In online marketing there are a seemingly endless offering of statistics and numbers to evaluate the performance of your business. One metric that continually gets overlooked in Google Analytics is assisted conversions. This can be a very effective metric for accurately determining which aspects of your online marketing are contributing to the success of a website, which makes it a very valuable piece of the equation when it comes to decision making time. So, what exactly is an Assisted Conversion?
As defined by Google, Assisted Conversions are:
the number (and monetary value) of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere—except as the final interaction—on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that conversion. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the channel.
In more simple terms, assisted conversions are the interactions that a customer has with a website leading up to a conversion, but not the final interaction. These Assists are assigned a value based on the transaction they contributed to in order to help assign value to their contribution. It is also important to note that Assisted Conversions values can be higher than total Conversion. As stated by Google:
Assisted Conversions for a given channel counts all conversions in which that channel was a non-last interaction. Assisted Conversion Value is the total value associated with those conversions. As as result, double-counting can occur across rows or across assisted and last conversions. If two conversions occur for a single person, any channel interactions which were in both conversion paths count toward both conversions.
The major takeaway from this is simply that assisted conversions are not a 100% accurate depiction of transactions because values can be attributed to multiple channels for the same transaction. The values are meant to help determine the significance of each channels contribution, not necessarily an accurate picture of sales numbers.
Now that we know what Assisted Conversions are, why do we use them?
In online commerce, many users do not purchase products on the first visit to a website. There will commonly be information gathering steps and comparison shopping which results in multiple visits to a site for any purchase. This raises an issue because there may be channels that are contributing significantly to the success of a site, but they are not accounted for within the normal conversion numbers. Assisted Conversions help develop the complete picture so we can understand how consumers are finding websites and products that they purchase.
Assisted conversions can be broken down by aspects such as channel, campaign, and multiple other dimensions to help us understand what factors are contributing to the overall conversion path. This is especially important for channels that are more frequently part of the information gathering stage, such as text ads, because it can shed light on what is actually contributing and what is not. Like you see in the image above, “Paid Search” has a relatively low piece of the Direct Conversions, however it plays a role in just over 20% of the sites total conversions.
Here is an Example Situation
A user has 3 separate interactions with a website. First they see a text ad and click through to the site, they get the info they need and leave. Later, the same user is searching in Google shopping and comes back to the site via a product ad and then exits to do more comparison shopping. Finally the user types the web address in and goes directly to the site to make the purchase.
In this situation, the direct visit will be attributed with the normal conversion and both the shopping campaign and text ad campaign will receive an assisted conversion. While the final transaction came from direct, it is important to know that without those other two interactions, this conversion likely would not have happened.
Always remember to keep Assisted Conversions in mind when evaluating any online marketing channel, otherwise you could potentially be cutting out essential pieces of your marketing strategy.