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Advanced Attribution in Google Analytics: Track the Customer Journey

When drafting your fantasy basketball team, would you rather have the star forward who scores in style, or the solid background player who makes assist after assist? Do you have a sense of which marketing activities are your best utility players? If not, Google Analytics has launched two major changes in June that will make it much easier to track your customer journey from first touch to the final sale.

If you haven’t checked out GA’s Multi-Channel Funnels reporting in awhile, it’s time to take another look. It’s been two years since the last tweaks to the tool, but the last month has represented a significant overhaul to functionality.

Model Comparison Tool

The first big change: The announcement on June 20th of a revised Model Comparison Tool. In the past, the tool gave the same weight to each touchpoint in the customer journey, from an initial visit prompted by a display ad to the final organic visit prior to a sale, underweighting the importance of that first touch.

The new Model Comparison Tool, on the other hand, gives a quick overview of the effectiveness of your marketing channels:

Google allows you to create “custom credit rules” if you’d like to adjust the weighting of various channels, but their standard rules provide a useful starting point.

The example above shows a comparison of Last Interaction conversion weighting (what your standard conversions report would appears like outside of the MCF) with First Interaction. The simple act of switching the credit to the first interaction, shows that organic and paid search are now getting credit for conversions that they would have otherwise missed out on.

Google also includes five additional models beyond First and Last Interaction: Last Non-Direct, Last AdWords Click, Time Decay, Linear and Position Based. It’s worth taking a look at all of the different models, but we’d recommend beginning with First Interaction to develop a baseline understanding of your best top-of-the-funnel activities; if you’re not generating enough initial interest, meeting sales goals down the line will be difficult. The Last Non-Direct model is also an interesting way to take direct visits out of the view altogether and get a better idea of how effective your paid marketing activities may be.

A Wider Window

Another huge change in June: Google expanded the Multi-Channel Funnels Lookback window from 30 days to 90 days. This may not sound like a huge deal, but it provides car dealers a much more accurate view of your sales funnel, given that many car buyers spend months researching a car online before getting serious about a purchase.

Any report in the Multi-Channel Funnels section will include an expanded Lookback window, including the new Model Comparison Tool, near the top of the page:

Always select a complete 90-day view to make sure you're capturing as many interactions as you can related to every conversion that you're tracking; the Conversion drop down allows you to segment your conversion types.

Between the extended Lookback feature and the revised attribution modeling functionality, Google Analytics can now provide a much fuller picture of which channels are performing for your dealership. You’ll be able to give full credit to those activities that help bring buyers to your door, time after time.

For information on how to get the more out of Google Analytics for car dealers, check out our Measure What Matters blog series.

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Tags: analytics, attribution, conversion, conversions, ga, google, optimization


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