If you’ve read any of our other Zion & Zion articles, you’ve likely heard us talk about Google Analytics. If not, the quick version is Google Analytics is a tool that you place “on” your website to learn things like how people got to your website, what they are doing on your website, and how long they stay on your website. And the best part is, the tool is free!
Something you can easily see in Google Analytics is the last touch conversion, but did you know within the Conversion report is an under-used report called Assisted Conversions? The Assisted Conversion report allows you to view the total number of assists and the value of those assists by many different dimensions, such as channel, source, and medium. This report can be extremely helpful to evaluate your media partners and tactics, possible placements, and assets.
What Are Assisted Conversions?
It’s not very hard to imagine what assisted conversions mean. But, for the purpose of making sure we’re all on the same page, Google defines assisted conversions as “The number of conversions for which this dimension (channel, source, medium) appeared on the conversion path but was not the final conversion interaction.” Meaning, the number of times a single dimension got a user to your website but wasn’t the last touch before they converted. Or, more simply, all but the last step that was taken to move a user down the conversion funnel.
Why Are Assisted Conversions Important?
Very often you’ll find that users make it to your site and do not complete the action you want them to the first time. In these scenarios, it’s important to understand what dimension(s) got them to your site and helped move them down your conversion funnel.
Here’s an example. Melissa is looking for a new multivitamin. She uses Google to search, clicks a paid search ad, and ends up at MyVitamins.com. She looks around and decides to do some more research. The next day Melissa is reading articles on what someone really needs to look for in a multivitamin and is served a banner ad for MyVitamins.com. She clicks through but gets distracted before she can complete the purchase. Finally, on day three, Melissa goes directly to MyVitamins.com and completes the purchase.
Looking at this the traditional way, which one would do in Google Analytics under an Acquisition or Behavior report, all credit would be given to “Direct” as that was the last step before the conversion, but if you took your analysis a step further and looked at the Assisted Conversion report, you’d be able to see that paid search and display also played a role in this purchase.
The scenario described above is a typical one. Users have many touches before they complete a conversion, but if all of them had ended the same way through a Direct visit, one might be quick to make cuts to media placements not realizing it was paid media that not only got a user to your site in the first place, but also helped keep your brand or product top of mind to move the user down the funnel.
How To Set Up And Use Assisted Conversions
In order to have the Assisted Conversion report work, you must have goals set up on the View level of your Google Analytics account. If you need help setting up goals, Analytics Help shares a great resource on creating, editing, and sharing goals. Once your goals are set up correctly and users start completing them, your report will begin to populate.
As with all seemingly great things in life, there a few key things to take into consideration when utilizing this report:
- If you have multiple goals set up, the report will default to counting all assisted conversions for all goals. You do have the option to easily select just one or more goal to look at with this report.
- One single conversion can give assisted credit to multiple channels, sources, or mediums so the report is not 100% accurate in the count or value given for assisting in the conversion.
- Example: Sarah clicks on a display ad to get to your site, returns from a paid search ad the following day, and finally comes back to your site through a social media post and signs up for your eblast. In this scenario, both display and paid search would each get a one in their assisted conversion box.
- The default lookback window is 30 days, but you can change this to any period between 1-90 days. This is another item that can be easily adjusted to help you better understand the timeline of each conversion.
How Is It Actionable?
Beyond giving credit where credit is due, knowing the roles different dimensions play in your media plan is key not just for optimization but also for a head start on campaigns for similar products/clients to come. If you’re reviewing your Assisted Conversions report and see there is one dimension that is assisting more than converting, you can also go to Google Analytics Top Conversion Path report to see if there is a certain combination of dimensions that are leading to more conversions. Knowing how your dimensions work together will help you know a “base” media mix for future campaigns for your client and/or product.
If you’re semi-experienced in Google Analytics and already have goals set up, looking at Assisted Conversions is a no brainer and an easy next step. For something that pretty much runs itself (once you set up goals) Assisted Conversions is a great report to get yourself in the practice of looking at. There is really a lot of power in knowing not just the final touch that gets users to convert, but also the small steps along the way that help users along towards their final action.