Tutorial: Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, Part 3: Custom Channel Groupings

- September 19, 2011

We continue our tutorial series for the new Multi-Channel Funnels reporting section in Google Analytics today by introducing Custom Channel Groupings.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our previous two tutorials in this series, carve out some time today and catch up:

Part 1: The Basics of Multi-Channel Funnels
Part 2: Conversion Segments

When you’re using Multi-Channel Funnels and are viewing reports like Top Paths and Assisted Conversions, the first column shown in those tables are what Google Analytics is calling “Basic Channel Groupings”. These are your standard source and medium combinations that you’re used to seeing all throughout the Traffic Sources reporting section, but with a streamlined naming convention.

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Google Analytics has rules that are built-in to the Multi-Channel Funnels reporting section that will group Traffic Sources as you see in the image above.

Creating Custom Channel Groupings

The basic channel groupings are nice, smart, and user-friendly. But what if you need to see interactions from a new online marketing channel, daily deal / coupon service, or a specific sub-group (like Re-Marketing / Re-Targeting, which is bundled into the Paid Advertising grouping)?

Google Analytics realizes that this is something that power Google Analytics users like yourselves will need to do, so custom channel groupings has been created so that you can do just that.

At the top of any reporting table in Multi-Channel Funnels is a link for Channel Groupings – clicking on this link will bring up a short menu from where you can begin to create a custom channel grouping (We’ll come back to copying a grouping template later).

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The custom channel grouping creation wizard will appear directly above this link. First, give your custom channel grouping a name, and then, click on the Add New Rule button to start defining what your channel grouping will show you.

Next, give your rule a name and if you’ve either used Advanced Segments or had the opportunity to read Part 2 of our Multi-Channel Funnel tutorial series, you’ll find the rule creation process very familiar to you (as it’s pretty much like building an Advanced or Conversion Segment). Lastly in this part, choose the color for the label that will appear in reports – this is just like choosing labels for your Gmail account, if you use Google’s Email service. Don’t forget to click on Save Rule after you’re done!

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It’s not pictured above, but you are provided the option to add on further rules if you choose, if you want your custom channel grouping to follow strict guidelines. Once you’re finished building your custom channel grouping, click on Save Channel Grouping (pictured below), but note that you’re provided what’s known as a fall-back option, in the event that a value doesn’t match the rules you’ve created. By default, the source/medium combination will be displayed but you can change the dimension.

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Here’s a cross-section of what it looks like when you’re viewing your custom channel grouping within Multi-Channel Funnel reports (the image below is zoomed in to focus on the custom channel grouping we just created):

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Now, you can obtain deep insights in your custom channel grouping beyond how many conversions it obtained over a period of time. You can evaluate how many assisted conversions it produced and how it interacted with other channel groupings and traffic sources.

You can always edit your custom channel grouping by clicking on the Channel Groupings link that you saw earlier. Or, you can edit the custom channel grouping from the Google Analytics account home (Profiles tab, Assets sub-tab) as pictured below:

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Hopefully, we’ve enticed you to start using Multi-Channel Funnels instantly to move beyond traditional conversion tracking. Leave your comments below and tell us what you think!

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