We’ve all done it, you’re getting ready to finalize your online purchase, you do a quick google search for COUPONS. Who doesn’t like save a few dollars here and there, however, do you know these coupon sites could be costing you advertising money and sales. Some coupon sites could be using your website to create their own organic listing to push users to complete a purchase through their referral site. Understanding your conversion paths is always important, however, it can become even more important when you have additional budget to spend on advertising during the Holidays.

Where is this secret information?

If you have your Google Ads account set up to track conversions through Google Analytics, you should be able to find how other marketing channels interact and affect your conversion path. Google Analytics lists three conversion path reports, however, for today we’ll be using Top Conversion Paths. This report is quickly found under Conversion > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths. Your report should look something like this:

As you can see, this report helps you understand the different paths users take to complete your desired conversion. You can further segment this data by adding a secondary dimension to include paid search campaign names and source. You can add this information by following this path secondary dimension button > acquisition > Campaign (Or Source/Medium Path) it should look like this:

Campaign names and referral sites have been omitted to keep client privacy.

This segmentation should tell you the name of the referral sites. In this case, the referral sites (in blue boxes) were coupon sites that scraped the client website and ranked high on organic results when searching for “[client name] coupon”. Their organic headings included discounts the client wasn’t offering on their site or through affiliate partnerships.

We started seeing conversions drop 20%, while traffic metrics and impression share remained steady week over week. This meant we were receiving the same amount of traffic, however, we either had a tracking issue or users were completing purchases through another site. A quick peek at our conversion paths showed people were completing their purchases through a coupon/referral site.

What can I do?

There are several things you can do to take action. For one, you can exclude these sites from your conversion path. This will help attribute conversions towards the correct channel, and help you understand if that incremental Holiday budget is equating to more sales. Second, bid on coupon keywords for your brand! It’s the holidays and everyone is looking for ways to save on gifts.

Checking conversion paths have always been the report to understand the customer journey, however, it can be more important during the Holidays. During this time advertisers are willing to increase budgets to acquire more conversions, and understanding conversion paths can help ensure your campaign spend is efficient.


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