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Assisted Conversions – The un-loved sidekick

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ask your marketing team to check conversions in Google Analytics and they’ll likely click on the Conversions tab and have a look at Goals and E-commerce (if appropriate for the business). They may even click the Acquisition tab and use filters to see their main KPIs by channel, source, or medium.

But, while these are two good places to start when looking to analyse and evaluate performance, they don’t tell the whole story.

In fact, there’s more valuable information hidden in plain sight under the Conversions tab, the ominously named Multi-Channel Funnels. Within this data analyst’s treasure trove, among other things, you’ll find insights about your top converting paths, time-lag until a conversion, and assisted conversions.

Let’s break down that last one, assisted conversions:

  • Assisted – meaning that at first glance we can’t see the original source of these conversions in other Analytics tabs as they’ve been attributed to the user’s last touchpoint. If you’re not quite sure what that means, don’t worry; it’ll become clearer later on.
  • Conversions – meaning that they should be taken into account when evaluating a channel’s effectiveness. For example, if the channel is assisting the conversion (whatever that desired action is), then it is still effective.

By focusing solely on the primary conversions, we can miss important metrics that could influence our entire strategy.

Think about stories in books, TV and films – we normally focus on the main character, the hero, often ignoring the sidekick. We watch the “Sherlock Holmes” series, not “Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson.” However, the show would not be the same without the trusty sidekick.

Direct Conversions vs. Assisted Conversions

“It’s elementary, my dear Assisted Conversion.”

So why do sidekicks – in this case assisted conversions – like Dr. Watson matter?

Because they could be the voice of reason when you’re making big, plot-altering decisions. Because they manage a lot of the grunt work the hero doesn’t. But mainly, they keep the hero going, keep them effective at what they do.

For example, if a user lands on the website through a paid search ad, leaves, and then returns and converts a few days later through organic search, that conversion will be attributed to organic search. That’s because conversions in Analytics are attributed to only the source/medium immediately before, not to the first touchpoint.

So, while it’s very important to know the immediate conversion source, it’s also important to know what brought them to your website in the first place so that you keep that flow of traffic coming!

This is particularly true when a big investment is involved, such as paid search, social media advertising, affiliates, etc. You don’t want to cut back on activities that bring in qualified users, so knowing all the touchpoints involved is essential.

Keep in mind that depending on the product/service, the time-lag between the first touchpoint and the conversion could be significant – remember that Time Lag tab? Now’s the time to get it involved.

Ambergreen's Analytics and Paid Media experts can help.

You got this!

Here at Ambergreen, we look after the sidekicks as well, as we always want to have the full picture about performance before advising our clients.

Reducing activity for a campaign, or even a whole channel, that seems to underperform could be catastrophic if that’s what’s bringing the majority of the customers-to-be in the first place.
If you’d like to have a clearer image of how conversions are generated for your business, get in touch to arrange a call.

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