Credit where it’s due; Google Analytics tracking with Multi-Channel Funnels.

Written by Intern - 19 Apr 2011

Note: Google Analytics has let us know that the feature called Multi-Channel Funnels discussed in this blog post is in limited pilot. That means that Google Analytics is testing the feature and its usefulness to a small group of trusted testers, and have not made any plans or a timeline for a full launch.

As part of the insight team here at Fresh Egg, it’s safe to say we’ve been getting pretty excited about the new enhancements and features promised by the latest version of Google Analytics – no doubt you’ve already seen Jay’s excellent post series detailing some of the deeper options available within the new Google Analytics interface, but with this post I’ll be focusing specifically on a single new feature which is currently in limited pilot.

Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics

One of the fundamental problems with existing website tracking is the inability to track beyond the last click which led to a conversion. We would hit this problem time and time again here at Fresh Egg and often the work of our SEOs would go unaccredited because of it. Let me give you an example:

A user visits the search engine and enters a generic search: “buy a new computer” the user finds a website called “Computers’R’Us” - who specialise in selling computers - by clicking on an organic search result, the user browses the site and takes note of a computer they would like to buy. The following day the user, having remembered the name of the site they visited yesterday, goes back to the search engine and enters “Computers’R’Us” and clicks on a PPC advert at the top of the search page, the user then goes on to purchase a computer.

The problem here is that the sale has now been attributed to the PPC keyword, when in actual fact it was the organic non-brand keyword which allowed the user to find the website in the first place, and subsequently instigated the conversion funnel. There have been attempts at solving this problem, but so far nothing has ever felt 100% reliable; this is where Multi-Channel Funnels comes in, when looking into ways to increase conversions on your website, it’s imperative that you have all the information in order to make logical and intelligent decisions. You need to know each step which had a helping hand in getting the user to that all important final conversion.

Multi Channel Funnels allows you to track up to 30 days into the past, to see all of the various steps a user took before converting, be it an Adwords Ad, a Banner Ad, a Facebook Page or any other acquisition channel.


So to summarise Multi-Channel Funnels provides greater insight to marketers by allowing them to see all of the channels potential customers interacted with 30 days prior to conversion.

Multi-Channel Funnels will be available from within the conversions menu in Google Analytics and contains reports which are capable of tracking any of the following channels a user may interact with on their journey through the conversion funnel:



  • Paid Search



  • Organic Search



  • Display Clicks



  • Affiliates



  • Social Networks



  • Email Marketing



  • Direct Visitation



  • Offline



Multi-channel Funnels are perfect for anyone marketing via many different channels wishing to understand in greater depth their ROI. So let’s take a closer look at the reports:


From the overview page you can see the total conversions across all goals on the account, as well as the total number of assisted conversions. An assisted conversion is a conversion which included at least one interaction channel prior to the final conversion.

Cross-Channel Mix

Cross Channel Mix Report
Cross Channel Mix Report

The first report available is the cross-channel mix. This gives a visual overview of the various interactions which lead to the final conversion and how many combinations of channels lead to the final conversion – this is indicated by the cross sections of the circle visualisation to the right of the report. In the diagram shown left, we see that 56% of visits came via referrals as indicated by the large pink circle, but this is cross-sectioned with the green “organic” traffic circle and the yellow “direct” traffic circle, so from here we get a great overview of how our channels are working together, and which combinations are most often resulting in a conversion.

Top Paths Report

Top Paths Report
Top Paths Report

This is probably the most granular report you’ll view, here it is possible to see not only the combinations of channels which lead to a referral, but also the order in which the channels were interacted with. From within this report it is also possible to group the interaction channels – for example keywords could be grouped into one channel, or social networks maybe put into a group. This makes it incredibly simple to organise your data into something more useful and cohesive.

Here in row 1 of the screenshot below we see a user revisiting the site 8 times in a row. Another user using a mix of both search and direct to access the site and a third user repeatedly accessing the site via organic search.

Top Paths Report
Top Paths Report

Time Lag Report

The time lag report is a report which describes how long it took within the last 30 days a user to convert on your website from their first interaction. It is possible to filter this report by time lag for transactions or by goals for example.

Time Lag Report
Time Lag Report

Assisted Conversions

The assisted conversions report displays the total number of conversions which were assisted and gives clarity over exactly which channel aided in the conversion - be it a paid advert, a blog post or an email newsletter.

Assisted Conversions Report
Assisted Conversions Report

Final Thoughts

In short this is a huge feature which has been long overdue, and brings endless value along with the ability to measure more accurately, the ROI of your marketing channels. Multi-Channel Funnels fills a gaping void in the web analytics market and is sure to have a big impact on the way in which we distribute our resources on the various channels we market via.

This is a top level overview of this amazing new feature from Google Analytics, and we’ll continue to blog in more detail in due course.