Multi-channel Funnels: Customer Journey to Conversion



In our article about the four stages of customer journey to purchase, we saw how the purchase cycle has become complex. In this article we explore different Multi Channel Funnels reports in Google Analytics that can help us understand, quantify and visualise how your different marketing channels affect customers’ decisions.

Every website is there to serve a goal (or goals) such as sales, subscriptions, downloads or any other important action. When a visitor gets to your website and completes one of these goals, it is called conversion. In order to attract visitors from many places and convert them into customers, various marketing channels are put in place by the marketing team (pay-per-click, organic search, social networks, affiliate marketing, display ads, TV adverts, etc…)

More often, conversion happen after several visits as users take time to research the product, consider pricing and compare similar products. During this process, your marketing channels work together to create sales and conversions. Google Analytics can tract visitor’s interaction with search engines, referral sites, social networks and even off-line channels and can report the sequence of channel interactions that lead up to conversions.

The Multi-channel Funnels reports help you understand which channel funnels send users to your site during the consideration process. They let you view how all your channels and marketing initiatives work together to create sales and produce conversions.

Marketing Channel Interaction

As multi-channel reports are visual, they let you explore which channels and keywords initiated a sale cycle, playing a role of first interaction. You can also view which channel and keyword tend to help complete the purchase journey or goal playing the role of last interaction. In addition you can explore which channels and keywords visitors interact with during the process but prior to actually making a purchase playing a role of assist interaction.

Under multi-channel funnel section of Google Analytics, you will find the following four reports:

  • Overview report
  • Assisted conversions report
  • Top conversion paths
  • Time lag report
  • Path length report

Information they provide will help you make informed campaign management decisions. Let us analyse these reports in order to understand various conversion paths and customers behaviour and understand the role each channel play in conversions. By default, multi-channel funnel reports show channel interactions for the last 30 days. You will have to adjust the period up to 90 days using the Look-back Window selector.


This report allows you to identify key relationships between your top four marketing channels. It gives you the total number of your conversions within the period considered. It has a graph made up of circles. Each circle represents a channel and circles’ intersection represents the amount of interaction between those channels. Hover your mouse over the intersection and you will get the percentage of such interaction. For example, you may see that “organic search” channel interacted with “referrals” in 13.7% of all conversions.

However, this report is limited to four traffic sources. This is a major limitation as it prevents you from having a clear vision of the interactions between many traffic sources.

The assisted conversions report

The assisted conversions report
The Assisted Conversions Report

This report summarises the roles and contributions of your channels. Assisted conversions and assisted conversion value shows a number and a monetary value of the conversions and sales the channel assisted. Last interaction conversions and last interaction conversion value shows a number and a monetary value of the conversions and sales the channel closed.

Time lag report

This report shows how many days it takes our conversion paths to complete, which means how many days it took to customers to convert. You may notice that for some goals (for example, signing up for a newsletter on a site) conversions happened during a single day of interaction. Depending on the nature of business, product or service your conversions may happen immediately or may take several days (example; buying a holiday package may involve a long consideration period). By examining your goals individually, you can see which conversions take longer than others.

Path length report

This report lets you view how many times customers interacted with the channels prior to converting. You will be able to see all the customers had three or four interaction with the channels before converting. In path length we can see how many conversions happened with a single interaction. Looking at the yellow bars, we can see the percentage of revenue that required at least two, three or four interactions.

Top conversion paths

This report shows each sequence of interaction that led up to a conversion. It shows how often each channel initiated, assisted and closed a sale and a conversion. Looking at the first path in the table, we may notice that the most common conversion path of your customers was initiated from interaction with social network or organic search, for example and the number of conversions from this path. Grouping by medium we see that the most common conversion path was two interactions with organic search.

Top conversion path is powerful because it gives you clear insight into how your channels interact, the pattern that comes up between keywords, ads and everything else.

So as you can see, multi channel funnel analysis helps shed light on a full path users follow to conversion rather than just the last click. For SEO purpose, we can also see which keywords were involved by select keyword or source medium path. It would be a great benefit to SEO team to know which keywords tend to initiate a purchase cycle or which keywords tend to get a purchase completed. SEO team many also need to know which keyword users interact with during the sales cycle but prior to actually buying.

By Parfait

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