5 new ways Google Analytics tracks customer engagment

Sept. 5, 2011

Google has added five new reports to its free Google Analytics service, significantly expanding restaurant operators' ability to see the sequence of channels that led users to make a purchase.

Merchants using Google Analytics' new Multi-Channel Funnel can now trace the full digital path a shopper takes, learning how customers interact with organic search, affiliate sites, display ads, social networks, email, video and mobile on the path to purchase. It also offers insights into how these mediums intersect to help drive conversion.

Why it's important

In the past, all purchases were attributed to the last source by which a user came to a retailer's website. For example, a customer who sees, but doesn't click on a display ad for a restaurant on a Tuesday, may perform a search for that same eatery on Wednesday. Then, he may click on a paid ad to visit the site on Thursday but does not place a carry out order until receiving a piece of email marketing on Friday. Previously, Google Analytics would have attributed the conversion to the email. Under the new reporting function, however, the display ads and paid search ad are also credited for triggering the sale.

Below are the five reports and how they can help with marketing.

Multi-Channel Funnels Overview provides a summary page that shows total conversions, assisted conversions where more than one source contributed to a visitor's conversion, and a "Conversion Visualizer" that displays multi-colored Venn diagrams to help users visualize the overlaps in conversions.

Assisted Conversions Reports show all the conversions that occurred during a selected time period. The results can be sorted by source, medium, channel, first or last interaction, as well as other factors.

Top Conversion Paths Reports show the sequences of channels that led to a conversion, displayed according to a variety of sorting options. Among other uses, this report can be useful in visualizing which keywords or Google AdWords campaigns are performing better than others.

Time Lag Reports allow users to see how many days it took for conversions to happen.

Path Length Reports show how many visits, regardless of source, were needed to convert a customer.

Other features of Google Analytics allow users to compare their sites with others in the same industry, track where visitors arrived on the site and where they left, view visitors' clicking habits and set up alerts when traffic spikes.

Google Analytics is currently used by 161 of the Top 500 Internet retailers [Forrester Research Inc.].

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Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social , Operations Management

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