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No funnel


Let’s find out if your site is a sparkly clean snowflake ❄️ … or a hot mess like everyone else’s.

In Google Analytics, take a look at Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths. Do you see a chaotic jumble like this?

A screenshot of Google Analytics Top Conversion Paths report

If so, congratulations - you’re in the same boat as the rest of us.

What it means

Lots of visitors come to the site multiple times, via multiple channels, before they convert.

Some get really creative with it, too - check out line #9 above. They find the site through Google, leave, come back via Google Ads three times … bookmark a page, come back again and finally sign up. 😅

It’s worse than it looks

This report, like anything in your analytics toolset, fails to account for multiple devices.

So the visitors who took path 11, with 9 different touch points … they might have visited another 8 times on mobile before making a buying decision. We’ll never know.

What to do about it

Meditate on the fact that you only have one online experience. It’s the sum of all your organic search results, your search, display, and social ads, your main site pages, paid search landing pages, email landing pages, mobile / tablet / desktop views, new + returning visitor experiences.

This is the thing you’re optimizing.

Do you keep your SEO, social, and paid search teams in different buildings? (Or different cities?) Does an entirely different team own social media content? Do all these people talk to each other 😁?

It’s common practice to treat paid search optimization as isolated from the main site. I get it - different agency, different budget, different success metric.

But they’re not different visitors. Your paid search visitors include some who’ve already visited the site via organic search, and others who will return later via a bookmarked link. (And apparently some who will return via 6 other channels before converting.)

You can optimize your paid search “funnel” for single path converters, or visitors who finish their long buying journey in this channel. Change a headline, get some significant results, celebrate.

But given what we now know about your visitors’ habits, wouldn’t a more effective experiment update headlines across multiple landing pages, along with the homepage?

You’d have to coordinate multiple teams, get your Social people talking with your SEO crew and Google Ads team. You’d probably want to run several variations to make it worth the effort. You’d have to run the test longer.

But at the end, you’ll have a better online experience - not just a single page with a higher conversion rate. And you will have brought together teams who should be working together.

If your visitors don’t stick to a single channel, why should your tests?


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© 2022 Brian David Hall