Implementation for an Omnichannel Strategy – Multichannel Tracking (1)

This is the  second part of three part series on ‘Omnichannel Attribution Modelling’.

The series will cover:

  1. Attribution – Definitions / User Journeys
  2. Implementation – Type of Attributions / How they are tracked – 1. Multi Channel Tracking / 2. Cross Device Tracking / 3. Offline – Online Tracking
  3. Attribution and Attribution Roadmap – Industry Examples

We can only get deeper into attribution modelling after a complete omni-channel implementation is done for data collection.

In the last post we studied the 3 types of Attributions:

  1. Multi Channel Attribution
  2. Cross Device Attribution to Synchronize user experience across devices
  3. Offline-Online Attribution

Corresponding to these three models, firstly we have to implement viz:

  1. Multi channel tracking
  2. Cross device user tracking
  3. Offline tracking with Online

Omnichannel Strategy

The real world attribution is the hybrid of online-­offline, multi device and multi channel attributions. It takes into account the back and forth activities of customers between multiple devices both online and offline while distributing credit for conversions. Because of that property, the real world attribution model is much more complex and difficult to develop than any existing attribution model. But at that same time it is the only true attribution model. We will talk about it in great detail in this series, but first let’s implement the above three in order to reach to a real world scenario.

Let’s begin the implementation for the above strategy:

Multi-Channel Tracking for Marketing Channel Attributions:

We read about the pre-sales journey of user evolution to a customer.


Important questions that marketing teams have to answer are:

  • CURRENT SPEND: Is the marketing spend paying off? Is it driving growth for the company? Should we be investing more or pulling back on marketing spend?
  • CURRENT CHANNELS: Which marketing channels are working better than others? e.g. are the TV ads as effective as the paid search ads on Google?
  • WHAT IF SCENARIOS: If there is additional money available to spend, where should we be investing the additional budget? Should we be investing in Facebook mobile ads?

This, in essence, is the attribution challenge. A good attribution solution helps companies identify a good marketing mix that helps maximize sales targets while keeping costs to a minimum. While building elaborate media plans and running ads is a really fun exercise for marketing teams & ad agencies, the marketing costs add-up (often running to millions of $ for larger companies). Hence the need for accountability, the ultimate goal of marketing attribution.

Let’s come to Google analytics to try and answer these mentioned questions. We go to the default path report to see the channel paths the users have taken to analyze patterns.

channel paths

We see that there are too many paths, and you can’t actually control the path that a potential customer can take. Even if, and this is not possible, I said to you that the path is Direct, Social, PPC, Organic, Referral for 5% of the site traffic … what would you do? It is not possible to force people down that path!

The first part in the above image is what you see as a default report in GA. The second part is when you apply an attribution model to the reports.

Let’s take an example of user journey to understand the 11 standard attribution models. Say, A customer finds your site by clicking one of your AdWords ads. She returns one week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back a third time via one of your email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns again directly and makes a purchase.

omnichannel imputs

attribution models

Half of our budgets spent on the marketing channels goes to dump, the problem is we don’t know which half because Marketing Channels play a more intricate role in the customer journey which is not easy to judge if you do not have the right tracking and the right knowledge about how to understand the user channel and patterns across multiple visits.

Let’s define our strategy in a step by step manner:

1. Define Marketing Channels


Analytics, by default, applied these rules to create channels and store sessions into the channels:

Analytics recognize Organic, Direct and Referral traffic by default. For campaigns, you need to send the medium and the source through UTM parameters included in the landing URL.

Adwords and DoubleClick Campaigns can be tagged automatically, but for any other campaign you need to add URL parameters:

  • UTM_source
  • UTM_medium
  • UTM_campaign


Ex: image

If you work with other sources and mediums, or you have made a mistake with parameters, you can customize the channel grouping:

  1. You can create new channels
  2. You can modify rules to send some traffic to the proper channel (for example, you have tagged your email campaigns with “MAIL” in the UTM_Medium, and you want to store these sessions inside “Email” Channel.

In the first option (Channel Settings –> Channel Grouping), you will find the panel to modify and create channels groupings.

It is a very good practice don’t touch the Default Channel Grouping. Duplicate it, and make changes in the new one. In GA you will have the option to select the Channel Grouping that you need.

2. Set your defined orderimage

When you define a new channel, you must give a name, define the rules, and select a color for the channel. Order of processing is important for attributions in case of conflicting or overlapping rules. For edition, you have the same options, but you start from a default rule already applied.




3. Build Custom Attribution Model & Reports

You may create up to 10 custom attribution models per view. To create a custom attribution model, decide what attribution model we need:

Then –>

  1. Create new custom model and enter a name for your model.
  2. Use the Baseline Model drop-down menu to select the default model you want to use as a starting point for your custom model. We recommend starting with Time Decay or Position Based as baseline models and build upon.
  3. (Optional) Lookback Window to On to specify any of 1-90 days.
  4. (Optional) Adjust credit for impressions to On
  5. (Optional) Set Adjust credit based on user engagement to On to distribute credit proportionally based on engagement metrics.
  6. (Optional) Set Apply custom credit rules to On to define conditions that identify touchpoints in the conversion path according to characteristics such as position (first, last, middle, assist) and campaign or traffic source type (Campaign, Keyword, and other dimensions). After defining, specify how these touch-points will be distributed conversion credit, relative to others.
  7. Click the Save and Apply

4. Attribution Setup and reporting

– Channel definitions will be available in Multi-Channels and Attribution Reports, and Acquisition Reports:

acquisition view

– Channel definitions will be available in Multi-Channels and Attribution Reports, and Acquisition Reports:


– Channel definitions will be available in Multi-Channels and Attribution Reports, and Acquisition Reports:


– You can select the Custom Channel Groping that you have created previously:


Next Post –> Cross Device Tracking for Multi Device Attributions


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