What is an Assisted Conversion? .

what-is-an-assisted-conversion

Assisted conversions are Google’s measure of any interaction, other than the final click, that lead to a consumer converting on a website. Measuring a channel’s impact using assisted conversions allows site owners to understand the true value of a multi-channel approach to delivering conversions.

To help marketers understand the impact of their strategy, Google Analytics’ Multichannel Funnel breaks down the role of channels in the conversion path into three possible areas:

  • First click conversions
  • Assisted conversions
  • Last click/direct conversions
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First-click covers the very first channel involvement on the road to conversion, and last-click attributes the conversion to the channel that contributed the last direct interaction before a conversion.

Out-of-the-box, the number you see in the conversions column is the total number of last click conversions (excluding direct) within your chosen timeframe.

Which leaves assisted conversions as a catch-all figure for any channel that had influence along the path to conversion, excluding the very last attributable channel or direct traffic.

How do you make sense of the assisted conversions figure?

Let’s look at an example - if a customer path to conversion is:

Display -> Paid Search -> Organic -> Direct with a conversion value of £500

In standard Analytics reporting, organic would be seen as the catalyst for conversion and, if values are assigned, would be credited with a £500 conversion. However, that ignores the impact of the other channels. By using the Multichannel Funnel reports, each channel is treated equally, including direct traffic which is (by default) ignored as the main conversion channel. Using MCF, with the same conversion path:

Display -> Paid Search -> Organic -> Direct and a conversion value of £500

The attribution would look like this:

MCF Channel

Assisted Conversions

Assisted Conversion Value

Last Click / Direct Conversions

Last Click / Direct Conversion Value

Display

 1

 500

 

 

Paid Search

 1

 500

 

 

Organic Search

 1

 500

 

 

Direct

 

 

 1

 500

From this, you can see the impact each channel has on a conversion and gauge the impact of your strategy over and above just looking at the very final point in a conversion path.

Each channel is given an assist and a value, so for the above example you, arguably, could take out one of the channels and the not have delivered a final conversion. Each assist is assigned the same conversion value and given one assisted conversion. This can deliver an inflated number and value of assisted conversions - however, what’s important here is seeing the impact of each channel in a conversion path, rather than relying on the overall assisted conversion total.

Investigate the Multichannel Funnel further and you will find a whole host of ways to refine and better utilise the true conversion path (which we’ll cover in another blog).

Why should you care about assisted conversions?

As the number of digital channels that can successfully influence consumers grows, the requirement for a way to understand the value of each channel to a business’ bottom line and a website’s conversion path.

Compare your customers’ offline journey to that of their online journey. Offline, you may run print ads in a newspaper, TV and radio spots, OOH across the transport network or direct mail. Each of these seeks to influence potential customers at a different point in their decision-making process. Some look to address the pre-need stage, others to tackle those who understand the need for a product, but are yet to take action. These channels then drive people toward the ultimate end goal of taking action and completing the conversion funnel.

Each of these elements can play a part in the process but generally, a physical store, website or app store will deliver the final purchase/conversion action. Would you class every other channel as a failure and only attribute sales to the store or website, with no consideration for the multiple touch points on the way?

Digital is no different, with multiple channels and routes to your audience all playing a different role in edging consumers toward the final outcome, and each channel deserves fair credit - this is the role of an assisted conversion.

How do you explain the impact of an assist?

As much as the rise of digital marketing has changed the way we interact with consumers, the core strategies that we follow remain the same. Equally, the success criteria and methods of quantifying our marketing efforts haven’t dramatically changed.

Look back to the Mad Men era - did clients laugh at creative teams who suggested an ad campaign would drive people to a brand? Did marketing teams demand to know exactly how many people had seen a 48 sheet and then want to know exactly how many of those people then marched over to a store and purchased a product?

In an age where digital has been sold with the promise of data-led insight and absolute measurability, you can understand why the idea of measuring digital channels that weren’t directly responsible for a conversion can cause a raised eyebrow or two.

The conversation is won and lost in the explanation, early on, of exactly where and what each channel’s purpose is. Run display advertising and promise similar conversion levels to that of a pure search PPC campaign and you’re going to have some explaining to do when it comes to reporting your lack of success. Explain display’s purpose in loading the top of the funnel and delivering brand awareness, that then moves into a conversion of some nature further down the line and you’ve managed expectations.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that, with the right setup, can give you a genuine picture of your multi-channel efforts - look beyond the ‘conversions’ column and you’ll have a far clearer view of the success your spend is delivering.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Kier Humphreys
Kier Humphreys
Head of Customer Experience
Kier has worked both agency and client-side, with 13 years experience taking in the full marketing mix and a passion for insight-led business optimisation. His career has seen him working with national and international brands across a variety of sectors, from multinational professional services to tech start-ups.
Kier Humphreys

Kier Humphreys

15 Jan 2018 - 7 minute read
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