Getting Inside Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel Reporting

As a webmaster or marketing manager for a site, Google Analytics is one of your best companions to understand the traffic sources. When you run PPC campaign advertisements for your website, the conversions (successful subscriptions or ecommerce transactions) may not be as simple as someone clicking on your ad and being converted! Generally, every conversion happens in a different manner.

For example, some may purchase products from your site after specifically searching for your brand name in a search engine. However, others may become leads by arriving at your site after getting to know about your brand from an ad on a search engine or any relevant review on a blog. In short, the last action taken by your customers is not always the only channel through which they reached your site.

So, it is important for you to know the roles played by your ads, website referrals, and other possible conversion paths as well as the time it takes for a potential customer to convert. This is where Multi-Channel Funnel (MCF) reports play a big role! They help you identify the various channels (an organic search, social media referral, PPC, and so on) that contributed towards conversions or sales for your website.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the setup of MCF reports as well as the benefits of the reports in terms of the data shown.

Steps to Access the MCF Reports

  • Log in to your Google Analytics account
  • Choose the “Reporting” tab that appears next to the “Home” tab.
  • Select the “Conversions” option that appears at the bottom of the left-hand side bar, just below “Behavior”.
  • Opt for “Multi-Channel Funnels”.google-analytics-explained-getting-inside-google-analytics-multi-channel-funnel-reporting-2

How to Set up MCF Reports?


You need to have goals or ecommerce transaction tracking set up in your Google Analytics account, before you can start using MCFs. The goals could be anything that refers to a completed activity (conversion), such as contact information form submission (for a lead generation or marketing website) or a successful purchase (for any ecommerce portal). You can enable ecommerce reporting in the view in which you intend to see the data.

Channel Setup

The MCF reports are generated from various conversion paths, namely the sequences of interactions (referrals or clicks from channels) that resulted in conversions or transactions during the last 90 days.

The Google Analytics tool is able to identify many channels that send visitors to your website. Some channels are automatically detected by Google Analytics. Such channels include direct traffic (visitors directly typing your site’s URL in their browsers or using any bookmark), referral sites (inclusive of social media websites), and unpaid searches (from all search engines). Other channels, such as any custom campaigns and paid searches (on search engines other than Google) and Adwords, need an initial setup to be identified by Google Analytics.

What Data Is Depicted by the MCF Reports?

The basic objective of the MCF reports is to appropriately credit the right channels based on the roles they played in the conversions (assisted or completed sales and transactions).

Below is a description of the data shown by the different MCF reports as seen in the “Conversions -> Multi-Channel Funnels” section:

Assisted Conversions

This report displays how many conversions and sales the different channels assisted with or even completed during the conversion path. It also depicts the number of times a particular channel was the last interaction (before conversion), along with a value of those conversions or sales.

Top Conversion Path

The path taken by your customers to get converted with a successful sale or subscription is shown in this report. For example, you will learn the role played by each channel, whether it is a direct channel to a referral site or a paid search to a direct channel, and so on.

Time Lag

This report depicts the time passed (in terms of the number of days) for your site’s visitors to become customers from the first interaction to the last one in the conversion path.

Path Length

This report is related to the Time Lag report and indicates how many interactions it took for your potential users to convert successfully.
Additionally, you can view / measure the contribution of each channel from the “Attribution -> Model Comparison Tool” section:

The Last Interaction

This model assigns 100% of the conversion value to the most recent channel (the last one) with which your site visitor interacted before converting.

The Last Non-Direct Click

This is the default model used for non-multi-channel funnel reports, that attributes 100% of the conversion value to the most recent channel (last one) on which your site visitor clicked before converting (buying or subscribing). It completely ignores the direct sessions.

The First Interaction

As the name suggests, it attributes 100% of the conversion value to the first channel with which your customer interacted.

The Last Adwords Click

This model attributes 100% of the conversion value to the last Google Adwords ad that your customer clicks before converting (buying or subscribing).

We hope that the above information about MCF reports and their usage proves valuable to you. Please feel free to share your feedback or queries (if you have any) in the comments section below.

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