Understand which channels (paid and unpaid) drive the most traffic and have the best conversion rates for your website. Track key performance indicators (KPIs), improve qualified traffic or compare channel performance against averages for verticals using Benchmark.
You'll find more detailed information about use cases and KPIs in the second part of this article.
Four main referral channels in the Marketing Channels report
Marketing Program - If there is a valid MMC tracking parameter on the destination URL, the referral is counted into the All Other MMC Vendors marketing channel. Use MMC parameters to separate paid traffic from unpaid traffic.
Search Engine - If there is no MMC tracking parameter and the referring URL matches a recognized search engine, it is counted into the Natural Search marketing channel.
Referring URL - If there is no MMC tracking parameter and the referring URL does not match a recognized search engine, it is counted into the Referring Sites marketing channel.
Direct Load - If there is no MMC tracking parameter and no Referral URL information, the referral is counted into the Direct Load marketing channel. This channel also includes URLs that are typed into the browser by a visitor and favorite/bookmarked URLs.
You can manage MMC vendors to group the vendors into distinct channels such as Email, Paid Search, Advertising, Affiliates, and Price Comparison. Any MMC vendors that are not assigned to a specific marketing channel remain in the All Other MMC Vendors marketing channel.
Different ways to use Marketing Channels data
Track key performance indicators - Your marketing team might want to track metrics, such as conversion rate, bounce rate, % share of traffic, or sales, for each channel as key performance indicators. Check the performance of these channels to identify significant changes that might need urgent action. For paid marketing campaigns, use the Marketing Programs report to drill deeper and to help explain the reasons behind any change. Set targets to improve conversion, or expand the share of traffic from more cost-effective channels such as Email.
Improve Qualified Traffic - Review the bounce and conversion rates of each marketing channel to help identify marketing campaigns that are driving unqualified traffic to your website. Using Paid Search as an example, it would then be possible to improve keyword relevancy using the Natural Search and Marketing Programs reports.
Compare channel performance using Benchmark - To better understand the performance of your marketing channels for your website, compare your marketing channels' performance and conversion against the marketing channel averages for a particular vertical and specific sub-vertical using Digital Analytics Benchmark. Digital Analytics Benchmark includes Direct Load, Referring Sites, Natural Search, Marketing Programs (MMC), and Paid Search benchmarks.
Digital Analytics Benchmark gives both the percent difference and a percentile ranking to identify areas for improvement where your website marketing channels are performing below the benchmark for specific KPIs. The marketing channels benchmark data is in the Vertical Compare module in Digital Analytics Benchmark.
Intraday reporting on Marketing Channels reports
You can enable intraday reporting on your Marketing Channels report by opening a ticket with Acoustic support. When you open the ticket, make sure to specify a frequency for how often you want the report generated. The default is every 4 hours.
Here's what you can do with intraday:
- See when your report was last updated. Simply open the report, click the Calendar icon, and click today’s date. A timestamp tells you when your report was generated. The timestamp uses a "Current as of <date><time>" format, where <date> and <time> are set to the time zone and date format for your client id.
- Get updates on metrics by opening the report and looking at the Tiny-icon on the metric.
Intraday is not supported on segmented or filtered reports and does not support. Week-to-date, Month-to-date, Quarter-to-date, Year-to-date, and Custom Date Range reports (rollup functionality). It is also not supported for click attribution metrics, such as New Visitors 14 days - backward - last click or Page Views 14 days - backward - average click.
Marketing Channels report use case
The following use case explains how to track and improve landing page performance and conversion across marketing channels.
In the Marketing Channels report, you notice that a spike in bounce rate is mirrored by a drop in visitor conversion over the same time period.
|Channel||Sessions - Same Session||Bounce Rate - Same Session|
|Paid Search Retail||440,299||20.45%|
|Natural Search Activity||792,495||24.32%|
|Referring Sites Activity||494,993||37.83%|
|Direct Load Activity||1,074,114||31.08%|
For the week in question, the Advertising channel was responsible for driving a large amount of traffic to the website, but bounce rate performance was poor. You trend the bounce rate for the Advertising channel, which confirms a higher than normal volume of traffic for this week, which was the result of a new campaign launch. Through MMC tracking, you use the Marketing Programs report to pinpoint which ads and target audiences were performing the worst. You then use this data to optimize and improve landing pages to improve performance and conversion.
Key performance indicators for the Marketing Channels report
Focus on the following key performance indicators when you analyze data in the Marketing Channels report. You'll find the following metrics in the default view.
- Bounce Rate
- In the context of the marketing channel, the percentage of sessions that were single-page sessions that can be attributed to this marketing channel during the reporting period. A high percentage shows that visitors are bouncing off their arrival page without visiting another page on your website. This metric can be used to determine the extent to which marketing campaigns are bringing qualified visitors to your website.
- Unique Visitors
- The number of distinct visitors during the reporting time period that can be attributed to this marketing channel.
- Unique Buyers / Visitors
- The ratio of visitors who purchased a product to all visitors who visited your site: Unique Buyers divided by Unique Visitors.
- New Visitor Percentage
- The percentage of first-time visitors that can be attributed to this marketing channel during the reporting period. Use this metric to monitor targets for the acquisition and retention of visitors.
- Online: Sales
- Total sales of purchased items calculated for orders completed via online channels.
Additionally, if you edit the Marketing Channels report, you can add these metrics.
- Average Session Length
- The average session length attributed to this marketing channel during the reporting period. The metric can be used to determine the stickiness of a website and the level of engagement.
- Buying Sessions / Total Sessions
- The percentage of all sessions that became sessions when an order that navigates through a specific marketing channel during the reporting time period was placed. The metrics provide a session-based rather than a visitor-based conversion rate, to measure session conversion effectiveness by channel.
- Event Points
- The total number of event points. Event data is collected by the Conversion Event tag. Action Type = 1 reflects an initiation. Action Type = 2 reflects a completion. Passing Event Point values is optional.
- Event Points / Session
- The average number of event points per session: Event Points divided by Sessions. Event data is collected by the Conversion Event tag. Action Type = 1 reflects an initiation. Action Type = 2 reflects a completion. Passing Event Point values is optional.
- Event Sessions
- The total number of sessions that consist of at least one completed event. Event data is collected by the Conversion Event tag. Action Type = 1 reflects an initiation. Action Type = 2 reflects a completion. Passing Event Point values is optional.
- Events Completed
- The number of conversion events completed. A count of the collected Conversion Event tags where type = 2. Event data is collected by the Conversion Event tag. Action Type = 1 reflects an initiation. Action Type = 2 reflects a completion. Passing Event Point values is optional.
- Events Completed / Session
- The number of events completed divided by session.
- New Visitors
- The total number of new visitors (persistent cookie values that were not seen previously).
- One Page Sessions
- The total number of sessions that consisted of a single page.
- Online: Average Order Value
- The average order value for sessions that navigates through a specific marketing channel and placed an order. The metric is an indicator of spending behavior and can be used to monitor the ability of a website to encourage users to purchase items of a higher value.
- Online: Average Shipping & Handling
- The average shipping and handling fees for transactions completed via online channels.
- Online: Buying Sessions
- The number of sessions in which an order was placed via online channels.
- Online: Orders
- The total number of orders placed in online channels. A count of the Order tag.
- Online: Total Shipping & Handling
- The total shipping and handling value for orders completed via online channels.
- Online: Unique Buyers
- The total number of visitors who purchased one or more products via online channels.
- Orders / Session
- The average number of orders per session: Orders divided by Sessions.
- Orders / Visitor
- The average number of orders per visitor: Orders divided by Unique Visitors.
- Page Views
- The total number of times the page (or category that contains the page) was viewed. A count of the collected Page View tags.
- Page Views / Session
- The average number of pages viewed in a visitor's session that can be attributed to this marketing channel during the reporting time period. The metric can be used to determine the stickiness of a website and the level of engagement.
- The total number of sessions. A session is defined by a sequence of records collected by a common session cookie with no more than 30 minutes (default) of inactivity between collected records.
Metrics in the Marketing Channels report can either be Same Session or have attribution logic applied to them. Same Session metrics attribute all user activity to the referral source that initiates each session or visit. Attribution Windows use visitor profiles to search across multiple sessions or visits and reassign credit according to the selected attribution window rules. If users ultimately convert from Direct Load, attribution windows can help to determine the effectiveness of the points where users access the paid campaign that leads to a conversion.
An Attribution Window is composed of the following:
By using Attribution windows, the user can understand the historical referral sources that led the customer to activities, such as sales, page views, conversions, and so on, on your website even when those referrals did not occur in the same session as those activities. This allows you to analyze which channels are most effective at acquiring new visitors, influencing decisions throughout a consideration period, or driving conversion across sessions to your website.