Smarter Conversion Attribution: A Simple Way to Discover More Revenue
Published: April 10, 2013
Author: Dan Wilkerson
A lot of marketers have spent some time with one analytics tool or another, but nearly all have enjoyed a stint with my personal favorite, Google Analytics. The tool, designed to track the interactions of visitors on web properties, provides some great information for social media advertisers – including, if the site is has any ecommerce functionality, conversions from social sites.
One thing many marketers fail to do in their reporting, however, is take into account multi-channel interactions.
In today’s world, consumers have multiple devices and channels through which they can find out about, learn more about, and purchase your products or services. However, it’s usually only the last channel that gets the credit for conversion.
For example, Fred sees a news story on television about a new grocery store coming to town. A week later, he sees a coupon in a newspaper for an item in that store and decides to purchase the item. The store owner would attribute the success of the sale to the coupon, but Fred might never have cut it out if he hadn’t recognized the store from the news story. Which should get the credit for Fred’s purchase? The coupon, or the news story (or realistically, the rock star PR team)?
Before, there really wasn’t any way to tell. You’d give the conversion to the coupon, cut loose your PR team, and then wonder why sales were tanking. Now, we have web analytics to clear the air. I’m talking about the Multi-Channel Funnels reports in Google Analytics, of course.
If you’ve been doing your due diligence and tagging the URLs of your Facebook ads appropriately, you can learn an enormous amount from Google Analytics. (If you aren’t tagging the URLs, start – it’s an important way to get reliable data from social advertising.) You look into your Transactions Reports, and then filter by Source:Facebook (or whatever you’ve tagged your source as for your Facebook ads). You might get something like this:
You’d determine your ROI, and report. Perfect, right? Perhaps – but, to parallel our example, you’re only seeing the revenue from Facebook ads as ‘coupons’, instead of ‘news stories’. There’s much more data to be mined here.
Go ahead and open up the Multi-Channel Funnels, then create a custom Conversion Segment. Here you can choose what attribution level you’d like to see conversions for – conversions that had anything to do with a visit from a Facebook ad, conversions that started with a visit from a Facebook ad, or conversions that happened on a visit from a Facebook ad. This can provide different insight depending on how you segment it.
I’d like to see conversions that originated from or finished on a visit from a Facebook Ad, so I’ll set the filter to First Interaction, with Source:Fb-paid, our source for Facebook ads. Then, I’ll set the Path Length to All, so I can see any conversions my ads caused. This is the new picture we see:
Whoa! Big difference, right? Conversion value from my ads was under-attributed by about 50% ($4 in the first example and $6 in the second). In addition to insights on revenue, this report also lets me explore the conversion paths most users took. This can be a great place to discover what combinations of advertisements or marketing efforts work stronger than stand-alone methods – you might find that display coupled with Facebook ads is a sweet spot for your business, for example. Remember, however, that this additional revenue – from what are called Assisted Conversions – requires that you factor in other marketing expenses ad hoc in order to determine the true ROI.
Have you used Multi-Channel Funnels reports before? Tweet me your successes @notdanwilkerson.
– Dan Wilkerson