Further segmenting search by paid and unpaid and adding both direct and referral traffic makes it even more useful.

Search, Direct and Referral Paths

Search marketing is a great opportunity to reach people without much awareness of your brand and change their behaviour. Online search is more or less a de facto collection of bookmarks, where people enter queries based on URLs, brand or product for sites they have already visited. Tracking queries by the presence of brand terms through Multi-Channel Funnels can reveal how often non-branded search leads to branded queries, direct or referral sales. This can be a great tool for selling the value of SEO internally by demonstrating its value in the customer’s product research behaviour.

Regular Expressions for the rules

Regular expressions are a great way to keep your sanity when you are building the rules for any group of keywords. For example, brand traffic is not just going to be attributed to the correct, proper name of the brand. Variations in spelling and construction have to be accounted for. As an example, for tracking queries on the brand ‘Greyhound Australia’, the regular expression would include the brand and its most common misspellings:

greyhound|grey hound|grayhound|gray hound

The same kind of regular expressions can be used in other rules, like product terms or search terms targeted in a focused SEO project.

Product Terms with or without Brand

Whether or not a search contains a brand term only really speaks to awareness. Brand terms alone don’t distinguish between navigational, informational or transactional queries. A search for just ‘Greyhound Australia’ is clearly navigational. The search lacks any other qualifying term and Google’s recent change to how sitelinks are displayed for some queries seems to indicate even they regard such searches as purely navigational.

Brand rules with and without product terms

Creating rules that label traffic using qualifying terms and traffic that doesn’t can make the difference between navigational and informational searches in the funnel clear. Differentiating between a search for ‘Greyhound Sydney to Canberra’ and ‘Greyhound Australia’ is the difference between seeing a funnel with two brand searches, and a funnel with a search for a product including a brand term and a navigational brand search.

Campaign Source Attribution

There are more online customer acquisition channels than search. Directories, display networks, guest posts, links and advertorial are all tools that can reach new customers or initiate research and purchase behaviour. Multi-Channel Funnels and custom groupings make it easy to see how they feed into other traffic sources.

Tracking more than search traffic

Adding rules for campaign URLs used in advertising or branded content and source URLs such as social media touchpoints make it possible to see how these activities drive customer behaviour. The ability to identify campaigns that drive sales both directly and through other channels make informed decisions regarding future activity easier.

Custom Groupings: Just Start Using Them

Multi-Channel Funnels make it easier to see what works, what doesn’t and how certain activities can lead to sales. The ability to differentiate between broad information searches and brand focused queries and identify how they are linked across different search mediums is valuable. Tracking conversions across campaigns and channels makes it easier to make informed decisions about social media activity, guest posts and display advertising or directory lists as well.

Plan how to integrate Multi-Channel Funnels with your current online activities. The process to get started can be as simple as:

  • Create custom Channel groupings focusing on sources that matter:
    • To you
    • To the people you report to
  • Create new Channel groupings from existing ones to monitor new campaigns and sources
  • See what works, see what doesn’t, see what can be improved

What are your Must Have Multi-Channel Funnels?

The single most important thing I think Multi-Channel Funnels can give you is the ability to see what broad research behaviours lead to direct navigational activity, either as direct visits or navigational brand searches.

How are you going to use these new tools in Google Analytics?

3 responses to “Multi-Channel Funnels you should have by now”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by anthony_p_c […]

  2. […] use, the effectiveness in offline campaigns based on certain phrases or words and give important insights into how language is used to describe products or ideas. Keyword referrer information is important for conversion […]

  3. […] and they trigger a goal on the second visit, it will be attributed to the second traffic source. Multi-Channel Funnel report does improve attribution in Google Analytics, goals or conversions tracking is still fundamentally […]

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