Advanced Google AdWords Tips and Tricks
Illustration by Richard Downs

Identifying the real impact of AdWords with the Multi-Channel Funnels reports and attribution models


Advanced Google AdWords Tips and Tricks

with David Booth

Video: Identifying the real impact of AdWords with the Multi-Channel Funnels reports and attribution models

A consumer's Path to Purchase is often Then, the user will click on a bunch An assist is given to a touch point that helped out along the path to purchase.

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Watch the Online Video Course Advanced Google AdWords Tips and Tricks
56m 54s Advanced Jun 27, 2014

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Ready to take the next step with AdWords? David Booth presents tips and tricks used by expert practitioners at his company Cardinal Path to improve their AdWords account management, organization, and reporting skills. First, you'll see different ways to use AdWords' labels, filters, and automated rules to improve visibility into your accounts. Agencies and freelancers managing multiple accounts will love learning how to use the My Client Center (MCC) features of AdWords—which provide a unified view of all your accounts in one place. Next, you'll learn how to save tremendous amounts of time with the AdWords Editor, where you can perform bulk edits, get rid of duplicate keywords, and create new campaigns extremely efficiently. Plus, you'll learn about the Auction Insights data, which will help you see how you stack up vs. the competition. Last, we'll dive into AdWords scripts and useful analytics and custom reports for evaluating Quality Score, attribution, and other key metrics and components of your AdWords account.

Google AdWords
David Booth

Identifying the real impact of AdWords with the Multi-Channel Funnels reports and attribution models

A consumer's Path to Purchase is often very complex, and not very often does someone hear about something for the very first time, and immediately spend their money to buy it. Well, that might happen with things like candy bars at the checkout counter of a grocery store. In our case, when people are looking to attend a live training event, there are usually some touch points along the way. First, a user has to become aware of the product or service that's being offered. Then, they'll probably do some research and compare us against our competition.

Eventually, they'll seriously consider purchasing, they'll get approvals, and then they'll finally pull the trigger. This might play out in the real world by doing an organic search, and then clicking on a search result. Then, the user will click on a bunch of other competing websites and do some research. A couple days later maybe they'll see a remarketing ad that we're serving, and they'll click over to our site to get some more details. And later, when they decide they want to go with us, maybe they'll type in our URL directly, or click on an email that we sent them, or click on a paid or organic search result again to make that transaction.

In all of these touchpoints, it becomes difficult to attribute the value of the transaction to each of those touchpoints along the way. By default, Google Analytics uses what's called Last Touch Attribution, and this means that the very last touchpoint where the purchase happened will take all of the credit for that purchase. But that's not really fair, since all of those other marketing initiatives along the way, helped out in the final purchase. The first way that you can account for this in Google Analytics is with the Multi-Channel Funnel reports that you can find in the Conversions menu.

Here, we're looking at an assisted conversion report that helps us to understand how often each of our channels was directly responsible for conversions and revenue as a last click source. But also, how much of that conversion value it was involved in along the way with an assist. An assist is given to a touch point that helped out along the path to purchase. But it was not the last touch point where the purchase was made. Now I'm leaving this at the High Channel grouping level for this video, but know that you can dive into any level of detail you want here. So if you wanted to pick apart page search and only look at AdWords, or even specific campaigns within AdWords, you can do that here.

But for this example, I can see pretty quickly that while my Page Search Campaigns have given me almost $23,000 in revenue where that paid search was the last touch point, what if I was spending $30,000 a month on AdWords? If I was only looking at Last Touch Attribution, I might conclude that AdWords is actually costing me money. But, let's look at the Assist column. Here I can see that in addition to $23,000 of Last Click Revenue, Paid Search helped out along the path to purchase for $40,000 more dollars of value.

So now, that $30,000 spend is looking like a pretty good investment. Notice that things like Display and Social Media are often used for branding and general top of funnel marketing initiatives. This column over to the right gives you a ratio of Assists versus Last Touch conversions. What you can think of as a measure of how high up the path to purchase funnel your various channels are impacting your potential customers. Here you can see that Display has a three to one ratio, meaning that it's definitely an upper funnel activity.

And this makes sense. Display Campaigns are designed for brand building and awareness. There are likely going to be lots of touch points between the first time you hear about us and the time you actually do business with us. Another interesting way to look at what we're really getting from our marketing campaigns, is through Attribution Modeling. Similar to what we just looked at, Google Analytics provides a model comparison tool that lets you explore more models than just Last Touch or Assists. Here, I can put up to three Attribution models side by side from a list of commonly used ones. And I can even create my own custom models. Let's take a quick look at the Last Touch versus First Touch. In a First Touch attribution model, the first touch point in a conversion path gets all the credit. I'm going to look at Conversions and Value, and then I can see a similar trend. My paid search is valued higher when looking at it through the First Touch method of attribution. Now, let's add the Linear model to the mix. This will assign value equally to every touch point along the way. So if I purchased a $10 product, and I visited your website through five different channels along the way, each of those channels would be attributed $2 of value. Here, I can see that things like Direct stay pretty high. This can be indicative of users that come back multiple times through typing in your URL or using bookmarks to access your site. And over on the right, you get a nice little comparison of the models against one another. For example, this is showing us that if we were using a Last Touch model instead of a First touch or a Linear Attribution model to value our display channel, we might be undervaluing it by 60 or 116%.

None of these models are right or wrong. They're just different ways to look at your data to gain a better understanding of how your marketing efforts are paying off with respect to the path to conversion. And being able to look at Multi-channel Funnel reports and Attribution Model reports in Google Analytics can help you better understand what you're getting for your marketing dollars. Where in the funnel your campaigns and channel are effective, and ultimately how to better market to your perspective customers.

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