Note: Google has let us know that the feature called Multi-Channel Funnels discussed in this blog post is in limited pilot. That means that Google is testing the feature and its usefulness with a small group of trusted testers, and have not made any plans or a timeline for a full launch.
Google has this week released a new cross-channel tracking feature. This new feature is also referred to as “Big Funnels” and will allow online marketers to better understand the bigger picture and more accurately assess the true value of their marketing campaigns.
As part of our partnership with Google, First Rate has been testing the new cross-channel tracking feature prior to its release and we are happy to share some of our findings and provide a quick overview of this new and exciting feature.
What is Cross-Channel Tracking?
Put simply, Cross-Channel tracking (also called Multi-Channel tracking), allows online marketers to discover traffic sources and keywords that assisted in a conversion beyond just the last click or visit. By default cross channel tracking tracks and reports on interactions within the 30 days leading up to a goal completion or e-commerce transaction on the site but can be adjusted to 60 or 90 days as required.
Google Analytics (GA) cross-channel tracking encompass all digitally trackable channels, including Paid Search (all search engines), Organic Search (all search engines), Referrals, Affiliates, Social Networks, Email Newsletters, Display ad clicks and impressions, and even offline sources such as TV, Radio etc. via vanity URLs.
Prior to cross channel tracking, GA attributed conversions to the last traffic source that led to the conversion. The problem with this approach is that in some cases all the hard work is accomplished during the previous visit as can be seen in the case below were a user discovered the First Rate site by clicking on an Adwords ad (Google CPC) and later returned via an organic search for the brand name “First Rate” which lead to a conversion on the site. It would make more sense in this case to attribute most of the credit for the conversion to the Adwords ad that drove the first visit rather than to the last visit before the conversion. With Google Analytics multi-channel reports online marketers will be able to easily discover such assisting traffic sources.
Google Analytics Multi-Channel Reports
Cross channel tracking includes five new report types:
- Assisted Interactions
- Assisted Conversions
- Top Path
- Path Length
- Time Lag Report
The cross-channel tracking report section in Google Analytics can be found within the left sidebar navigation under: Conversions > Cross-Channel.
Below is a quick overview of each of the new cross-channel reports.
Assisted Interactions Report
This report shows the number of assisted interactions from each traffic source.
Assisted Interactions refer to the number of times the traffic source assisted towards a conversion excluding last interactions from the traffic source.
Traffic source can be grouped into several dimensions including Traffic type, Source, Medium, Source/medium, Keyword and more. For more information about traffic source dimensions refer to the cross-channel tracking terminologies section below.
Assisted Conversions Report
This report shows the number of assisted conversions from each traffic source.
Assisted conversions refer to the number of conversions the traffic source assisted towards excluding conversions where the traffic source drove the last interaction.
The difference between an assisted conversion and an assisted interaction is that a traffic source can assist more than once towards the same conversion but can only register one assisted conversion for the same conversion.
Top Path Report
The Top Path report describes the sequence of interactions leading up to a conversion and can be grouped by both a primary and secondary traffic source dimension. You can further segment the report by conversion, conversion type and path length.
Below is what a typical top path report might look like grouped by Source/Medium and Keyword
Path Length Report
The Path Length report shows the number of interactions it took for visitors to convert on the site and can be segmented by conversion and conversion type.
Time Lag Report
The time lag report shows how long users took (in days) to convert on your site and can be segmented by conversion and conversion type.
Cross-Channel Report Terminology
Source (traffic source): The traffic source name ex. Google, Bing, Newsletter, Direct, Twitter, firstrate.com.au
Medium (traffic source): The traffic medium type ex. Organic, CPC, Email, Social etc.
Campaign (traffic source): The Adwords campaign name or URL tagged campaign name.
Last Interaction: The last interaction (visit) with the site on the conversion path leading up to a conversion
First Interaction: The first interaction (visit) with the site on the conversion path leading up to a conversion
First Interaction Conversions: The number of conversions where the traffic source drove the first interaction on the conversion path leading up to a conversion
Last Interaction Conversions: The number of conversions where the traffic source drove the last interaction on the conversion path leading up to a conversion
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to make any changes to my Google Analytics code or account?
You do not have to implement any further changes to your Google Analytics code for Cross-Channel reporting to work, however, at least one goal or e-commerce tracking needs to be set up multi-channel tracking to work.
Can I track other ad networks not currently supported?
You would need to make changes to the GA code to track non-standard ad networks.