Introducing “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase" — interactive insights on multi-channel marketing

Savvy marketers understand that you don’t always seal the deal with a single message, image, or advertisement. A user may see a display ad, click on a link from a friend, or do a search before buying something from your website — and all of these interactions can play a role in the final sale. It’s important to understand the entire customer journey so you can measure all of the elements that contribute to your campaigns, attribute the right value to them, and adjust your marketing budgets where appropriate.

That’s the philosophy behind Google Analytics tools like Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution Modeling. Tens of thousands of our largest advertisers are gaining valuable insights from Multi-Channel Funnels every month, and we’ve collected these insights using aggregate statistics to develop a benchmarking tool — The Customer Journey to Online Purchase. This interactive tool lets you explore typical online buying behavior and see how different marketing interactions affect business success.

The tool draws on Ecommerce and Multi-Channel Funnels data from over 36,000 Google Analytics clients that authorized sharing, including millions of purchases across 11 industries in 7 countries. Purchase paths in this tool are each based on interactions with a single ecommerce advertiser.

You’ll find benchmark data for:
  • how different marketing channels (such as display, search, email, and your own website) help move users towards purchases. For example, some marketing channels play an “assist” role during the earlier stages of the marketing funnel, whereas some play a “last interaction” role just before a sale.
  • how long it takes for customers to make a purchase online (from the first time they interact with your marketing to the moment they actually buy something), and how the length of this journey affects average order values.

Channel Roles in the Customer Journey
The data shows that every industry is different — the path to purchase for hotel rooms in Japan is not necessarily the same as the path as for an online supermarket in Canada.

A few findings stand out, in particular:
  • As you might expect, customers typically click on display ads early in their purchase journeys, but in some industries, such as US travel and auto, display clicks tend to occur closer to the purchase decision.
  • Across industries and countries, paid search has a fairly even assist-to-last interaction ratio, implying that this channel can act both in the earlier and later stages of the customer journey.

Advanced tip:
  • Once you’ve explored the benchmarks, look deeper into your own marketing data with the Multi-Channel Funnel reports, and consider defining your channels and campaigns to separate out categories that are specific to your business needs.

Purchase values and the length of the journey
We also see interesting patterns emerge when examining the length of the customer journey. While the majority of purchases take place within a single day or a single step (i.e., a single interaction with one marketing channel), longer paths tend to correlate with higher average order values. 

For example,
  • in US Tech, online purchases that take more than 28 days are worth about 3.5 times more than purchases that occur immediately. And while 61% of tech purchases take place on that first day, only 53% of revenue comes from single-day purchases.
  • in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), on the other hand, most purchases (82%) are quick, likely because these are smaller and simpler purchases that don’t require much research.
  • in Edu / Gov, 41% of revenue comes from multi-day purchases, but 60% of revenue comes from multi-step purchases — suggesting that even when customers make decisions in a relatively short time period, they often have multiple marketing interactions before purchasing.

Advanced tip:
  • In Multi-Channel Funnels or the Attribution Modeling Tool, you can adjust the lookback window to reflect the typical length of the purchase path in your industry. For example, if your business tends to have shorter paths, you can zoom in on paths that take 5 days or less:

Putting the benchmarks to work
For marketers, it’s always a crucial challenge to design campaigns that deliver the right message at the right moment in a customer’s journey to purchase. We hope these benchmarks will provide useful insights about the journey and help you put your business into context. In particular, take a look at the final infographic, the “Benchmarks Dashboard,” to get a quick overview of your industry. Then, when you view your own data in the Multi-Channel Funnels reports in Google Analytics, you’ll gain a better understanding of where different channels impact your conversions and what your typical path looks like, so you can adjust your budgeting and marketing programs accordingly.

Try The Customer Journey to Online Purchase today on Google’s new Think Insights website.

Happy analyzing!

Multi-Currency E-Commerce Support In Google Analytics

We’ve listened to your feedback and have heard the requests loud and clear: E-Commerce should support multiple currencies. We’re pleased to announce the launch of this feature which will be rolling out to all users over the next few weeks. 

Multi-Currency support for eCommerce provides Google Analytics users with the ability to track transaction metrics (total revenue, tax, and shipping & handling) in multiple local currencies within a single web property. And Google Analytics will convert them into the one currency based on your profile setting. This provides key benefits for e-commerce brands looking to conduct analysis across an international customer base and helps make some previously complex reporting easier.

New metrics supported in multi-currency

Multi-Currency tracking code implementation:
Multi-currency is supported by web tracking and Android SDK (iOS SDK support is coming soon).
The ‘currency code’ is a global setting that can be set via tracker ‘_set()’. It only need to be set once, unless the page is sending multiple transactions in separate currencies.
Here are a few other things we think you’ll want to know:
How the conversion rate is decided?
The conversion rate is pulled from currency server which is serving Google Billing. The value is the daily exchange rate of the day before hit date. See a technical overview for additional information.
Which currency does GA support?
We support currencies which are available in GA profile currency dropdown menu. Right now, 31 currencies altogether are supported.

Currency dropdown menu

Which currency code shall I use?
A full version of currency codes shared across Google products is available on the Google Developers site.

Can I retro-process my history transaction data?
Only from the day you started using multi-currency support, you can get both local and global value. 

Several companies have already started using Multi-Currency in Google Analytics and are seeing great results. One of our Certified Partners, Blast Analytics & Marketing, helped their client implement this feature. David Tjen, Director of Analytics at reports:

"Google Analytics' new multi-currency feature increases sales metric accuracy for As an international brand, the AllPosters family of sites supports 20 currencies across 25 countries. Previously, manual adjustments were required before we could read sales metrics in Google Analytics when we had transactions with large currency conversion ratios to the US dollar, such as the Mexican Peso and Japanese Yen. The simple code update solves the issue by automatically converting all transactions to the primary currency on each site, providing sales metrics that allow us to make faster decisions with our web analytics data.”

To get started today, view our help center page with detailed instructions on how to begin.

Posted by Wayne Xu, Google Analytics team

Reaching Your Goals with Analytics: Webinar follow-up

At last Thursday’s webinar on Goals, we we explored one of the most fundamental analytics topics: how to translate your business objectives into measurable actions on your website. You sent in your questions, and we heard from many users that you want more guidance on turning all that data into insights.

Please read on for answers to your top questions, and watch the recording of the webinar here:

How do I do data analysis?
Performing data analysis requires understanding what your company defines as success before you can even start to figure out which reports and metrics to use. The best place to begin is to think about why you have a website, what you’re trying to achieve (lead generation, site engagement, sales, et cetera), and how those objectives map to specific metrics in Google Analytics. For example, if you  have an ecommerce website, you might want to track which types of users purchased and which types of users didn’t purchase. If you have a site with lots of content, you might want to understand where users came from before watching a video (e.g., were they referred by a blog post, or did they click on a paid search ad?), or you might be interested in how users moved through your site before getting to a certain page.

Once you’ve figured out your business objectives and defined your questions it’s all about finding those metrics in the reports. We have a lot of great 60-second YouTube videos that walk through different reporting and analysis techniques.

Why should I use Goals if I don’t have a product to sell?
You created your website with the hope that users would come and visit. Even if you aren’t selling anything, you can use Goals to help you dive deeper into your site performance and learn where your users might be having trouble. For example, you might want to ensure that visitors to your site are able to find directions to your physical location, or you might want to be sure that they view a particular piece of content on your site. You could set up a Goal for that page, and then use Goal Flow in the Flow Visualization tool to see how users get there. You might then determine that it's too hard for users to find the information that they need. The specific metrics that you should use will depend on the purpose and goals for your site.

Which types of Goals should I use?
There are four different Goal types to choose from in Google Analytics: URL destination, Time on Site, Pages per Visit, and Event. URL destination goals are best for goals based on a visit to a key page of your site, such as a “thank you” page after a purchase. Time-on-Site or Pages-per-Visit goals are best if you’re more interested in determining site engagement. Event goals should be used if you want to track specific actions such as watching a video, listening to an audio clip, or downloading a PDF. Note that the first three types of goals can be set up with no changes to your tracking code, but if you want to use Event goals, you’ll need to set up Event tracking. And don’t forget that if you’re an online retailer, or if your conversion process pulls in dynamic monetary values, Ecommerce in Google Analytics allows you to track transactions and the order value of every purchase made on your site.

What are good trends to measure for websites without a shopping cart?
A "conversion" isn't just a sale -- it's about all of the reasons why your site exists; it’s any action you want your visitors to take based on your business objectives. Analytics users often want to compare themselves to industry trends or best practices -- but the truth is that in many cases the best benchmark is your own website performance. You should define your own business goals, then develop some key performance indicators, or KPIs, and track them from month to month or quarter to quarter. It may also be helpful to set up simple surveys that ask your visitors if they’ve succeeded in finding the information that they were looking for on your site.

How do I set up Google Analytics for my site?
For some websites, all you need to do is copy and paste the standard JavaScript code to every page of your site -- Google Analytics will automatically generate this standard code for you, so it’s very easy to implement. Read more about this in our Help Center. Other sites, such as those that span multiple domains or subdomains, require additional lines of code. If you have this type of site, you should check out our documentation on all the different implementation scenarios. Use these guidelines with your webmaster to get the code implemented properly. If you need additional help, you should consider contacting one of our certified partners for advice and assistance with all aspects of Google Analytics.

What are Goal match types/settings?
There are three match types for URL destination goals: head match, exact match, and regular expression match. Exact match is used when you have a static URL (a page that does not change based on user actions) -- you can just enter the URL as it appears on your site and Google Analytics will track the goal. Head match is used if you have a URL that has dynamic values at the end, such as session IDs. Head match will record goals for whatever URL you enter into the interface -- plus anything that comes after that. Finally, regular expression match is used for completely dynamic URLs or to capture multiple URLs in one goal. Check out our Help Center article on setting up Goals to get more information about which match type is right for you.

How do we determine what goal value to set?
Goal value is what each action is worth to you. Ask yourself how much it’s worth to have someone sign up for your email newsletters, knowing they'll now get consistent messaging from your business. You may want to start with a larger objective that has a monetary value, like landing a big client, then map out the smaller steps leading up to that sale. For example, it may take an average of 25 lead forms filled out on your site to drive one sale. The value of a filled-out lead form would then be equal to an average sale divided by 25.  It may take some time to determine these attribution amounts, and you shouldn’t be afraid to adjust your Goals and Goal values periodically!

How do we test alternate landing pages?
Once you’ve set up Goals, you may discover that certain pieces of your funnel are losing lots of visitors. Small improvements to those pages could have a dramatic impact on your conversion rates. Fortunately, we have a great tool called Google Website Optimizer that allows you to test different variations of the same page so you can improve the effectiveness of your website and your return on investment.

What are the top 5 metrics to share with the CEO?
There aren’t really 5 golden metrics that will work for every single company and every single CEO. You’ll need to do some brainstorming and discovery to understand which metrics in Google Analytics map to your business objectives. Think about your business strategy -- for example, are you looking to reach customers who are on-the-go? Then it’s probably helpful to track the percentage of visits and conversions coming from mobile, so you can tell the CEO about the success of your mobile strategy. Do you want to make sure that you’re getting a good return on your marketing investments? Then you should consider tracking the percentage of conversions coming from advertising vs. other sources (this is a good place to use Multi-Channel Funnels!).

Although it may take some work to determine the relevant metrics, it’s worth the effort to ensure that you are presenting information that tells the right story about your business. Once you’ve defined your metrics, you can use Google Analytics dashboards to pull everything together in an easy-to-read format. So dive into the Google Analytics reports and find your story!

Please also check our help center for further details on all of your questions.

New Ecommerce tracking and validation in the Analytics SDK for Android

Increasingly, mobile applications allow you to purchase products and virtual goods. For that reason, it’s important to track these mobile transactions in order to understand which products perform well.

So today we’ve added Ecommerce tracking functionality to the Google Analytics SDK for Android.

Ecommerce Tracking
With Ecommerce mobile tracking, you can capture transaction and product information, send the data to Google Analytics, and then analyze which products performed best. Of course, because this is all within Google Analytics, you can also tie transaction data back to app usage behavior. For example, you can now compare the referral that generated an app download by the revenue it generated. See the Google Analytics SDK for Android developer docs to learn how to implement this feature.

Debug and Validation
In addition to Ecommerce, we’ve added new debug and dry run modes to make it easier to validate your Google Analytics implementation.

Debug Mode:


With debug mode, all data requests to Google Analytics are sent to the Android log, allowing you to validate that your app is sending data properly. You can view the Android log using the adb logcat command.

Dry Run:


The dry run mode sends all tracking data locally so that you don’t corrupt your production data.

See Us At Google IO
We’ll be demoing all this new functionality this year Google IO, so stop by the Optimizing Android Apps With Google Analytics session on May 11, 12:30PM – 01:30PM / Room 9.

Posted by Jim Cotugno, Google Analytics Tracking Team

Using The Wrong Tracking Code Can Cost You $500k a Year

This is a guest post from Tom Critchlow who is an excel ninja, data geek, analytics nerd and head of search for Distilled, a London & Seattle based search agency. Tom provides a cautionary tale on the importance of keeping your site up to date.

Advanced: E-Commerce Roll Up Reporting For Websites With Different Languages

If you're a business owner of any size, you've at some point considered expanding. And as the web makes the world smaller, one way to expand is to offer your website in different languages and take your business across borders or to different segments. By entering other markets with your website, you can gauge new markets and find ways to grow and generate revenue.

Getting set up to offer your products and services in a different country can have a number of steps including localization and legal processes. Another thing to keep in mind is how you will set up your web analytics for the different languages and countries your site now serves.

We're highlighting a series of posts on the topic, called "Google Analytics reporting for multilingual e-commerce stores" by Gavin Doolan, a Googler based in Dublin specializing on Google Analytics for Europe. The posts are all from our Analytics blog in Europe, the Conversion Room. This is obviously a topic very close to the European businessperson's heart.

The great thing about the posts is that Gavin presents solutions for different structures of sites, since not everyone is doing the same thing when they sell products internationally or in different languages.