Last interaction vs. assisted conversions
When marketers take stock of their marketing efforts, they’re generally used to looking at last interaction conversions. Let’s say you’re running a banner campaign on an external, third-party site. A last interaction conversion would be a situation where someone was on that www.genericwebsite.com site, clicked on one of your ads, was sent to your site, and then purchased during the same visit. This is good to know, and what people usually report on, since it is a direct result of the marketing effort.
An assisted conversion might come from a similar situation – the visitor came to your site via the banner on www.genericwebsite.com, and looked around – but did not purchase at that time. Let’s say that they then later ran a Google search for your brand, visited your website, and made a purchase at that time.
That means that while the purchase’s last interaction would be attributed to the organic search visit, it was assisted by your banner campaign efforts. This is something to keep in mind when deciding how effective a campaign is…a tactic which may not seem to be driving any revenue in and of itself may be having a large impact when it comes to driving purchases through other channels. Keep the old adage in mind: don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.
How to view your assisted conversions:
- Log in to Google Analytics
- Click on Conversions (the last option on the right hand column, below ‘Traffic Sources,’ ‘Content,’ etc)
- Click Multi-Channel Funnels
- From the drop-down menu, select Assisted Conversions
- Set desired date
- Take a look at the graph and table presented.
Under the column "Basic Channel Grouping," you'll see a list of all the different channels that sent people to your site during the selected time period. These should include things like “Organic Search,” “Direct,” “Paid Search,” and “Email.” The other columns will show you the ‘value’ of these traffic sources: the number of assisted conversions they drove, the monetary value of those conversions, and the number of last interaction conversions and their monetary value.
The dirty secret behind GA tracking
The way Google tracks visits and revenue in the “assisted conversions” report won’t match up to any other reports you see in Google Analytics.
When you visit a website the first time by typing www.website.com into your browser, Google will tag you as a “direct” visit. If you purchase during that visit, Google will credit any revenue generated to a direct visit. Let’s say that the next time you visit, you click from an email to the website and purchase again. Google will overwrite that “direct” tag with the email campaign tag and attribute any revenue to the email visit. Now, let’s say you come in “direct” again and purchase again. Google will not overwrite your campaign tag with the “direct” visit. It will look like you are still visiting from the email campaign and associate any revenue generated back to the email campaign.
In most reports, Google does not overwrite a campaign, organic or referral tag with a “direct” tag. This is an important distinction to make because this is NOT how Google calculates revenue above, which can be confusing if you are trying to compare reports. With the “assisted conversions” report, Google WOULD attribute that last direct purchase as a direct purchase, not as an email campaign.