Slingshot SEO, the innovative tech firm delivering digital relevance to deserving brands, has completed the largest national study to date tracking the steps online shoppers take to make a purchase.
“Marketers generally give direct visit credit to branding efforts or off-line advertising. Our study suggests that online advertising vehicles such as organic search, email marketing and paid search ads lead to a large portion of those direct visits,” notes Slingshot SEO founder, Jeremy Dearringer. “A user may interact with a website in a number of different ways using a combination of channels over the course of a few days or even weeks. It can be difficult to evaluate which channels are most effective – and which channels had no impact. Often marketers focus on the last touch before conversion, but it’s important to look at interaction across all channels.”
“The point of the study is to show marketers how to prioritize marketing channels more effectively: which channels are the most effective in converting an interested online user into a buyer,”Dearringer said.
Using tools available in Google Analytics in the Multi-Channel Funnels feature, Slingshot SEO analyzed more than 23 million multiple-interaction conversions across 30 domains, which include large retailers and service providers. The year-long study of online conversion habits produced the following takeaways:
- Organic Search was undervalued by as much as 77.25%
- Paid Advertising and Referrals were also undervalued in most cases.
- Direct Visits were overvalued by as much as 81.59%
For the study, Slingshot SEO used a flat multi-touch attribution model, which takes the value of each conversion and divides it out equally among each channel in the path.
“For example, an online user looking for golf clubs may first visit an online search engine (such as Google) to start their search, but then may post about it on a social network site, which results in the user getting an email coupon from a sporting goods website. The user may then choose that sporting goods website to make a purchase. Often the first-touch (search engine) starts the purchase cycle; often the last-touch (direct site visit) gets the credit. In reality, it is possible that a series of touches influenced a user to purchase,” Dearringer notes. “By evaluating all channels used in the steps to conversion marketers struggling to
appropriately evaluate and weigh their online spending tactics may get clarity.”