New Google Tool: The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

Google has rolled out a new tool that aims to provide insight into how customers make their journey from initial awareness to making a purchase. They’ve pulled data from 36,000 Google Analytics accounts (that authorized sharing), and the data includes millions of purchases across 11 industries in 7 countries.

One of the most interesting aspects of this tool (for me, anyway) is the interactive timeline showing how different marketing channels participate in this customer journey, viewable for different industries in different countries.  

The customer journey is mapped out from left to right as Awareness, Consideration and Intent – which Google calls “Assisting Channels” – and then finally the Purchase Decision, which Google calls “Last Interaction.” As an example, here is a screenshot of the timeline for the U.S. Tech industry:

Screenshot of Google Customer Journey Tool

It’s best for interested marketers to see it in action, but I will give a few superficial “first-pass” observations, all for U.S. industries:

  • Social Media and Email are almost never a Last Interaction, except with Healthcare where Email serves as a last interaction. Other than that, Social and Email are always Assisting Channels.
  • Direct, Organic, Other Paid, and Referral channels are always a Last Interaction, or at least very late in the Assisting phase.
  • Social Media appears early on the timeline for these industries: Auto, Classified/Local, Edu/Gov, and Travel.
  • Social Media appears late on the timeline for these: Media and Retail.

by Brian Tibbs