Customer journeys from search to purchase are all over the map. Some industry experts suggest there are so many devices and channels that the individual consumer's path to conversion is close to unique. Google estimates that more than 65% of revenue comes from purchases with multiple sources, and 45% of revenue comes from purchases that span across several days.
In an attempt to better understand the path to purchase, Google released an online tool that enables marketers to predict the journey in which customers will take to make a purchase. The tool, The Customer Journey to Online Purchase, allows marketers to explore for businesses how any of the 14 industry channels influence purchase decisions.
The tool enables marketers to pick from 14 channels including Arts & Entertainment, Fitness & Beauty, or Law & Government, as well as the size of the business, small, medium or large, in a variety of countries such as the U.S., Brazil or Japan. For each market, channels such as social or paid search are posted toward the left of the graph based on the country and business size.
The interactive tool also allows marketers to view the channel position on the path to purchase. The brand's paid-search campaigns may have a different impact on customers depending on when they interact with it. At the beginning of the purchase path, brand paid-search campaigns may help customers gain awareness of products or services. In the middle, it creates desire and boosts interest. At the end, it helps to complete the deal.
Marketers know that the customer journey does not always occur on one screen. In fact, most occur on multiple screens such as desktops, smartphones and televisions. While mobile and cross-device reporting is not yet included in Google's benchmarks, last year Google released a tool that helps marketers understand changing behaviors and how the smartphone influences the customer journey.
Marin Software has released a study of 300 marketers revealing many will focus on trying to understand multichannel journeys in 2015, with 50% of survey respondents saying that cross-channel digital marketing will become a high priority for their business. It puts an emphasis on following customers, not clicks.
Better measurement can help marketers understand how consumers interact with multiple touchpoints, but it's not always top of mind when building campaigns. A brief guide from Google helps choose the correct metrics, focusing on the best customers -- the 20% that drive 80% of the profits -- valuing the whole journey and proving the impact.
... and that's just the online world. Let's be realistic and track things such as roadside billboards, direct mail, newspapers, TV.