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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Channel Attribution Analysis in GA4: 5 Questions to Ask

There are a plethora of data and insights that you can dig into in Google Analytics to inform your digital marketing strategy. In this article, we will show you how to interpret your channel attribution data and gain insights from the Conversion Path report in Google Analytics 4; including 5 important questions to ask!


In case you'd like to watch a video tutorial instead, here's a quick, 5-minute tutorial from XYZ Lab's Youtube Channel!


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How to Access Channel Attribution Report in Google Analytics 4:


Step 1: Access your GA4 account and navigate to Advertising



Step 2: Click on Conversion Paths



Step 3: Select the Conversion Event to use for the report and click Apply.


Select your most important KPI or your hard KPI. In this example, we will be using "purchases".







How to Interpret the Column - Default Channel Group:




The column Default channel group displays the interaction paths between the user and the website before a key action was taken on the website. The number of times (x #) means the number of times users visited the website through a certain channel, and the percentage means how Google Analytics or where Google Analytics attributes these conversions.



At no.1, Direct (100%) means that the only interaction between the user and the website before making a purchase was through Direct Traffic. People came directly to the website to make a purchase, so the conversions are attributed 100% to direct traffic. In total, there were 465 occasions where a purchase was made after a one-time direct visit to the website.


At no.2, Organic Search x 3 (100%), means that a user visited the website organically 3 times before they make a purchase, and so the conversions are attributed 100% to organic search. In total, there were 44 occasions where a purchase was made after a three-time visit to the website through organic search.


At no.30, Organic Search x 15 (0%) and Referral x 4 (100%) mean that the user visited the website through organic search 15 times and through referral 4 times before making a purchase. Since the transaction happened at the last visit, the purchase is attributed 100% to the referral. In total, there were 2 occasions where a purchase was made after a 15x organic search visit and a 4x referral visit to the website.


At no. 40, Referral x 5 (0%) and Organic Search x 14 (100%) means that the user visited the website through referral 5 times and through organic search 14 times before making a purchase. Since the transaction happened on the last visit, the purchase is attributed 100% to organic search. In total, there was 1 occasion where a purchase was made after a 5x referral visit and a 14x organic visit to the website.



Through this column, there are 3 questions that you should ask:

  • Which channels are initiating (starting) the customer journey?

  • Which channels are assisting in the customer journey?

  • Which channels are closing (the last click click before conversion)?


The data that you find here can inform you whether the top or upper funnel channels (e.g. Youtube, Display, Facebook, TikTok, etc) are contributing to your customer journey and to the bottom line/conversions (e.g. purchases, add to cart, etc). They might not necessarily contribute as the last click, but they should be seen as the first or middle click. If your upper funnel channels are not contributing, then you should rethink your marketing strategy.





How to Interpret the Column - Days to Conversion:



The column Days to conversion means the average time (in days) it took for the average user to complete the customer journey a complete a conversion. In this example, the average customer journey is 4.75 days, which means on average the user will make a purchase within 4-5 days. This figure is important to know as it can be used to adjust your remarketing timeframes in your marketing strategy.


Through this column, there is 1 question that you should ask:

  • How long is your customer journey? (Days to conversion)




How to Interpret the Column - Touchpoints to Conversion:



The column Touchpoints to conversion means how many interactions a user with the website has before they convert, or how many times a user visits the website before they complete a key action on your website. In this example, the average customer journey includes 4.27 touchpoints; meaning on average, it takes a user 4 visits to the website before making a purchase.

Through this column, there is 1 question that you should ask:

  • How many touchpoints are happening in your average customer journey? (Touchpoints to conversion)




 

Now you can interpret the attribution data and gain insights from the Conversion Path report in Google Analytics. Using this information, you can adjust your marketing strategy according to the timeframe, touchpoints, and channels that are actually moving the needle. To recap, here are some 5 channel attribution questions to ask:


Channel Attribution Questions to Ask:

  1. Which channels are initiating (starting) the customer journey?

  2. Which channels are assisting in the customer journey?

  3. Which channels are closing (the last click click before conversion)?

  4. How long is your customer journey? (Days to conversion)

  5. How many touchpoints are happening in your average customer journey? (Touchpoints to conversion)




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