Back in April, Google announced Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, which would allow for website owners to gain insight into the digital paths taken by their customers prior to converting. This is the first major step towards getting a better understanding of a user’s online purchase process and identifying the impact of different online channels on a user’s behavior.
While Multi-Channel Funnels will be great for more in depth analysis of online customers, it also begs the question as to when companies will be able to extend this analysis to offline channels and offline conversions. Google Wallet, which was announced by Google last week, might just be the key to finally integrating these two worlds.
Google Wallet is a revolutionary technology that is designed to eliminate the need for people to carry around a physical wallet.
If you own an Android phone (it’s currently only available for the Nexus S 4G by Google on Sprint, but expanded support is planned), you’ll be able to virtually store your plastic cards using the Google Wallet Application and pay via near field communication. It will also allow for customers to redeem Google Offers at participating stores.
There’s no question that offline interactions impact online behavior and vice versa, but currently, there’s no easy way to track both sets of interactions in a cohesive manner. Imagine if eventually, Google Wallet allows a company to see how a promotion on its home page, a post on its blog, and a tweet via its Twitter account influences the article of clothing, electrical appliance, or maybe even the entree a customer purchases at that company’s brick and mortar location? The depth of analysis would not only be greater, but it would be far more informative.
Envision a situation in which a major electronics store is promoting a television sale for Black Friday. They’re running ads through AdWords and display advertising through AdSense. They also have a large promotion on the homepage of their site and have spent the last two weeks advertising the sale on their Facebook Page and on their Twitter account.
Currently, a customer might print out a coupon from their site and bring it into the store to redeem the offer, but the company would have no way of knowing all the different online touch points that led him or her to doing so. Furthermore, what if that customer purchases more than just the television? Were there other online channels that influenced those behaviors? That kind of data is very challenging to not only gather right now, but also to integrate into an easy to digest report. Google Wallet and Multi-Channel Funnels might just allow for such analysis to take place.
There are some companies that currently have no trouble measuring the ROI of their websites. There are other companies however, that struggle to tie online marketing initiatives with their overall successes. Google Wallet might not be the technology to ultimately bridge this gap and bring this kind of analysis to fruition, but with the introduction of Multi-Channel Funnels, the integration will take place soon enough. It’s now just a matter of when.