by gabegayhart in 2010
If the internet was the Land of Oz, then the purchase path would be the yellow brick road between Dorothy’s landing and the final words “There’s no place like home”. The purchase path, also known as the buying funnel, follows a consumer’s buying cycle. Without the purchase path, a marketer cannot recognize they have a problem or exploit an opportunity. Usually, after an evaluation of alternatives or comparison shopping, the consumer makes the choice to convert. If your marketing depends solely on optimizing based on the last (converting) click then you most likely think your brand terms are the chief converter in your strategy. Guess what? They are not. Granted they convert, but true attribution would show a marketer there was an introduction and influencing factors prior to the converting click. Hence, brand terms obtain more credit than they deserve since they usually are the last click. Does your integrated strategy attribute conversion metrics base on a last-click method?
Understand the fact of your Marketing Tactics
Banner and paid search ads have different jobs to do, and using the last click method won’t give proper attribution to the role your marketing tactics play. Attribution assigns facts to your tactics. Here’s a fact: a Banner is typically higher in the buying funnel than a paid search ad. Therefore the value assigned to a banner ad shouldn’t be discounted because of the conversion rate. Even certain search behaviors should be seen differently too.
Another Fact: Brand terms are often an indicator of a navigational search because the user has already made a decision to purchase, not because your brand is so awesome they just automatically think of your company at 2:13 pm on a Tuesday afternoon – get over yourself. Perhaps your brand has touched the consumer multiple times in a purchase path and for one reason or another brand has been associated by the consumer to their purchase. Perhaps it was messaging, perhaps it was dominance, but more likely it was a combination of multiple touchpoints combined with solid pricing. Studying the path helps you understand the facts that surround your converters’ search experience, and each tactic has its own attribute that it contributed to that experience.