Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels menuYou can improve automotive SEO  and Google AdWords paid search results by understanding how automotive parts and accessory customers originally find your website, and how they return to make a purchase. You can discover a lot of information hidden in the Multi-Channel Funnels reporting section of Google Analytics (menu shown at left) so as an automotive aftermarket digital marketing agency we thought we’d pass this along in our blog.

Digital marketing channels can act as an “assist interaction” channel or as a “last interaction” channel to influence making a purchase. You can see how these interactions work in Google Analytics by looking at your Top Conversion Paths report.

As Google puts it, “…these days, the customer journey has grown more complex.”


Customers can come to your site from many marketing channels: social media, email, paid search ads including Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), organic results and referral traffic. Or, customers simply come directly to your site.

The key is understanding how all these marketing channels/conversion paths influence auto parts shopper visits and how shoppers ultimately turn into your customer.

The reality is, only about half of specialty equipment customers buy on the first visit. That means half of your customers are buying as many as 30 days or more after their first visit, and they’re buying after visiting a second, third or even 50th time. Fortunately Google has data to help you understand how these customers are interacting with your site and ultimately making a purchase.

Average Order Value Google Analytics

Google’s graph on Average Order Value: a customer making a purchase on Day 30 has an AOV 1.5 times larger than a customer making a purchase on Day 1. This is why a long-term view is the best approach to SEO and PPC; effective Internet marketing is not accomplished overnight.

Marketing channels: assist interaction vs. last interaction

Marketing channels can act as “assist interaction” steps or as “last interaction” steps.

Assist Interactions create awareness, consideration for your products or company, and intent to buy.

Last Interactions are the last point of contact before a shopper makes a purchase.

Google’s Customer Journey to Online Purchase study shows in retail, display ads, social media and email tend to act as Assist Interactions, while organic search and direct traffic tend to act as Last Interactions. (For more information on these interactions read this Google blog.)

So why does any of this matter? Understanding the many paths customers take will help you do a better job planning your online marketing. And it’s important to understand that all of these channels are interconnected.

Why SEO and PPC needs a long-term approach

An important final note: Although some of these customers drag their feet and make a purchase after days or weeks, look at the Google graph showing average order value over 30 days. A customer making a purchase on Day 30 has over 1.5 times the average order value than a customer making a purchase on Day 1! This is just the latest evidence of we’ve been saying at Hedges & Company for years: your multichannel customers are your most profitable customers!

Also, looking at this graph, you’d certainly want to run any new organic SEO campaign or any new pay per click (PPC) paid search campaign longer than 30 days to really see accurate results.

Want more information? Need automotive aftermarket industry statistics? Contact us with any questions on paid search or SEO and we’ll be glad to help. For more information watch our SEO and PPC presentation here. If you’re attending CatalystAmerica 2013 stop by our booth and talk to Jon Hedges, or give us a call at (234) 380-1650.

On Twitter? Use #SEMAShow and #AAPEX2013!

1 reply
  1. Angie Still
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