How to identify kill-stealing in your online campaigns

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  • October 7, 2011
Emma Barnes

Emma Barnes

Senior Insights and Analytics Analyst

Xbox controllersI love Google’s new Multi-Channel functions in Analytics; I also love gaming.

Now we have that out of the way, I’m going to teach you how to find the kill-stealers of your online campaign through the assisted conversions in the multi-channel functions section of Google Analytics.

A recent post on Blogstorm highlights that assisted conversions can drive 30% more revenue for some companies – so it’s important to know how to make the most of these conversions.

What is kill-stealing? In gaming, this is a phenomenon which occurs when Player 1 is working really hard to kill an enemy, and Player 2 comes in, strikes when the enemy is on death’s doorstep and claims the credit for the kill. A clever tactic on Player 2’s account, but highly annoying to player 1 who did most of the work.

How is this relevant to online marketing? Let me show you. It’s all down to assisted conversions. Time to open Google Analytics. You need to be in the new version, and in the Assisted Conversions Report.

Assisted conversion

Basically, an assisted conversion is one where the customer interacted with your site more than once before making a conversion. Branded3 are currently doing a lot of research into this new feature and discovering interesting new ways to do things all the time.

This page shows all sorts of data relating to assisted interactions. It shows how often a particular source appears in an assisted conversion, what the assisted conversion value is, and how often it appears as a last conversion and the value of that conversion.

There is also a nice ratio of Assisted : Last conversion. On a scale of 0-1, 0 represents closing all sales but not assisting in sales and 1 represents equal assisting and closing of sales. When this value is >1 it means the value assists sales more than closes. So, the closer a medium is to 0, the closer it is to being regarded as a conversion kill-stealer.

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In this example, the 3 biggest kill-stealers are Non-Brand PPC, Direct traffic and Non-Google organic search. If you look below you will see the mediums that have the highest Assissted : Last ratio. One of them has a ratio greater than 1, so it assisted in more conversions than it closed.

However, in both examples, be aware that both the ‘top spots’ have a small amount of total conversions, so the data could be considered skewed. You can try this out with your own data by going to the assisted conversions page and sorting by the last column.

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So, why does this matter? We use SEO research and analysis to determine what roles your conversion sources play in assisted conversions, you can determine how much focus could be put into each.

For example, if your product is something a customer purchases with a lot of thought behind it, you might want to focus on those mediums that have a higher assisted : last ratio. This is because the customer knows they want to purchase something, but would prefer to browse around and make comparisons between different sources before buying – so the medium for assisted conversions are important.

However, if your product is more of an impulse buy, you could choose to focus on a medium with a lower assisted : last ratio. This is because a customer sees something, and they want it then and there without much time to give it thought, so it is indeed that last interaction that is most vital to purchase.

So, in spite of the negative associations with Player 2’s kill-stealing in the gaming industry, Player 2 could actually be quite valuable to your campaign. Equally, the hard work done by Player 1 might be of more value to you. If you need help deciding which Player to control you can always get in touch with us to help improve your marketing strategy focus.

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