Google Analytics Multi-Channel Attribution and Funnels for eCommerce

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

A few frequently used terms in the analytics industry lately include “multi-channel tracking”, “attribution modeling”, and “multi-funnel conversions”.  All fancy ways to say the same thing, tracking visitor interactions and full consumer journey.  Michael wrote a wonderful post about the full consumer journey and how to properly track visitors across various platforms and touchpoints, so I will focus on specifically how to pull some “multi-channel” insights right from Google Analytics.

Multi-channel Attribution

So first a little background on multi-channel funnels.  When analytics first starting taking off in the digital space, nearly all the data related to conversions were last-click attribution.  This means that the reports and analytics shown were only the final touchpoint a visitor engaged with before making a purchase or converting on a goal.  Marketers (and Google) quickly realized it’s not fair to attribute a conversion to only the last touchpoint.  Consumers now experience a multitude of touchpoints, from search, social, mobile, email etc., so there was a need to track a visitor across every portion of the journey.  Thus where multi-channel funnels and attribution were created.  

Google says it best (http://www.google.com/analytics/features/multichannel-funnels.html), “Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics let you look at interactions across different digital media and show how these channels work together to create sales and conversions. More important, this tool helps you make crucial marketing decisions regarding advertising investments at the macro level — what channels — as well as the micro level, for example what keywords and ad placements.”

Multi-channel Funnels and Reports

So now that you’re convinced multi-channel reporting is critical to really understanding your consumers, here are a few quick notes:

1. You need to have goals or eCommerce tracking set up, and thus conversions tracked.  Multi-channel funnels cannot exist without an end result or goal to what you want your consumers to accomplish during their visit on your site.

2. Google Analytics standard reports section has a whole section devoted to it.  You can find it under Conversions->Multi-Channel Funnels to view the various pre-built reports:

Multi Channel Funnel Reports in Google Analytics

3. As part of the Top Conversion Paths report, there is a very nifty tool/customized view called “Channel Groupings”.  This splits your visitors into different segments based off how they arrived on your site.  The beauty here is you can customized your channel groupings by creating a new custom channel grouping.  One example is if you want to separate visitors that come from a regular email, such as a monthly newsletter.  Or, if you want to have Bing traffic separated from other search engines.  After setting your channel grouping, you will see that segmented traffic as its own channel touchpoint and dig deeper into the consumer journey that your visitors take to conversion/purchase.  Using Channel groupings is very easy and similar to advanced segments in Google Analytics, simply click on “Create a custom Channel Grouping” option, set your dimensions, filters, and color scheme and there you have it!

Custom Channel Groupings in Google Analytics

Creating Custom Channel Grouping in Google Analytics

It doesn’t stop there!  Well, my blog post does, since this post is getting kind of lengthy I decided to move the last (and arguably most important) feature of multi-channel funnels and reports to another post altogether.  Make sure to use Conversion Segments too, check out my next blog post how.

And to wrap up…

You’re a big company, with lots of data and lots of marketing… USE MULTI-CHANNEL FUNNELS AND REPORTS!

Understanding consumers at all touchpoints can be challenging but it’s critical for accurate analytics and to gather some unique insights.  When your business is completely online as an eCommerce site, using multi-channel funnel reports and conversion segments is an easy way to start understanding that journey immediately.  However, keep in mind the future: Universal Analytics and how you can link offline marketing activity to online activity for the FULL analytics picture.  Stay tuned for some blogs how we’re developing Universal Analytics integrations with our favorite CRMs, call center data and more.  For the time being, register for our FREE May seminar and/or webinar: 

Tracking E-Commerce Success with Google Analytics




Register for our event here!


Article Written by Amin Shawki

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Last Updated: May 2, 2013

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