By Paul Morris
Google just announced an improvement to Google Analytics – Multi Channel Funnels (official video above).
This development follows on from last year’s big development of Adwords Search Funnels that started to introduce funnel analysis to the masses.
Multi Channel Funnels allows you to track across the digital piste and with a little jiggery pokery attribute value to different clicks/ digital acquisition channels. It’s still not as good as some of the leading packages e.g. the solution only includes data from direct visits and not mere banner impressions (that didn’t result in a click through), does not allow you to attribute value in the interface and only allows for a 30 day cookie prior to the sale (hence not ideal for longer sales cycles); however the ramifications of this development could still be huge if rolled out to the mass of Google analytics users (it’s currently in an exclusive beta).
Whilst multi click attribution has been available for several years it has really only been used by companies with deep analytics pockets as there is not only the cost of the solution itself but effective integration can take some time and man power.
When Multi-channel funnels does open up to the mass of sites using Google analytics it then sets a public expectation of other digital channels to follow suit; an obvious one being affiliate marketing. Whilst there are forward thinking affiliate networks and companies (EBay’s partner network springs to mind) most are still stuck in a last click wins mentality. This Google development could clearly accelerate affiliate marketing change to a multi click attribution model and set the cat amongst the voucher code and cash back site pigeons.
It will be interesting to see how major analytic companies such as Atlas and Google’s own Double Click also deal with this development. Whilst they clearly offer additional benefits over multi-channel funnels their USP’s are further eroded by this development.
The final major point is that in many sectors this development will take away value ascribed to PPC when measured on a last click attribution basis. Google however will take that hit if it can use multi click attribution to help justify expenditure on more expensive generic keywords that are further up the customer journey/ funnel and also help justify expenditure in areas such as Google display, mobile, YouTube and social media. Whilst Google has little success in the later of these, clearly with recent news of +1 and bonuses apparently being dependent on Social Media success Google is laying the foundations for further market extensions.