How to build your customer journey, part 2

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In the previous post, we emphasized what the customer journey was not. It’s not just another name for the funnel. It’s understanding how your customers act, not necessarily in a linear fashion, on their way to becoming customers.

Let’s look at a model of a customer journey, using Google’s Customer Journey tool as a starting point. If you’ve never used it before, it’s a handy tool to understand the basic customer journey model.

Let’s say I wanted to see how a website like mine, which is a medium-sized site, should be expected to perform:


According to the generic model for sites like mine, we would expect to see generic paid search and organic search leading the way, followed by referral traffic and display advertising. These would be the front end, the early ways audiences find me. After that, they’d engage with social media, email marketing, and branded search, and respond as customers to direct marketing.

The output of the tool gives a good general concept of your customer journey, but you might have noticed that the tool’s categories lack specificity. Business and Industrial is technically the category my site fits in, but I’m being lumped in with things like industrial concrete manufacturing, and I’m fairly certain my audience differs from a concrete manufacturer’s audience.

How could we get more specific about our customer journey? If you have goals and goal values specified in Google Analytics, the tool provides you with much of the raw data you need to create your own customer journey. Let’s look at where to get this data. Inside Google Analytics, go to Conversions, Multi-Channel Funnels, Top Conversion Paths:


What you see here are the top customer journeys by channel grouping. This is a decent start, and indeed, you could make operational plans just from this information. However, we are never ones to settle, so export this data into the spreadsheet of your choice:


What we see here are our conversion pathways, broken down by conversion. However, what this doesn’t tell us are the individual stages. Using the text editor of your choice, break apart this data using the > as your delimiter and put some header labels up top of the sheet to make it easier to read.


Next, split up each step into separate tabs (for ease of viewing) and subtotal your channels. Repeat this process for the first 3 or 4 steps:


Move all your subtotals to one table and color code it with the Customer Journey colors, and you’ve now got a look at your specific customer journey versus the generic customer journey:


Above, we can see that in my customer journey, direct actually comes first, rather than last. That’s an interesting twist, and one that the generic tool missed completely. The rest – organic search, referral traffic, social, etc. are aligned with the generic tool.

You’ve now constructed your customer journey. Congratulations! In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to improve it.

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One response to “How to build your customer journey, part 2”

  1. Emaillist Avatar

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