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Digital Channel Mix

This step explains the difference between ‘assisting channels’ and ‘closing channels’.
Within a channel mix, each channel has a specific audience function. Some channels are used to increase awareness of your product, your service, or a sale that you might be having. So that’s a particular function. Along with that, we also have channels that encourage things like consideration. So awareness and consideration together are what’s called assisting channels. They just help people bring along the journey, and they’re assisting them towards taking action. You know, they don’t close the sale, but they convince you along the way to take action. And there’s also what’s known as closing channels. And these are channels that consumers typically use before taking action.
You know, buying something, filling out a contact form, whatever it is, it might be a search, and then they take action. Just to note, a conversion is a valuable action on your site. So it’s always good to know how much we can do and how much we’re can learn about the channels that actually bring people to our site and convert. It’s really important, actually, because you’ll be asked about that all the time. You know, some common closing channels include things like paid search or PPC. So these are sponsored search advertising on search engines like Google, where advertisers pay to show for particular keyword searches.
We also have things like organic search, which are the free search listings that feature just below the PPC ads on Google. And then, finally, we’ve got things like email marketing, so, following up on prospects, and re-engaging customers from an email database. This allows you to bring them back in and encourage them to take action and convert. While a lot of tension is justifiably spent monitoring closing channels, assisting channels are essential components of a digital marketing ecosystem. We need to fill the funnel. So let’s take a step back before the conversion stage in the consumer journey and look at some consideration-driving channels which assist the process.
You know, these include things like social media, some affiliates, and certain types of comparison content. It’s that stuff that makes you think about and compare actions before you go ahead and make a purchase, for example. Now, consideration channels are only part of the puzzle. If we take a step back further again to the top of the funnel, you must look at the importance of awareness-driving channels in bringing people into the funnel, and assisting the conversion. If you didn’t know about a product, you can’t proceed to take action. So that’s what they do. Now, typically, awareness-driving channels are things like display banners, online video, and different things like that.
Organizations spread the word of their product as a starting point in the consumer journey. So it’s a starting point, and we can’t look at it necessarily in terms of how it closes. These channels can actually drive a lot of clicks and traffic and just may assist in conversions and sales just by bringing people who may not have been aware of your product into the purchase funnel. So that’s their function, just to bring people in. Now, as digital marketing is an outcome-based activity, if a channel doesn’t directly deliver a conversion, it does probably assist the consumer in taking action to some degree. Our challenge is to find out what that is.
Assisting channels that drive awareness and consideration include things like social media, video advertising, YouTube, online display, content marketing, and things like blogs. Now, just remember, they don’t typically finish the sale, they just assist. These are assisting channels and they just bring them along. So we have to have a different mindset and a different viewpoint when talking about the value of assisting channels. Because while we can easily measure the effectiveness of closing channels, just through the number of direct conversions or sales they’ve delivered, we need to apply a different set of metrics to understand the value of assisting channels. To help measure performance of assisting channels, some common KPIs for these type of channels include things like post-impression conversions.
These are also called view-through conversions. A post-impression conversion is essentially, someone saw the ad, so they see it. They don’t click on it, but they go ahead and they convert via another channel at a later stage. The idea is that influenced them. So the conversion happens after they saw the ad. We also have post-click conversions, which are conversions that occur when someone clicks on your ad. They go to your landing page, they see what you’re all about, they don’t take any action. But then, later on, they convert through another channel. And, you know, this is really how the consideration piece works. Of course, we do have a report in Google Analytics called Assisted Conversions.
It’s found in the Multi-Channel Funnels part of Google Analytics. It will give you the multiple interactions and steps that a typical consumer might take on their journey to purchase. So it gives you an idea of all of the different steps and interactions that someone takes before they take action, you know. Another thing to look at, and it’s kind of a third metric, is are there any differences in closing channel metrics? Have my conversion rate gone up or, you know, has something like that happened? Because if there’s more people becoming aware of my product or my offering, has that had a positive effect on my closing channels? Kind of see any baseline differences there.
That’s a key way of looking at how an assisting channel might influence the success of a closing channel. We can also look at, actually, cost-based metrics. So are we delivering costs at a lower cost per lead or cost per sale, you know, compared to what’s normal? During the lifetime of a campaign, we’re probably funneling more engaged people towards our closing channels. So has that had an effect on our cost conversion rates and different things like that?

Within the channel mix, each channel has specific audience functions. Some channels are used to increase awareness of your product, service, or sale, and so on. This step explains the difference between ‘assisting channels’ and ‘closing channels’, as well as the different KPIs used to assess the performance of each type of channel.


What two or three digital channels do you think work well together as part of single campaign to market products or services. Why do you think that is?

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Getting Started with Digital Marketing

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