Analysing Assisted Conversions and Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

Many marketers struggle to identify which sources of traffic are most effective when it comes to converting web visitors into leads. Setting up Goals in Google Analytics for events such as downloads, registrations, subscriptions or enquiry submissions is the first step in working out which sources of traffic, and which campaigns, are most effective.

A few weeks back I decided to use one of our clients’ high volume traffic websites to test the new Assisted Conversion and Conversion Paths reports in Google Analytics V5 for a 4 week period. Assisted conversions in Google Analytics identifies which sources of traffic played a part in converting a visitor into a lead. This is an important report for identifying which sources of traffic are helping in converting visitors. Here is what the Assisted Conversion path report looks like:

Assisted Conversions

Organic search was the most popular assist in a conversion followed by a Direct visit. As you can see Social Networks was an assist in 23 conversions over a 4 week period ahead of Paid Advertising which may answer many questions regarding where further resources or budget should be placed or allocated. I was surprised to see that the RSS feed was so high up which demonstrated the importance in getting visitors to subscribe to the websites blog feed in order to increase loyalty and returning visitors to the content on your website or blog. The higher these numbers the more important the role of the channel.

Ok, so now that we have identified what the top assists were, let’s have a look at the top paths (2 visits or more) which led to a conversion on the website.

conversion paths

Conversion paths for 2 visits or more

The above report shows that two Direct visits (initial interaction and final interaction) was the most popular path leading to 32 conversions (enquiries, downloads, registrations) which reinforces the importance in getting people to familiarise themselves with your website address. It also shows that any brand awareness work which may have been carried out is also working and having an effect in getting people to return to your site via a direct visit. The second most popular conversion path is two visits from non-branded search terms leading to 22 conversions. This shows how important it is to be optimising your website for non-brand related search terms (search which does not contain your company name or product names). *Note, I have create my own groupings so that I can see ‘brand’ and ‘non-brand’ search terms. The default report will not show you this.

Number 5 on the table above shows two visits or interactions, the first interaction from a non-branded search term followed by a direct interaction which in turn generated 13 conversions over a 4 week period. This indicates that 13 enquirers came to the website not having typed in the company name nor a product name into a search engine but on the second interaction came directly to the site. That is SEO and writing relevant content working its magic!

But what about the role of social media sites I hear you cry?

Social Media site such as Twitter or Facebook are great platforms for raising brand awareness and generating that first visit to your website. Once they have made that initial visit you then want them to come back through the same channel or another such as a search engine or a referring website. The below path shows how 2 enquiries were generated from a social network (first interaction) and search engines (second interaction). Who said social and search don’t go hand in hand? Ok, so it’s only 2 enquiries but what if I told you that those 2 enquiries are potentially worth over half a million pounds in sales?

First interaction via a social site and second interaction (converting interaction) via a non-branded search term generated 2 conversions - importance of SEO

The below conversion path is a key path for those who are using social networking sites to increase brand awareness. The first interaction was generated from a social site and same for the second interaction. The third interaction came from a referring site and then the final interaction which led to the enquiry was from a branded search term. So over a period of 4 weeks my client managed to bring someone to the site who had not heard of the company through a social site, the visitor then was bought back to the site via a link on another website to then finally then visitor Googling the company name and submitting an enquiry. Voila!

social referral to brand search phrase

First interaction via social site through to searching Google for a branded search term (converting interaction)

So the next time your boss says “Well, social sites are having no impact on the enquiries generated from the website” just show them the above report. (Or you could get us to do it for you!).

Fantastic, what about the time in between the first visit and conversion?

Well let’s have a look. As you can see below, the site generated 451 conversions in 4 weeks and the majority of conversions occur on the first visit which is great as most will do anyway, but the next is 12 days or more after the first initial visit. This is why it is absolutely crucial to ensure that  your website keeps bringing people back to your site. I cannot stress this point enough! Have a read of this post if you need more info: Increasing Website Loyalty and Reducing One Night Stands.


Nearly 8% of conversions occur 12 days after the first visit

 What are the next steps then?

I will be monitoring the most important paths to my client, which at the moment in time is through search engines (‘non-brand’ > ‘brand search term’ and ‘social network’ > brand search term’). The rest is not important at the moment but hopefully if one path is increasing in conversions over time I will try to put forward recommendations in optimising those channels to generate more traffic. Simples!

About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

2 Responses to “Analysing Assisted Conversions and Conversion Paths in Google Analytics”

  1. Alan

    Pritesh, nice work, but what I am trying to work out is there is a way to see conversions that assist conversions. A typical example would be two’lead’ goals 1. sign up for newsletter and 2. view demo which then later lead to an e-commerce goal.

    What I am specifically looking for is AdWords that assists leads that then assist e-commerce.

    I can’t get my head around if it is possible to extract that level of detail.


    • Pritesh Patel

      Hi Alan,

      Hmmm, have you tried using custom variables to track visitors who perform these steps? And then view repeating visitors within x days?

      Might be worth a try.


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