Opportunity cost and assisted conversions

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In the last post, I emphasized picking your marketing strengths and putting your focus behind a chosen few methods. This is leveraging opportunity cost, the cost of doing one thing and not doing something else.

Every choice in life has an opportunity cost:

When you eat at restaurant X, you’re not eating at restaurant Y or at home.

When you watch television, the time you spend watching TV is time you could have spent on something else.

When you focus on SEO as an inbound marketing method, the time you spend optimizing your site is time you could have been sending email or tweeting.

Thus, by choosing strong marketing methods that work for you over weak methods that don’t work for you, you’re minimizing opportunity cost. You’re investing what time you have in the things that work best.

Is it really that cut and dried? Just pick a few marketing methods and go? No. There is more to the story about what works best.

In order to understand what’s really working, we must acknowledge the way people make decisions. Except for small, risk-free transactions, people need some level of consideration. Eavesdrop on a couple deciding where to go for dinner and you’ll know all you need to know about how lengthy the consideration process can be.

How do you pick your strengths, given how complex the consideration process can be? This is the magic of Google Analytics’ assisted conversions.

Assisted conversions, if you’re unfamiliar, are touchpoints in the conversion process that help a conversion, but aren’t the last thing that someone did. Someone viewing a tweet may not convert right then, but may convert a few days later. In an analytics tool that understands assisted conversions, the tweet will be given partial credit for the conversion, even though it wasn’t the tipping point.

Look carefully in Assisted Conversions, using Source/Medium as your primary view, and you’ll see a more nuanced view of how people convert:


One of the simple tricks I like to do is to add up assisted conversions and last touch conversions in a spreadsheet. I’ll make a column called Total Conversions to get the biggest possible picture of what’s converting:


I’ve got a more complete view of what my marketing strengths are by total conversions. Now I can make informed choices about opportunity cost and what’s truly working.

Picking what you’re strong at and making opportunity cost choices is the right way to go; just be sure you’re using all of the available information possible.

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