What are Assisted Conversions?

15th September 2016

In the early days of online retail, most online teams were small and integrated. It was often enough to credit the sale to the online team. But to insure a higher return on your PPC investment it is often necessary to understand how your clients interact with your site on their path to buying your products.


What Are Assisted Conversions?

As the sales and costs have increased, most businesses have demanded deeper analysis of the return on investment generated by each of the marketing channels. Customer behaviour has also become less tightly defined; most customers now conduct online research of part of their purchases and no longer simply buy from a store on their first visit.

Today’s multi-channel marketing approach makes it imperative that the full value of each channel’s input to the sales process is known. This is where the concept of assisted conversions comes in.

Assisted conversions are essential knowledge for large teams and agencies. They allow the exploration of performing assets that fail to log significant sales volumes on a last click based analysis of conversions.


How Do Assisted Conversions Work?

This is a tricky subject to explain in words. So, let’s use a flow chart.

Conversion Flow Chart

The result of the graph above on a typical last click analysis would show that Organic Search was responsible for the sale. Whilst all of the other actions would be ignored.  This is likely to undervalue the input of your other channels (although of course we would expect PPC to pick up final clicks from organic search).

The chart below shows a typical model for an assisted conversion

Assisted Conversion Flow Chart

We can see that this method ensures that separate teams are given credit for leading the customer through the sale funnel towards a purchase. Thus allowing us to put a true value on engaging content, that creates awareness, but does not lead directly to a sale.


Which Companies Benefit Most from Using an Assisted Conversion Model?

This view can always provide some information, but it is particularly useful for businesses that have long buying cycles (such as in luxury goods and other high-ticket items), or those that have cyclical product sales, such as mobile phone companies who might wish to prove the value of their marketing efforts in maintaining customer contact in the period between contract renewals.


What Are the Drawbacks of the Assisted Conversion Model?

Assisted conversions are not 100% accurate.  They help you to understand the process of sales, but should not be taken as absolute fact.  Multiple devices, the use of different browsers and numerous other systemic issues prevent the data from being a perfect representation of the real world.  

You can also see that the customer may not have returned through a channel (let’s say social media) because of a lack of useful new content to that particular user. Whilst this may be reasons behind a lower number of interactions, it should be remembered, that this content could be bringing people in from higher up in the path to conversion, rather than the people you are seeing converting in the most recent report.

In most cases, Assisted Conversion models of PPC also miss the in-store shopper. Although this can be remedied, most sales staff will be unlikely to have the time to prompt a customer to tell them about the online journey they have undertaken.