Google Analytics has updated a useful tool that helps businesses track and analyze customer interaction paths from first click to purchase.
The aptly-named The Customer Journey to Online Purchase launched in early 2013 as Google recognized the need for website owners to better understand how customers act from their first visit through conversion.
The tool utilizes data contributed by Google Analytics clients who authorize sharing with other Google products. According to Search Engine Watch, e-commerce and multi-channel funnel data comes from more than 36,000 Google Analytics customers across 11 industries in seven nations.
Customers can use the tool to understand and analyze customers’ journeys, whether with small, medium or large businesses, as well as through a range of industries.
“These days, the customer journey has grown more complex, touching many different marketing channels,” the tool’s developers explain. “This tool helps you understand the roles these channels play, so you can better attribute credit across the purchase path and improve your marketing performance.”
Featuring updated data, as well as revamped industry classifications, the new version of “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase” lets users analyze the influence of brand and generic search terms during their shopping experience.
The possibilities are limitless. Here we explore how marketing channels for large US-based companies in the business and industrial sector influence customers’ buying choices:
We see that social networking, generic paid searches and display clicks play earlier and assisting roles in the typical sale, closely followed by organic searches, referrals, brand paid searches and email. Direct channels are most likely to be the final customer interaction before purchase.
In this example, we look at how customers of a small Canadian retail shopping business use marketing channels along their purchasing journey. A more simple process emerges, with generic paid search becoming central, and organic search, email and referrals playing increasingly significant roles. Again, direct channels are typically near the end point of the process.
The tool also analyzes channel positions on the path to purchase. In our first example, we see that referral campaigns dominate the middle part of the customer purchase journey, when buzz and interest are created and boosted.
In our example of a small Canadian retail shopping business, it is immediately evident that generic paid searches overwhelmingly impact the beginning and intermediate stages of the customer journey.
As mobile becomes increasingly important, customer journeys are increasingly taking place on multiple screens. Google has responded with “Mobile in the Purchase Journey,” billed as “Google’s research on the role of the smartphone—when, where, and why customers use smartphones, and how they impact the purchase decision process.
“The Customer Journey to Online Purchase” also includes a link to “Measure What Matters Most,” a 14-page “marketer’s guide to improving outcomes by focusing on your best customers and the critical moments in their journey.”
The report helps marketers gauge the right message to deliver at each unique point in the customer purchase journey. This is an essential, yet often mystifying, process for businesses looking to ensure efficient allocation of resources and prevent customer alienation. The report urges companies to focus on the right metrics, value their best customers, attribute value across the journey and prove the impact of their marketing campaigns.
“Collectively, these points show how better measurement can improve campaign effectiveness, help you get the credit you deserve for your programs and, most importantly, ensure a better return on investment for all of your marketing,” the report states.