Multi-Channel Funnels Show the Power of Email+Social

Google announced on August 24, 2011 that multi-channel funnel analytics (hereafter abbreviated MCF-GA) were available to all Google Analytics users. Today, we’re going to share with you how to understand MCF-GA and demonstrate the power of email marketing to help you understand what counts in your digital marketing programs.

Before we begin, MCF-GA requires that you have configured goals and goal values in your Google Analytics settings. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s imperative that you do so. Don’t rush through this part; setting up reliable goals and goal values is essential to making MCF-GA work properly.

MCF-GA also requires you to be using the latest version of Google Analytics. Be sure to check in the upper right hand corner for the newest version and that you’re using it.

click for a larger version

Once you’ve logged in, start by generically reviewing your funnels. Click on the assisted conversions to see a nice breakout of your general marketing channels and how they are performing. Pay attention to the box at the right, highlighted in pink. This conversion ratio shows you how instrumental a channel is in either achieving the goal itself or leading your customers to the completion of your goals. The larger the number, the higher up in your overall marketing funnel a channel is. The lower the number, the closer a channel is to actually completing the sale.

In the example above, we see that email is responsible for $928 of assisted conversions and $1,160 last interaction conversions. Put another way, email helped close an additional $928 of sales in addition to pushing $1,160 of business over the finish line. If you had not been leveraging email marketing as a marketing method, you would have not only missed out on $1,160 of direct business, but potentially lost up to $928 in deals from other sources that email helped along.

The implications of this are incredible and profound. By demonstrating email’s role in your marketing channel above and beyond prompting customers to buy, you can get a bigger picture view of its influence in your marketing program and how it’s helping other channels close business as well.

Let’s dive further down the rabbit hole. Instead of a basic channel grouping, let’s look at individual campaigns. Here’s an example of looking at emails by subject line and their influence on conversions:


What we see here are the results of a set of newsletters that went out. Note that only one of the newsletters prompted a direct sale. In the old, pre-MCF-GA world, we might have made the mistake of saying that our weekly newsletter had a tiny quantifiable benefit to our business, only 1 conversion. In the new MCF-GA world, we see that in fact, our newsletters had 1 conversion and 11 assists. Instead of assigning email marketing a value of $116 in sales, we can make the bold statement that it had $116 in direct sales and influenced an additional $1,276 in other sales. Suddenly, you understand that the  newsletter is a lot more valuable!

Now as an email marketer, you can go back to your shareholders or executives and demonstrate a bigger picture of the value you bring to the table and to driving your business forward.

By the way, you can use this to demonstrate the power of any channel, not just email marketing:


Your work in social media suddenly shows a much greater return on investment than last touch attribution has given it previously. In the example above, our work on Twitter has driven no direct conversions itself, but assisted with $853 in overall conversion value. If you were hastily considering curtailing your social media efforts before MCF-GA, you may want to reconsider until you have more detailed data that shows you a bigger picture of the impact of social media on your marketing efforts.

Here’s the official announcement and video:

MCF-GA is a critical new tool in your marketing arsenal. With it, you’ll gain a much broader understanding of what works and how the pieces fit together. You’ll understand and be able to justify investments in channels like email and social because you’ll see the results all along your sales and marketing funnel, not just at the bottom.

In short, by implementing MCF-GA in combination with your enterprise email marketing efforts, you’ll truly know… what counts.

Christopher S. Penn

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