This piece was written by Matt Wilkinson, with contributions from Stephen Pitts and Dominic Litten.
Google is arguably one of the most prominent digital organizations with access to a significant amount of data on how people interact online. Recently, Think with Google released a new tool, “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase.” Using data from Google Analytics, the tool provides insights on customer interaction paths, including the role each marketing channel typically plays within the customer journey. The data can be segmented by nineteen industries, business size and location (data is currently available for eight countries.)
The role of any given channel within a path ultimately informs how that channel should be measured. Advertisers who use a “last click” model for measurement often discredit interactions early on in the customer path. While the advertiser may see a short-term increase in ROI, ultimately, this can result in a decrease in new customers and negative downstream impact to other channels.
For example, the customer journey for a Large B2B and Industrial Company in the US shows that Social, Display and Generic (non-branded) Paid Search are often “assist” channels (appear earlier on within the purchase path). Channels such as Email, Branded Paid Search and Direct site visits are more likely to be the last interaction before a purchase.
Customer Journey for Large Business & Industrial Companies in the US
A marketer using Last Click Measurement within a large B2B US company may look at performance results from Branded Paid Search and see a strong ROI, while Non-Brand Paid Search appears to be performing poorly. The reality is that those Non-Brand Paid Search clicks are playing a vital role in introducing the users that later come back through a Branded Paid Search or Email. Reducing investment in the assisting channels will have a direct and negative impact on the “last interaction” channels, as well as overall sales or conversions.
So how can advertisers use this data? These insights can be used to inform holistic marketing strategies across channels, as well as the KPIs used to measure success. For channels that play an assist/introducing role, consider loosening ROI constraints, or leveraging additional KPIs for success measurement (email signups, store locators, etc). Additionally, messaging strategies should be tailored to speak to customers at each point of the journey. Messaging strategies for introducing / assisting channels should be focused on informing customers by introducing your brand and value proposition. Messaging across last interaction channels should be focused on direct response or “closing the sale.”
Finally, industry case studies and tools such as the Customer Journey should be used for directional insights, recognizing that actual data for your business may vary depending on level of investment, marketing strategies, pricing, promotions, etc. Consider leveraging an Attribution or Cross Channel Analytics platform such as Visual IQ, eBay Enterprise, or Adometry by Google. These tools can provide actual purchase path data and cross-channel insights that can be used to better inform marketing strategies.
Making the right decision with your marketing budget is paramount to growing your business efficiently and effectively. Gathering and leveraging the right data can give you an advantage over your competition and improve your interaction with your audience. Rosetta connects rich data, engaging experiences and robust technologies to forge meaningful relationships with customers that drive business impact.
View the Rosetta Consulting white papers “Customer Engagement from the Marketer’s Perspective” and “Customer Engagement from the Consumer’s Perspective.”