It would make sense with the enormous push to create and optimise websites and online experiences for mobile device users that tracking and measuring the actions of these users should naturally follow. With Google announcing the imminent arrival of a Buy Now button for their Product Listing Ads, ecommerce is also growing with the rate of mobile internet search. None of this lessens the need to track a customer journey from beginning to end, and it is only with cross device tracking that this can be achieved.
For example, let’s begin with a fairly normal scenario. A customer comes to find ‘Website A’ through a referral from Facebook on their desktop. They look through the online catalogue and get their head around the products on the website before life gets in the way and their phone rings; they close the browser down and walk away.
Two days later they are browsing the internet when they notice a Remarketing advert on their desktop following them around from Website A. They click through and do some further online price comparison. They feel they are getting closer to a purchase decision, but need more time.
A whole week goes by before they type the product name into Google and find the Website A again, this time organically and from their smartphone. Now they are sure and they commit to purchasing. However, they are at work and decide to revisit the site the same evening.
That evening, they visit the site on their tablet. They add the product item to the shopping cart when they become distracted by an advert, from Website A, to download the site’s new App. They decide to download the App, they then register by entering their name and email address, find the product item they previously placed in the shopping cart in the browser and proceed to the check-out process and purchase the item.
The entire scenario above depicts one customer’s journey. Without cross-device tracking, in Google Analytics each visit would look like:
- one referral visit from Facebook on a desktop
- one visit through AdWords Remarketing on a desktop
- one organic visit on a smartphone
- one organic visit on a tablet resulting in an App conversion, with a further purchase conversion
It is fair to say that even though Google Analytics hasn’t picked up on the connection between the four visits (without cross-device tracking) that the person/people behind Website A’s online marketing actions have done their job. On the flip-side, the business owner of Website A is thinking that their SEO efforts are working very well for App conversions. This is partially true but also misleading. The question is are you falling into a similar trap?
What you need to solve this dilemma (because yes, you should want to understand your customer’s journey from start to finish) is cross-device tracking. The problem with cross-device tracking is that Google is yet to catch up with their own push to make everything optimised for mobile devices. Installing cross-device and offline tracking is notoriously nonuser-friendly, even for seasoned online marketing professionals. You need to think about how you can overcome this obstacle.
Ideally, this can be taken care of through the route of effective customer after-care. Developing productive customer surveys can ensure you can still trace where your conversions originate. The key is to collate your own data, rather than fully relying on the data collected by Google Analytics.
It will allow you to gather data on all aspects of the buying cycle. Further to this, it allows you to change your philosophy on conversion tracking. No longer can you only attribute a conversion or sale to just one method of acquisition. What that means is you can see how segments of your online marketing strategy work together, giving you a ‘bigger picture’ view of all of your online marketing efforts.