Google Analytics’ New Tool, “Customer-journey-to-online-purchase”

Attribution remains to be a subject of interest in the world of Search and Social Marketing. Having discussed this topic with our partners, the verdict is still out on which framework the industry should adapt when faced with this question.

Recently, the fine folks from the Google Analytics team introduced a new report called “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase”. You can find out more about their findings here.

Marketing professionals and marketing students are well aware of the marketing funnel to purchase, most usually called AIDA. AIDA is an acronym used in marketing and advertising that describes a common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement. A stands for Awareness (attract the customer’s attention of the product), I stands for Interest (raise consumer interest of the product) , D stands for Desire (convince the customer that they want the product) and A stands for Action (e.g. lead consumers to purchase the product). AIDA was invented by American marketer and advertiser E. St. Elmo Lewis back in 1898.

Google uses the same marketing funnel, but they call it ACID. A stands for Awareness, C stands for Consideration, I stands for Intent and D stands for Decision. The “Customer Journey to Online Purchase” attempts to match the common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with a specific online advertisement identified by seven different sources (Display, Social, Email, Paid Search or SEM, Organic Search or SEO, Referral, Direct or Other Paid)

The Google report presents a pretty clear perspective on how a series of interactions with your brand can  lead to an online purchase. We all know for a fact that it’s out there – we just need the right lens.

Google Search ads disproportianately benefit from “last click” attribution. In a typical setting, advertisers give full credit to customer purchases from Google Search and PPC Ads. While this situation gives the most obvious (if not lazy) answer to attribution, even Google acknowledges that the actual purchase is actually a byproduct of a unique “Customer Journey”. Traditional marketing describes “Customer Journey” as a series of interactions people have with a campaign through different mediums like telemarketing, Internet, branch and other forms of marketing communication. By seeing this as more of a journey, it takes into consideration the context of the customer’s feelings in each and every interaction.

In online marketing, channels (such as email, display ads, paid search ads, social, and direct visits to your website) influence the customer at different points in the path to purchase. Now this is where it gets interesting,  Google Analytics’ new “Customer Journey”  tool allows a company to assign fractional attribution to each of these channels.

We’re working with two major channel types here: ASSISTING channels build awareness, consideration, and intent earlier in the customer journey or “purchase funnel. LAST INTERACTION channels act as the last point of contact prior to a purchase.

Since it’s the NBA playoff season, think of these interactions as a series of steps (from the inbound pass) culminating in an objective (scoring a basket). When Chris Bosh rebounds and passes the ball to Shane Battier who passes to Lebron James who passes to Dwayne Wade for a layup-dunk,  Lebron James gets the full assist in regular statistics.  If there were fractional attribution,  Shane Battier might get credit for a fractional assist.

I played around with this new tool for a few minutes and I was quite impressed.  For example, in the CPG industry, I found out that Social Channels are closer to the actual purchase than an Email channel. Another surprise is that in the Auto industry, Display Channels are closer to the actual purchase than Email or Social channels. It’s not really a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s up to you, as marketer or advertiser to decipher your ideal mix.


Here are the main Google findings on 11 industry groups. Every media buyer should print this and hang on their office wall.

Displayed in order from Awareness (on the left) to Decision (on the right)
1.  Auto – Social, Email, Referral, Paid Search, Display, Organic Search, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase
2.  Biz – Display, Email, Social, Referral, Paid, Organic, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase
3.  Classified/Local – Social, Display, Email, Paid Search, Referral, Organic, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase
4.  CPG – Display, Email, Social, Paid Search, Organic Search, Referral, Direct, Other Paid -> Purchase
5.  Edu/Gov – Social, Display, Email, Paid Search, Referral, Other Paid, Organic Search, Direct -> Purchase
6.  Finance – Email, Social, Paid Search, Organic Search, Referral, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase
7.  Health – Social, Other Paid, Email, Referral, Paid Search, Display, Organic Search, Direct -> Purchase
8.  Media – Display, Email, Social, Other Paid, Paid Search, Referral, Organic Search, Direct -> Purchase
9.  Retail – Display, Social, Email, Referral, Other Paid, Paid Search, Organic Search, Direct -> Purchase
10.  Tech – Display, Social, Email, Paid Search, Referral, Organic Search, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase
11.  Travel – Social, Email, Paid Search, Organic Search, Display, Referral, Other Paid, Direct -> Purchase

If you want to chat about how Google Analytics’ new tool of “Customer-jouney-to-online-purchase” can help in conversion rate optimization for your organization or your clients,  fill out the contact form on the right.

12 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Tips Based on Human Psychology and Behavioral Economics

First a disclaimer:  Especially in social media, there are no such things as rules in conversion rate optimization.  What works in one situation may not be the same for another.

Nevertheless, there are a number of hardwired human traits and behavioral patterns understood by psychologists, behavioral economists and other social scientists that we can use to increase our conversions. Our experience working with conversion rate optimization has given us some interesting insights as well. Contact us about conversion rate optimization for your web site or your organization!

Here are 12 brands identified by Econsultancy that used such principles and have worked.  You might want to test them out yourself for your own brand and explore.

Social Proof

One of the most effective things you can bring to your site to increase the confidence of buyers is ‘social proof’. Social proof is the phenomena where people tend to believe that the decision and actions of others reflect the correct behavior in a specific situation.  So, we have to create an experience which convinces our visitors they’re not the only person making this decision.

Conversion Rate Optimization and Basecamp

Basecamp Social Proof Techniques


In this design we see a prominent mention of the sheer number of other people who have made the same purchasing decision that the visitor is considering.


Raven SEO Tools

One of the most common ways to integrate social proof into your site is by including testimonials into your site, especially if you can include a picture of the person providing the social proof. Software as a Service (SaaS) companies are the kings of this. But it’s a sensible addition to most B2B sites and can also work well in B2C environments.


There’s a huge number of clever CRO techniques in place on this page but we want to highlight one of the easiest ways to implement social proof into your site, using the off-the-shelf Facebook Like button/widget. It really simply shows you the profile pictures of other people who’ve liked that page on Facebook, also prioritizing those who are connected the to the visitor of the site.

It is not just social proof, but personalised social proof. Actually it’s even better than that.  It’s automated personalised social proof.



Yes Groupon. It might have been getting a lot of stick recently but it, more than nearly every other major internet business, has a deep understanding of human behavior. Here it illustrates how they’ve built social proof into the very DNA of its business.

By showing how many other people have bought the same offer,  Groupon hopes to persuade the visitor to do the same, and place an order.

Loss Aversion

The disutility of giving up an object is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it.  This  is known an Loss Aversion. ‘Disutility’ simply means that human tendency prefers not to lose  something more than we love to gain something. Sometimes this is about a subtle re-framing of your copy to concentrate on loss rather than gain. We need to ask ourselves ‘How can we make visitors think they’d be losing something if they don’t buy?’.



Many travel websites are particularly good at communicating loss aversion.  A good example is Agoda. It makes it clear what you would lose if you don’t book now. This serves to instantly increase urgency.



Qwertee has built an understanding of human behavior right into its business model. Its t-shirts are only available for 48 hours and after the first 24 the price increases. Every time you visit the site  there’s a huge ticking clock showing exactly what you’re going to miss out on if you don’t purchase soon.



Amazon is the king of using cognitive biases to increase conversion rates. One particular example where it uses loss aversion is for its ‘Prime’ customers. Prime users are a subset of their most frequent customers who have paid upfront fees to have access to next day delivery by default. If you’re a signed-in Prime customer, every product you visit that has next day delivery reminds you how long you’ve got before that day’s cut-off point.



It’s not just online giants like Amazon making use of our innate loss aversion to increase purchases. High street retailer Argos taps into our aversion to loss to drive footfall to its shops using this clever lightbox.


One of my favourite cognitive biases that influences the way behave, is known as anchoring. It is the tendency to rely too heavily – or ‘anchor’ – on a past reference or on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. These anchors can often be numerical. Our challenge is to ask ‘How can I reference an ‘anchor’ that influences visitors to my site?’.


One of the oldest anchoring tricks in the book is what the price was reduced from. Cross-hatched higher prices showing the available discount is a simple way to anchor the price of an item and make it seem better value.


SaaS companies like MailChimp often make use of a clever anchoring technique that more businesses should be wise to try and use. You’ll notice they have one high price that’s much higher than all the other price points. This maybe be because it’s a popular option.  However many anchoring experiments have found introducing one higher price point can lead to people spending more in total even if nobody chooses that option.

This concept is worth repeating because it is a bit counter-intuitive: Adding an extra expensive option to your page can increase the average order value of the page even if nobody selects that option.  This is because it makes your other expensive options seem less expensive. This is one that’s well worth testing.

There’s also a case of possible anchoring taking place on the homepage of, where the BT offer is significantly more expensive than the other options. That’s because the package is very different to the others. If we believe in the principle of anchoring, this may be increasing the value of the traffic to this page by encouraging them to assess the relative value of the other options differently.


Adding related products to a page can be a great way to increase the number of items people add to a basket. There’s also a possibility that the selection of these products might also have an anchoring influence. We don’t expect too many retailers bear price anchoring in mind with their related product algorithm, but it’s something you would expect some retailers to have tested.

As we noted at the beginning of this article, we don’t always know in every case that these changes have been implemented to increase conversion rates.  However,  if we understand human behavior and some of our cognitive biases, they would certainly seem worthy efforts to try.