Analytics for online retailers


Visits to Transaction and Purchase Path Length in Google Analytics

I just wanted to provide a visual equivalent to Avinash’s excellent explanation about the difference between Visits to Transaction and Path Length. Visits to Transaction is in the E-commerce > Time to Purchase report section, whereas Path Length is part of Multi-Channel Funnels.

Here is an actual example of Visits to Transaction:

Looks like 30 out of 33 transactions were completed in one visit. Maybe I don’t have to “worry” about attribution at all? Compare that to Path Length:

Same number of transactions, but only 23 had a path length of 1. The difference is due to the fact that Visits to Transaction only counts visits from the last campaign, whereas Path Length shows you all interactions for the past 30 days. You can reconcile the different attribution models in the Top Conversion Paths report, where I added how the data would look in Visits to Transactions:

 

The Path Length report really gives you a richer understanding of how visitors interact with your site. The takeaway is that there are typically more interactions prior to a transaction than you might otherwise believe by looking at the Visits to Transaction report.

More interactions means that you should help your visitors achieve their immediate goals at each interaction, even if those are not actual purchases. If a visitor “needs” six different visits from an organic search before placing an order, so be it. You’ll want to provide enough value during each of those visits to get the visitor to come back (and hopefully place an order).


Published: 09 January 2012

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