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Setting "Soft" Goals to Leverage Google Analytics' Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

Google's Multi-Channe Funnel (MCF) reports provide advertisers with incredible insight into the varied touch points and channel influencers along the path to conversion.  No longer do advertisers and PPC managers need to settle for "last click attribution" when calculating return on ad spend.  We now have the ability to "pull back the curtain" and gain a much better understanding of the role of the "introducer" channel, the "influencer" channel and the "closer" channel, campaign, or keyword.

At a macro level, MCF reports visually reveal the interplay of PPC, organic, referral and direct traffic in delivering return visitors to a website, as illustrated in the following venn diagram:

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Venn Diagram (click to enlarge)


We now have a much clearer understanding of how Paid Search, or any channel for that matter, delivers conversions and "assisted conversions".   MCF reports even illustrate the effectiveness of a company's social media and email marketing efforts at driving return visitors and delivering product revenue, as illustrated in the table below:

Multi-Channel Funnel Assisted Conversion Overview (click to enlarge)

We've previously known that visitors require multiple visits to our website prior to converting.  Before MCF reports, we could only imagine the channel "path" that a visitor may take to find a client's website for the second, third or fourth time.  With MCF reports, our "paths to conversion" are now easier to comprehend, and "visits to transaction" takes on a whole new meaning!


Multi-Channel Funnel "Top Conversion Paths" Overview (click to enlarge)

For retailers selling products online, MCF reports help us calculate true return on ad spend down to the keyword level - as long as Google Analytics ecommerce tracking code is installed properly and passing back transaction and product revenue data!

But, what if your website visitors don't convert into a "sale" or product purchase?  What if your visitors "convert" by picking up the phone and calling to place an order, or make an appointment, or even request information?  MCF reports can still provide rich insight into which channel and/or combination of channels and campaigns are the most effective at returning visitors to your website to take the desired action.

All you need to do to leverage the power of MCF insights is to set up "soft" Goals (some call them "micro-conversions) in Google Analytics.  Goals can be set for any visit that exceeds a pre-defined duration or number of page views.  Goals can also be created when key pages of your website are viewed, i.e., your "Contact Us" page or your "Directions" page.

Once your goals are set and data is collected, your MCF reports will populate.  Here's an example of a goal set for when 7 or more pages are viewed during a unique session.  This provides us with critical insight into the role that Pay Per Click advertising plays in returning qualified visitors who demonstrate intense engagement on our clients' website.  Notice the 38 conversions that had their roots in PPC, but ultimately converted on an "organic" visit.

Multi-Channel Funnel Top Conversion Paths Overview (click to enlarge)

Once you become comfortable with the MCF interface, you'll want to explore the endless customization of reports with Custom Channel Groupings.  Custom groupings allow you to quickly isolate certain campaigns or ads to better understand how non-brand and brand keywords join forces to deliver return visitors and conversions.

If you have yet to discover the wonders of MCF reports, we enthusiastically encourage you to experiment with Google Analytics goals.  You may be surprised at what you find!

Should you need assistance with setting up goals, custom groupings, and/or interpreting your MCF reports, please contact us, and we'll be happy to schedule a one-on-one consultation to assist! 






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