Proving The Value Of Your Blog With Multi-Channel Funnel Analysis

This is a guest post – you might also want to read Analytics Tools to Understand Website Visitors. I highly recommend trying out the analytics tips in order to get the full value of these posts. – Leora

Tell a business owner about blogging, and whilst they may enjoy the concept, one common question you hear is “well, how can I tell if it’s working?” It’s a great question – it’s often easy to estimate the value of a particular digital marketing campaign, for example with SEO you can track how many sales enquiries you get from each particular keyword. The same goes for PPC. If you list in a paid directory, you can again track how many conversions that directory is generating for you per X period to see if you are getting a return on your investment. Multi-channel funnel analysis can actually make all your calculations for these marketing methods more accurate, too.

The challenge with blogging and other forms of content marketing is that it’s hard to put the value on a particular piece of content. How do you know how many sales a particular blog post is responsible for generating? Sure, you can ask a customer what made them choose you, but it’s often hard to get accurate data from customers – and are they really going to tell you they read a specific blog post? This is where multi-channel funnel analysis comes in. It’s a standard feature of Google Analytics, and in this article I will go through how you can set it up to allow you to see how many of your sales, enquiries or other conversions are partly attributable to your blog.

First things first, you need to ensure you have Google Analytics installed on every page of your website. This is a guide for setting up Google Analytics. Once you have Google Analytics setup and installed (if you did not already before), login to your account.

Setting Up Goals

The first thing you need to do to be able to do a multi-channel funnel analysis is to setup goals. Goals are what you want your visitors to do when they visit your website. This is likely usually one of the following:

  • Fill out a form
  • Sign-up to a newsletter
  • Buy something on your website
  • Request some information
  • Give you a phone call
  • Click a link to an external website

You can learn how to set up goals with this thorough video tutorial. If your primary goal is receiving a phone call from the visitor, then I recommend that you use a call tracking solution which can integrate with Google Analytics. There’s lots of companies to choose from: some examples include U.S. based Call Tracking Metrics and our preferred UK based solution, Response Tap.

Configuring Your Multi-Channel Funnel Analysis

Once you have set up your goal tracking, the next step is setting up your multi-channel funnel analysis to give greater insight to the power of the content you produce. To get started, login to Google Analytics, and find “Multi Channel Funnels”, then click “Overview” (it’s under the “Conversions” dropdown in the left hand navigation bar, towards the bottom).
This should present you with a page that looks something like the following (if you’ve not had any goals yet):

mutli-channel funnels overview
The description at the top explains a multi-channel funnel report, and provides links to a great video and guide which are well worth a watch/read respectively.

After this, go back to the left hand navigation bar, and select “Top Conversion Paths” under “Multi-Channel Funnels”. Next, click “Channel Groupings”, a screenshot is shown below:
channel groupings

Click “Create a custom Channel Grouping”.

Give your channel grouping a name in the top box, next to “1.”, I suggest “Content Marketing” or “Blog Posts”. Once you’ve entered the name, click “New Rule”. You’ll see a set of options open up, as shown below:
channel rules
Change “Ad Content” to “Landing Page URL”. Then, in the box to the right of “Containing”, put the part of your URL that contains your blog, or an individual blog post.

So as an example, say you wanted to know how many of your visitors read your blog before converting, and your blog was found at you could enter /blog/ in the “Containing” box. If you wanted to track how many people read a specific blog post before converting you could track the specific blog post page, so for example if you had a blog post called “Things To Look Out For When Buying A House”, located at you could enter /blog/things-to-look-out-for-buying-a-house/ in the “Containing” box.

You can add multiple conditions, by pressing the “Add ‘OR’ statement” or “Add ‘AND’ statement” buttons for more complicated set-ups where you want to see if someone looked at one post, but not another, for example.

Once you’ve done the above, you can choose a colour for the rule to display as in your reports, and set a name for the rule. It’s up to you how specific you want to be with these rules, whether you create a new one every time you add a blog post (so that you can track individual posts which assist in conversions) or just your blog as a whole. You can create as many rules as you want in the group, to add another simply click “New Rule” after saving your previous rule. Each rule is completely independent.

Once you have added your rules for tracking your content, you need to sit back and wait for some goals to go through Analytics. When you’ve had a few goals (and they’ve hit upon your rules you previously defined) you’ll start to see them appearing when you login to Analytics and click “Top Conversion Paths” under “Multi-Channel-Funnels” and select your channel grouping by clicking on the “Channel Groupings” button and selecting “Content Marketing” (or whatever you named your channel group).

As one example, we are currently tracking a poker website, with two specific pages that we are particularly interested in. A “Play Poker Online” page, and a “Real Money” page. Our screenshot of the tracking is shown below:
channel tracking
You can see how those specific pages are helping in the conversion process – in fact most of the conversions see the “Real Money” page, at some point. If you add all your blog posts into your channel group, you’ll be able to see which blog posts (or chains of blog posts) read results in the highest conversions, which give you a good idea of your best content. The best thing is that these are tracked over multiple visits, so you can string together multiple visits to your website and how they lead to conversions, proving the value of your blog or other pages in the conversion process (as seen in example #7).

There are many more great things you can do with multi-channel funnel analysis, which I highly recommend you read for a fuller understanding of its power. These include:

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. Multi-channel funnel analysis can take a while to get your head around at first, but is highly valuable in your analytics toolset.

William Steward

This is a guest post written by , founder of Iconsive, a digital marketing agency based in the United Kingdom with a focus on inbound marketing, conversion rate optimisation and reputation management.

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10 thoughts on “Proving The Value Of Your Blog With Multi-Channel Funnel Analysis

  1. William, thank you for this wonderfully informative post. One note: I discovered that one cannot delete goals after setting them up. So if you want to experiment (as I did), do so on an account that isn’t a big client account first. Best to learn on one’s own site.

  2. Leora, I’m happy to say yours is the blog I will be returning to time and time again next year as I start the process of paying attention to the behind the scenes stuff with my blog.

  3. Leora — thanks for all the helpful posts this past year. It seems to me that Google Analytics is best at documenting a blog’s effectiveness when you’re selling directly from your site. I certainly check my analytics regularly but I don’t sell directly and for companies that sell services and live by referrals, it isn’t so easy to say that a certain post directly, or indirectly, led to a new engagement. I’m sure it does. But marketing is my business and in the end sometimes you just have to take on on faith.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…How Infographics Can Create Compelling Content for Your BlogMy Profile

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