Why Your Analytics Needs to Measure the Complete Customer Journey

People’s habits have changed when it comes to discovering and interacting with businesses. Their path is no longer linear. They’re not just learning about your business on one channel, and they’re not just using one device — their journey is now much more complex.

More than 40% of online adults sometimes start an activity on one device but finish it on another.

In fact, according to a Facebook study on multi-device usage, over 40% of online adults sometimes start an activity on one device but finish it on another¹. Additionally, in a GfK study on omni-channel shoppers, researchers found that 45% of all shopping journeys today include an action on a mobile device. What’s most interesting, however, is that it wasn’t just the mobile experience that shoppers wanted, it was having a seamless experience across a variety of channels that was important.

Embracing the new customer journey

So what does this mean for your business? Now that people are constantly switching between different devices and channels, bouncing around from your app to your desktop website, Facebook Page, and more, driving growth in this complex new world relies on embracing your new customer journey.

The first step is to build a cohesive experience across channels and devices. Let your audience read about your product from their mobile phone, chat with your bot on Messenger for more details, download your app, and sign up — all without missing a beat. According to McKinsey’s analysis, customers want to move freely from channel to channel in an omni-channel experience. You can no longer afford to think about and optimize your website or app in a silo.

Build a seamless experience that spans channels and devices so customers can move freely between them the way they want.

But building a seamless, omni-channel experience can be a challenge. You need to understand people’s behavior across each of your channels, and make sure you’re creating an experience that encourages them to take the actions you care about, like registering or making repeat purchases.

Understanding omni-channel behavioral analytics

Product and behavioral analytics tools are one of the most powerful resources you can use to gain actionable insights on your customer journey. These analytics tools provide you with a way to measure people’s interactions with your business, so you can analyze, understand, and optimize based on their behavior.

Some tools even go one step further by allowing you to tap into rich demographic insights so you can hone in on your potential and existing customers for a more tailored product and marketing experience.

However, traditional product and behavioral analytics tools measure each channel separately. They can tell you when someone signs up and purchases on your website, or when someone adds an item to their shopping cart in your app. But these tools can’t tell you when the same person signs up on your website, then views and purchases an item in your app. These two actions would be reported as being from two different people instead.

Traditional product and behavioral analytics tools measure each channel separately.

To understand and unify the actions people take across different devices and channels, your analytics tool needs to connect actions to the individual. Some analytics tools do this by having you include a user ID when logging an event (the action) that someone takes. Then, the tool ties events with the same user ID together.

While this is better than viewing customer behavior separately for each channel, it isn’t enough, and leaves you exposed to major gaps in your data. Specifically, in order to provide a user ID when logging an event, you need to know who the person is. This means your analytics will be limited to only those people who have created an account with your business and are signed in. You’ll be missing out on understanding what people are doing before they become users or customers, which is a key component in helping you optimize your acquisition and growth efforts.

This is where true omni-channel analytics comes in. Omni-channel analytics tools, are built from the ground up to measure and provide insights on behavior across the multiple channels your business uses to interact with customers, including your Facebook Page, Messenger bot, iOS and Android app, mobile and desktop website, and more.

Omni-channel analytics tools are built from the ground up to measure and unify customer behavior across channels.

Analytics should understand when the same person visits your site using their mobile device, “likes” your Facebook Page from their laptop, and purchases in-person at your store — without needing them to have signed up or purchased from you before. And you shouldn’t need to use Facebook Login to get this capability either. This means you’ll be able to measure omni-channel behavior for anonymous users, helping you understand the complete customer journey from first discovery, to engaged user, to repeat customer.

Why Your Analytics Needs to Measure the Complete Customer Journey

2 Responses

  1. How do you think this is going to unfold in the future James?

    It is easy to say ‘just do omni-channel’ and ‘just measure cross-device’ but when your audience and customers don’t want to be identified, you’re left with holes in data as you describe. I’ve read about device fingerprinting as an alternative, however it sounds like there could be privacy considerations if you go down that road too.

    I think this is going to be a problem for the foreseeable future and that analytics tools need to get smarter but maybe not by simply expecting 100% identification of visitors.

    For example, you could push all of your impressions/clicks/engagement through a single product. Doesn’t solve cross-channel, cross-device and identification, but at least one tool can see as many engagements as possible. From there I wonder if we’d continue to use userid for the users/sessions that it is applicable to and that cross-device, cross-channel attribution modelling needs to have some form of significance attached.

    At least that way when a business is looking at omni-channel style reports, they can have higher levels of confidence that they are making good decisions, knowing that there was sufficient engagements in a channel, on a given device type that the recommendation has reached significance.

    Alistair Lattimore December 27, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

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