Tracking Online Video Sales Conversions

Google Analytics Multi channel FunnelsAvoiding the pitfalls of last click attribution

When you are investing in any kind of marketing strategy you want to know which of your marketing efforts are yielding the best results in terms of conversions. If you are using online video, it may be that you are using video to lead audiences to your website where you expect them to complete a call to action. It may be that your goal is for your target market to just watch your video.

Online video is often used to introduce people to your business, to show them how something works or to help develop trust in your brand. Video is also used to convert customers at the end of the buying cycle too which is easier to measure, but where video contributes earlier on in the buy cycle and to what extent it contributes to specific sales can be a little murkier.

This post will take you through click attribution and show you how to use multi-channel funnels to give proper attribution of your sales to your video content.

When you hear web analysts talk about click attribution, they are referring to the debate about which click (or clicks) in a marketing campaign can take the credit for a conversion. So, first click attribution is when credit is given to the first click a user makes in a process – even if they do a lot of other things (e.g. additional searches) before they actually ‘convert’. Last click attribution gives credit to the last click before the conversion – regardless of what has happened before.

The traditional view of last click attribution to sales

The traditional view of the user/customer journey is that they will:
a) carry out a Google search
b) find an appropriate website
c) buy a product or service

The reality of multi-channel funnels

The reality is a lot more complex. A typical customer journey will involve multiple interactions. The number of unique possible pathways for a customer to complete a conversion is infinite, or at least difficult to measure. Here is an example of a more complex, yet very common, customer journey:

A customer sees a ‘tweet’ linking to a video which is advertising a product on Twitter. They watch the video but don’t click through. A week later they remember and are interested so they do a Google search to find the website. They find the product they were looking for but decide they aren’t ready to buy. So, they sign up to the newsletter. A month later, they receive an email with a special offer. They click through the email and make the purchase.

Where would you attribute credit for this conversion? what % weight do you give to each of the contributing channels? Is first click more important and significant than last click?

These are questions that you will need to determine internally as all businesses have different buying cycles.

It is obvious from the example above that it is impossible to give full credit to any one stage in the path that this particular customer followed. Instead, we have to accept that one click attribution is a flawed concept because there is no way to credit one stage independently.Click-Attribution-Buying-Funnel

The bottom of the funnel, i.e. the point of conversion, relies on the top. There could be a long time lag between an awareness raising element of a campaign (e.g. an online video) and an actual conversion, but ultimately, the video will have made a valuable contribution. It seems that a holistic marketing strategy is necessary and investment at every level of the funnel is key.

Measuring the return on your investment at the last click only will give you an incomplete picture and may mean that you miss important information about your customers behaviours and how they make decisions to buy your products.

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels

Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels has been around since August 2011. Watch this short intro video to get a picture of how it works:

Using this tool will enable you to build a much better picture of what is happening beyond the last click. This information will be useful in terms of how you construct your future marketing plans. In an ideal world, your customers would convert with one click. However, the reality of these windy pathways means that you need to think about how to optimise every stage of your customers journey.

A polished and effective awareness raising campaign, including lots of great online video, about your product is useless if it leads customers to your website which has been neglected, reflecting poorly on your business and brand.

Note: If you use YouTube Trueview adverts to encourage click throughs to your website, you will be faced with a challenge. When using an analytics tool, the clicks that you get from your paid adverts on YouTube, will be mixed in with the click throughs you achieve from your other natural traffic on YouTube (e.g. if you have a channel with other video content). This means it will be difficult to measure the impact of the adverts independently of your video content.

So, what you can do is tag your destination URL’s on your TrueView ads with Google Analytics parameters using the Google Analytics URL builder

A link to our homepage:

May become:

Then when we look at the source and medium of the referral traffic in Google Analytics we will be able to differentiate. The same method can be used wherever you run paid advertising campaigns and divert traffic to the URL of your choice.

Some useful features of Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels

  • Assisted conversions report: this can show you how organic search has been involved in your customer journey even if it wasn’t the last click
  • Last interaction ratio: this feature can work out if a channel is a converter or an influencer
  • Top conversion paths report: this feature will give you a visual representation of how there are a ridiculous number of unique paths. The top 10 will likely show the most typical paths a user may follow.

The tool can measure how many conversions have involved a visit to a particular ‘channel’ e.g. Facebook.

Another point to be aware of is that you have the ability to tell Analytics that Facebook for example is a social networking site. Otherwise, it will just assume it is another website which will skew the data you are collecting around the impact of social networks.

A slight drawback is that Multi-Channel Funnels has a 30 day cookie window. Therefore channels that contributed to your sales more than 30 days prior won’t be included in your reports. This is a problem that we face due to the often lengthy buy cycle of the more expensive online videos.

There is no single way to use attribution as a measuring tool – it will vary from business to business. At My Web Presenters we encourage vigourous monitoring and evaluation of the impact of video on the success of our clients marketing strategies. Multi-Channel Funnels is a useful enhancement to Google Analytics and enables you to gather a bit more detail in order to gain a better understanding of the value of different marketing channels.

This post will give you a broader view on how to track the performance of marketing videos.

MWP are a video strategy, production and marketing company with a focus on delivering measurable results.

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