Before we buy anything online, we often want to check different places to make sure that we are buying the right item at the right (lowest) price. The journey to purchase has become complex. Customers have access to multiple sources of information on multiple “screens” that influence their purchasing decisions.
Businesses need to figure out how different marketing campaigns work together to bring one online customer to make one single purchase.
Every customer’s journey can be broken into four stages: Awareness, consideration, intent and decision. Myself as a customer can see these stages in my own journey to purchase a new phone, for example. Only two months ago, I upgraded my phone but I can say that it took me four weeks earlier to decide and to chose my next phone model.
This is a stage where a potential customer becomes aware of the existence of your product or service that can fulfill their need. This stage may start when they first become aware of a need. My own purchasing journey started four weeks earlier while doing my shopping in Tesco Supermarket somewhere in Leeds. I saw a display of this nice and big phone with 5.5-inch touch screen. I felt in love with it because I realised I could do much of my work with it on the go. But I did not consider buying it yet.
At this stage customers start to actively express an interest in a product group and start to evaluate how effective different offerings could meet their needs. A week in my purchasing journey, I came face to face with a banner ad while browsing the internet. The same phone again!!! I started to think about this phone and was wondering if there was any interesting price plan out there.
Customers start to aspire to a particular brand or product and are now searching online, such as on Google, price comparison sites, vendor sites etc… At this stage customers start to make up their mind towards one solution, brand, model or another and eventually make their purchasing decision.
I searched on Google with the keyword “Samsung galaxy note ii”. Two search results got my attention: AdWords search result from Tesco and a link on organic search result from Three.co.uk. As both were offering similar price plans, I chose the option to upgrade with Three.co.uk. Did I purchase that day? Not yet.
Customer takes the next step towards purchasing the chosen product. A week later, one evening from work, decisively I opened my browser, went directly to Three.co.uk and made the purchase.
This is a common scenario in today customer’s world. I did not purchase based on one message or one ad or search result. At different stages, all of these messages played a role in the final conversion.
Different marketing channels assists in conversion. Today, marketing strategists will not give all credit to the “last clicked” media channel any more. This is just like the way you would give credit to all five basketball team players who assisted the last player to mark a goal. In web analytics too, that conversion is not entirely attributed to the last media channel visited before the purchase. Many other channels will have contributed to the conversion path the customer took.
Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics can show how all channels interacted and what keywords were involved in the customer journey to conversion. In Google Analytics there is a set of tools under Multi-Channel Funnels that can help understand, quantify and visualise how your different marketing channels affect customers’ decisions. Multi-Channel Funnels reports will help you evaluate how the length of the customer journey, in days and number of interactions, impact purchase value.
Channel interactions differ from business to business; form customer to customer, from product to product. Check our article on multi-channel funnels to help you take advantage of this tool and find out which channel is more profitable, which one is not for your business.