Understanding Paths to Conversion and Attribution: Why You Need Multiple Channels

Are you putting all your marketing eggs in one basket? While it makes sense to prioritise the most popular platforms to reach the most people, research shows that it takes an average of 3 to 4 interactions before most users will think of connecting with a brand. Typically, 95% of visitors don't convert on their first visit to a website.

The more you diversify your digital marketing activities, the more chances you'll have to connect with customers and to make sure you're in their minds when they're ready to make a purchase, rather than losing sales to competitors.

Marketing and Analytics

What are the most popular channels?

Market research will give you an idea of where your marketing efforts are most likely to succeed for your specific industry. The key thing to note is that your target customers don't just use a single platform, and strong SEO, paid advertising and social media campaigns will use different messages across different platforms to create more opportunities for conversions.

According to this research from wearesocial for January 2020, the percentage of social media platforms usage in Australia for the top social media platforms are:

  1. YouTube: 80%
  2. Facebook: 80%
  3. Instagram: 53%
  4. Twitter: 29%
  5. LinkedIn: 27%

The average Australian now spends around 1.5 hours per day on social media, often using 5 or more channels, but this is just part of the total 5.5 hours spent online daily.

Monthly this is:

  1. 174 hours internet usage
  2. 53 hours spent on social platforms

SEO campaigns targeting search engine queries and online ads should also be part of any marketing mix.

What do all of these different platforms being used mean to you and your marketing?

Firstly, consumers know they have more options. As such, even when a website and its offering looks good, a consumer will often leave just to see what other options they have.

Secondly, using multiple channels means users have shorter attention spans, so they're less likely to remember individual brands. Since they know they can go straight back to Google and search again to find what they're looking for, consumer brains are triggered not to feel the need to retain that information.

Couple both of these two together and you can understand why it's important to stay front and centre in people's minds by appearing in different channels.

Where are your customers coming from?

When your campaigns are already up and running, you can get clear insights on how they're performing using tools such as Google Analytics. But analysing one specific channel won't give you the full picture of how users are turning into leads and customers. Instead, you need to take a look at the various conversion paths.

Analytics lets you track interactions and conversions in real time and over the long term, so you can measure ROI and see which channels are the best performers using multi-channel funnels and attribution. By taking a long-term view, you can see how many times a user visited your website or social media account before they made a purchase and how long the time lag was.

All channels that appear in a conversion path are valuable. Even if they're not the ultimate source of the conversion, every interaction with your brand helps to build familiarity and develop positive associations that can drive sales.

For example, a user may have found you originally through a Google organic search, but they weren't yet at the point of making a buying decision. They leave your site and quickly forget about you. But over the coming month(s), be it through retargeting or other ad types, the same user sees you in different social media platforms.

Keeping you front and center in their mind, by the time they are ready to purchase, not only do they remember your brand, but the reinforcement of seeing your name continuously will drive a far stronger and more credible impression of your brand, so they're more likely to choose you over another brand with the same or similar offering.

How to find this information in Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, comparing how different channels are performing and which are converting is very straightforward. From the Conversions menu, you can view both Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution.

Path to conversions and attribution in Google Analytics

  • Multi-Channel Funnels shows how customer behaviour differs across channels and how these channels interact to drive conversions
  • Attributions uses an attribution modelling algorithm to calculate the value of each channel

Both of these metrics together can help you decide which channels are your best performers, which need to be improved and which can be retired.

How many channels should you use?

Since every company has different needs and goals, there's no set answer to where you should be focusing your digital marketing. Casting a wider net will improve your chances of converting, as long as you choose your channels wisely. A good marketing strategy ties together different channels that work in harmony to persuade visitors to become customers.

Some companies have very short lead times to purchase. For example, if you're selling mobile phone cases at a very low cost, your customers probably aren't going to need much persuasion or time to compare their options. On the other hand, if you're selling more expensive items such as laptops, there can be many interactions needed before a user finally becomes a buyer. Cost isn't the only factor determining how many interactions are involved, but in general, higher cost products and services involve more interactions before the purchase decision.

We understand that smaller businesses may consider how to cut down on costs wherever possible. However, marketing done right shouldn't be looked at as a cost, but rather an investment that drives increases in revenue and far outweighs any initial cost outlay.

Successful marketing in 2020 involves a multi-tiered approach, so if you're interacting with users on just 1 or 2 platforms, you could miss that all-important final impression that turns them into buyers and a competitor could swoop in to get the sale. Worst of all, it may have been your website that was one of their first interactions and warmed them up to the product or service they were looking for.

Quantum's digital blog can help you make the most of social media, SEO, PPC and other strategies to give you the best ROI on your marketing spend. 

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