Do you remember the last time you ever clicked on an ad in Google Search and bought a product on the first visit to a website? No? You are not alone. Your customers are not visiting your website once and then purchasing, submitting an enquiry or booking your service either (a Conversion).
In fact, the majority of purchases or conversions are the result of several interactions, from multiple channels. Recent studies show that most people consult 10+ sources before making a decision.
A channel is where your traffic is coming from, for example;
- Direct; website visitors going straight to the website (ie entering the URL or through a bookmark)
- Organic; website visitors who searched and then clicked on your organic listing
Social; website visitors through a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram
- Paid Search; website visitors through paid ads on Google (Google Adwords, SEM, CPC)
- Referral; website visitors who have clicked a link from another website
- Display; website visitors from Display Advertising like remarketing on Google
Email; website visitors from links clicked in an email
So, someone searches for your product or service, they click on your Ad and they look around your website. They then, over the space of anywhere from a few minutes to a few months or longer, revisit your website before, hopefully, converting – buying your product, submitting an enquiry or booking your service. This conversion path (the steps a website visitor takes before converting) is incredibly varied.
For example, if I want to buy a pizza my Conversion Path may look like this
- Click on a Google Adwords Ad when I searched for a pizza place near me (channel is Paid Search)
- Visit their Facebook page (after looking at a few other pizza places in my area) to read reviews and look at their photos and click through to the website (channel is Social Media)
- Go to TripAdvisor to read reviews and click through to the website and finally order (channel is Referral)
When thinking about your own Conversion Path, consider how many times you go back to a website and the process you take before deciding to convert. You may check out competitors, read reviews, check shipping costs and terms and conditions, educate yourself on the product or service, review social media pages etc etc. You may also use multiple devices such as mobile, tablet and desktop.
Using tools, we can gain insight to how a visitor interacts with each channel before converting. For example, in Google Analytics, the Top Conversion Paths report shows this very clearly and highlights just how complex a conversion process can be.
In the example below, 2 people visited the website through Paid Search (a Google Adwords ad) then visited the website 4 times directly before purchasing.
It’s essential to understand these interactions and look at your channels holistically. Use reports like the one above to spot trends that result in a conversion, to identify channels which are initiating or driving conversions and, if you are looking at where your conversions are from, to understand the supportive nature some of these “underperforming” channels.
Ready to start? You can find this report in Google Analytics under “Conversions”, “Top Conversion Paths”. Good luck!