Think of the last high cost item you purchased. Did you know exactly what you were looking for? Did you buy it as soon as you saw it? Or did you search through multiple websites and stores to see which one had the better price? Or which one offered a better shipping rate? Online shoppers have multiple touch points with websites or stores before they decide to make a final purchase. The same phenomenon can be observed in website Goal Conversions; sometimes it takes customers multiple times to access your website before completing a Goal Conversion. Here is an example of an Assisted Conversion Channel Path as pulled from Google Analytics:
Assisted Conversions track the multiple touch points customers make on a website before they complete a Goal Conversion. It is easy to get caught up in what closes the conversion, however it is important to monitor the process of Assisted Conversions because they help us look at what initiates, develops, and closes the conversion.
The first section tells us what initially brought customers to the site. In this case, it was a paid search ad (PPC) that had a meaningful message which resonated with the customer, ultimately enticing the click. What if that ad was not there when the customer was browsing? Would the customer have ever come to the site? This shows the importance of your first impression to customers.
The first time the customer went to the website, they were interested but did not complete a conversion action at that time. The next period, "develops", is when the site is developing the user into a customer. In this example, the user went to the website five times before his last click of the Assisted Conversion; direct twice, then through an organic search, and then direct another two times. We can see that the website made an impression on the customer because after going through the PPC ad, the customer went directly back to the site. It is possible the customer did this by saving the website as a bookmark or going directly to the webpage by typing the URL into his browser. During these multiple visits, customers could be comparing the information to competitors' offerings, doing research, price checking, etc. The website is developing trust with the users and establishes itself as an informative company that offers what the need.
The final touch point in the channel conversion path is the last direct website visit in which the user completed the conversion. This session turned them from a user into a customer, but never would have happened without the assistance of all the other touch points along the way. Understanding the customer journey through Assisted Conversions shows the importance of all channels of online marketing (paid search, direct, & organic) and how they work together to get you the quality conversions you want. The process of Assisted Conversions (initiating, developing, and closing) present visitors with multiple touch points on your website and assist in converting them into customers who see the value and trust of your brand.