As advertisers, we need to look at the entire purchase experience, and as PPC managers, we should examine how other channels are impactful on what we do.
As marketers, we know the path to conversions is not direct and often there are multiple touches from the advertiser to the customers. This means as advertisers, we need to look at the entire purchase experience. As PPC managers, we should examine how other channels are impactful on what we do.
Consider a recently published report by Google, "The Customer Journey to Online Purchase." In this report Google reviewed 36,000 Google Analytics accounts with e-commerce tracking enabled, profiles whose owners have authorized sharing. Conversion metrics are derived from the Multi-Channel Funnels reports in Google Analytics.
Google lined up the traditional purchase funnel to "assists" and "last interactions" in the purchase path where assisting channels are awareness builders and a customer is considering and researching options prior to purchase. The "last interaction" channels are the "last click" where the customer finally converts.
Likewise in PPC, we see search activity vary depending on the place in the purchase funnel. During the awareness and consideration phase we see keyword searches are of a more general nature, whereas customers will search more specifically and for brand terms as they near the time to buy. All of this can give clues as to a customer's place in the purchase cycle and how to tailor our PPC strategy to reach her.
How do you determine your customers' purchase path from Google Analytics and AdWords?
In Google Analytics, find Multi-Channel Funnels reports under Conversions in the left-hand-side navigation.
In AdWords, find it in the Tools and Analysis tab under Conversions, then select Search Funnels on the lower left.
Within both of these platforms there are numerous valuable reports.
Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels Reports
AdWords Search Funnels Reports
Much of the data is available from the campaign level down to the keywords level. It's important to become familiar with what the data means to determine how you can best use it.
A simplified conclusion and action plan for an advertiser may look like this:
Each advertiser will have different challenges and opportunities, but clearly define those and examine the purchase funnel as it's applicable. The data presented there will shed actionable insight into AdWords campaigns.
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Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.
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12:00pm ET/9:00am PT