Understanding Multi-Channel Funnels

If you’re new to Google Analytics or you don’t fully understand how it all works it can be hard to recognise the importance of some reports that are available to you. One in particular is the Multi-Channel Funnels report. In brief, this report allows you to understand how different channels (direct, organic traffic etc…) assist each other when a transaction or conversion occurs. To help you better understand why this report is vital for your business; let me explain how the standard reports work in Google Analytics. Let’s say you get a visitor that goes ‘direct’ to your site and then later that day (or in the next 30 days) goes through an ‘organic’ traffic source and makes a transaction. In the standard reports, the second visit through the ‘organic’ traffic source would get the credit for the transaction and not the direct. Now with the Multi-Channel Funnels reports, you would see the following:

First Visit (Direct) — This would get credited as a ‘first interaction’ and an ‘assisted interaction’.

Second Visit (Organic Traffic Source) – This would get credit as a ‘last Interaction’

I will explain in more detail what these interactions mean in the assisted conversions section.

Note: You must have ecommerce tracking or goals enabled to use the Multi-Channel Funnels reports.

Now you have a general understanding of how it works, let me explain what each report within Multi-Channel Funnels means and what data you can pull from them.

First, within each of the below reports you will notice that you can filter between your transactions or your goals data. If you only want to look at your transactional data, make sure you have ‘Transaction’ selected.  Another great feature if you use Google Adwords is that you can choose to view only your Adwords data. Make sure you have these set correctly before you start to pull data from the reports.

Overview Report

This is a general overview that shows you how many conversions and assisted conversion you had over a set time period. Another great feature in the overview report is the conversion visualiser, which shows you the percentage of conversion paths that includes the combination of your selected channels.

Assisted Conversions Report

The assisted conversions report shows you a breakdown of which channels initiated, assisted and completed a transaction or conversion (you also get to see the total value of the transactions).

Within the report you have three options: Assist Interaction Analysis, First Interaction Analysis and Conversions.

Here is a breakdown of the three options:

Assist Interaction Analysis — Here you can see all the channels that assisted conversions. (An assisted conversion means the channel occurred anywhere in the path apart from the last interaction.) You also get to see how many conversions the channel was the last interaction in the path.

First Interaction Analysis — Here you can see all the channels that were the first interaction in the path.  As with the assisted report, you also get to see how many conversions the channel was the last interaction in the path.

Conversions — This shows you which channels have been involved in conversions at any part of the path.

Top Conversion Paths Report

The top conversion path report shows all of the unique conversion paths that result in a conversion. You also get to see the total value of the conversions.

Time Lag Report

The time lag report displays how many conversions occurred from channel paths that were 0 to 30 days long. This is from the first interaction to the last.

Path Report

The path report shows you how many interactions it took before a conversion


As we have only covered the basics in this article, there is much more you can do and filter down to in these reports. For example you can drill down sources and mediums, plus you can even create your own customer channel groups.

Multi-Channel Funnels is a great report that provides vital data that can help you better understand your channels that are sending you traffic so if you haven’t already, check it out!

Daniel Whittaker works for a company in the UK called Cartridge Monkey Ltd., one of the UK’s major suppliers of ink cartridges and all in one printers. Daniel loves to write about search and technology on the web.