Web analytics, attribution models in Analytics

Mailrelay , Invited guest @ Mailrelay

When we are working with online marketing, we usually find ourselves asking the same question, where should we invest our budget? Google AdWords, social networks, SEO, which of all the options will be the most profitable? And we always hope to find answers in web analytics.

The problem is that we don’t always ask the right questions. In fact, a great part of the problem is the question:

What is the channel that brings us the most conversions?

Are the newsletters?

Adwords? Social networks? The blog?

And from there we already have a catastrophe in the making, because we are only concentrating on finding the channel that leads to more conversions.

However, in this way, we leave aside much of the available information and we forget to look at the purchase funnel more appropriately.

A known issue related to web analytics

This problem was already known in Analytics for many years, so now there are different attribution models for conversion analysis. The problem was that in Analytics, this information was not available until some years ago.

Now the problem is with using this information, or not doing it.

And review the reports available.

The first step is to create a goal.

The first thing we need to do to measure things well is create a goal in Analytics.

To do that, go to the Admin menu -> property -> and in “View,” we will click on Goals:

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In this screen, we have to click on the Create goal button:

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You will have to create the goal by following the steps described on the screen, adjusting it to your needs. Remember that creating the goal is only the first step in this whole process.

But without a goal, it will be impossible to measure anything, so we need to make sure we set a goal that makes sense.

Acquisition -> Channels Doesn’t offer complete information!

In my humble opinion, we can’t be rushed when analyzing reports about our site.

That’s why there are reports like what we can see in Acquisition -> Channels, which don’t provide complete information:

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However, you may be thinking:

  • But this information is fantastic; we have all the traffic divided by its origin

Now we just need to see which channel has the largest volume of conversions and put the entire budget on the winning horse:

  • Easy!

In fact, on the same Google Analytics screen, on the right, we can see the goals, with the information regarding each of the channels:

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So we have information on the number of conversions generated by each channel.

But of course, this process is not so easy; many other variables come into play.

We can think that just by pushing the best channel we would have better results, or that we could stop working with the other channels, and thus save money, getting the same results.

Let’s do things slowly.

Let’s go to the menu:

Conversions – Multi-channel Conversion Paths – Overview

Because in this menu we will see more interesting information, which will help us understand what is really happening until the conversion is complete.

If we access this screen and choose a single channel, we will see additional information:

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Nothing new, data in percent conversion by each channel and a graphical representation of the channel volume.

But what if we select two channels?

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That’s another thing.

Here we have already begun to glimpse the relationship that exists between the channels.

At the intersection of the two sets, we have conversions that interacted with both channels.

That is, they are customers that, to convert, have gone through organic search and the direct channel. In a not inconsiderable volume of 20%.

Now we are beginning to see how there is a certain relationship between channels, as they are working together to achieve the previously defined goals.

But that’s not all yet!

If we didn’t look for more information, we would only see that they are related.

But we want to understand more.

Although it’s not on the same menu, in my opinion, a next step in our conversion analysis would be in:

Conversions – Assignment – Model Comparison Tool

A name that is not very attractive.

But what can we find behind this name?

When we access this screen, we will see more information:

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The model in use is the last interaction, neither more nor less than the the conversion rate of each channel, taking into account the last interaction of this channel.

That is, in the organic search we will see the users that searched on Google for a keyword, found our page, and finalized the conversion process.

Thus, we see that the direct channel and the organic channel have a similar weight.

Take note of this.

But didn’t we see before that there were channels that overlapped? Where is this information?

Good question!

For this we have to configure at the top:

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I configured it as follows:

  • In the first step First interaction
  • Then
  • In the second step Last interaction

So we can see a lot more information as we’ll see the channels that are generating the first contacts with potential customers, and the channels that are closing sales.

This will help us to better appreciate the channels that help us find our potential customers. I value them very much, because, without them, the first contact would not happen.

Despite that, we used another channel to close the deal.

Let’s see what information Analytics offers:

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By analyzing the reports, we can see exactly what I mean.

A little higher up we saw that organic search and direct traffic had a similar conversion rate.

But now we see this more clearly. Organic search is working very well as a first contact channel, and then there are others that close the sale. For example, direct traffic is working a lot better to close sales.

This information helps us decide a little better where to invest because it offers a more global look at the funnel.

You can even compare specific campaigns!

Yes, if we label the links we create well, we can even get information about a specific campaign.

To do that, we only have to select the campaign option:

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That way, we can see a lot of additional information:

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  • Blog newsletters have completed 107 conversions, it doesn’t look like much, but
  • If we see that it started 358 conversions, it looks much better!

In fact, the channel loses 70% of the volume of conversions, which is why it may seem like it is not working, when in fact it is doing ok.

For example, let’s imagine that you decided to pay for a banner campaign. However, when reviewing the reports, you discover that it didn’t finish any conversions.

You probably would think that the campaign was a bad idea.

But if you look at the conversions that originated from this campaign, maybe you can discover that the investment was not so bad, because it helped to start several conversions.

With the different attribution models, we have much more information to determine which channels work best for our marketing strategy.

But here we continue to see information in two steps, the channel that starts the conversion and the one that will finish it. Seen this way, we can think that our conversion funnel has only two steps:

  • And that’s not true!

We have to see how many contacts are needed to complete the conversion, in the menu:

Conversions – Multi-channel Conversion Paths – Interaction Path

In this panel, we will see how many times we have to impact a potential client to convert:

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The case of Mailrelay is a bit different because as we have the largest free account in the market, many people will test our email marketing software without going through a very long funnel or without much interaction.

Even so, we have 51% conversions in the first contact, almost half of the people who visit our landing page. However, around 50% is not converting immediately. We need 2 or more contacts to convince these users to use our email marketing software.

Here we can already have an idea of the duration of our funnel.

And, in fact, we can see the time lag, that is, how long our potential customers need to think before creating an account on our software.

Conversions – Multi-channel Conversion Paths – Time Lag

This is another very useful information, to know how long the process lasts from decision-making to purchase:

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In this case, we see that the sales funnel hardly lasts at all, for the reasons explained above.

But there may be cases where the prospect needs more time to make the decision, more time and more contacts.

In short, we have seen so far:

1.- Normally, more than one channel participates in the conversion process.

2.- If we want to know how each channel is contributing, we will have to analyze conversions with different attribution methods.

3.- The number of contacts and the length of the conversion funnel.

All this information is very important for working with web analytics and better understand what is happening with our digital marketing strategy.

And we can still get more information.

As we have seen, the conversion funnel can consist of several contacts, so far we have only seen where it begins and where it ends, now let’s see more.

Conversions – Multi-channel Conversion Paths – Main Conversion Paths

It is in this menu that we can see the steps that customers will go through until they finish the conversion and which channels come into action to assist during this process.

I think it’s one of the most useful menus in Analytics, but maybe also one of those that require more detailed study.

Here we can see very short paths:

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In our case, in just two steps, the conversion was completed, a first contact by organic search and the conversion was completed, through the direct channel.

Do you remember we talked about this before?

We have already seen the relationship between the two channels, and now everything is more visible and very clear.

We will also see more complex paths:

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And infinitely more complex paths:

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Here you can see more clearly how the different channels interact, right?

Now we will need to analyze and evaluate the relevancy of each channel in the conversions, to know where we can direct our investment to maintain or improve the effectiveness of our marketing strategy.

It’s not easy, but at least we have information to do that, using web analytics.

I hope this information is helpful to you!

When analyzing your campaigns, your conversion funnels, and the relationship of the different conversion channels and your investment!

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