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Within our channel mix, each channel has specific audience functions. Some channels are used to increase awareness of our product, service, or sale, and so on.
Along with channels that encourage consideration, these channels are called ‘assisting channels’ as they help bring the consumer along the journey and assist them towards taking action.
There are also what’s known as closing channels. These are the channels that consumers typically use before taking action, converting, buying something or filling out a contact form, and so on.
A conversion is a valuable action on our site so it’s always good to know as much as we can about the channels that bring people on site to convert.
Common closing channels include:
While a lot of attention is justifiably spent monitoring closing channels, assisting channels are essential components of the digital marketing ecosystem.
Let’s take a step back before the conversion stage in the consumer journey to look at some consideration-driving channels that assist in the process. These include social media, some affiliates, and certain types comparison content.
But consideration channels are only part of the puzzle. If we take a step back further again to the top of the funnel, we must consider the importance of awareness-driving channels in bringing people into the funnel and assisting the conversion. Typically, awareness-driving channels – like display banners and video – help organizations spread the word of their product and can act as the starting point for the consumer journey towards conversion. These channels can drive a lot of clicks and traffic, and they may assist conversions or sales by bringing consumers who may not have been aware of your product into the purchase funnel.
As digital marketing is outcome based, if a channel doesn’t directly deliver a conversion, it probably assists the consumer in taking action to some degree. Assisting channels that drive awareness and consideration include social media, video advertising like YouTube, online display, content marketing and blogs, and so on.
Just remember, as they don’t typically finish the sale, they are considered assisting channels as they helped bring consumers along in the conversion journey.
While we can easily measure the effectiveness of closing channels through the number of direct conversions or sales they have delivered, we need different metrics to understand the value of assisting channels.
To help measure performance, some common KPIs applied to assisting channels include:
Cathal Melinn is a digital strategist, lecturer, and trainer. He has over 15 years’ experience in eCommerce, social media, affiliate marketing, data analytics, and all things digital. He worked at Yahoo! Search in 2005 as a Senior Search Strategist for the UK Financial Services vertical. He moved to the world of agency in 2010 as Head of Search and Online Media. Cathal’s previous clients include Apple, Vodafone, Expedia, Virgin, Universal Music Group, Amazon, Compare the Market, and HSBC.
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module opens with a comprehensive overview of channel planning including the challenges this presents to marketers. It covers inbound and outbound strategies, cross media planning, the digital channel mix, and mobile marketing. Next, the module dives deeper into key topics related to each of the channels, covering social media marketing and content marketing strategy, search engine marketing, SEO, conversion rate optimization, and paid search, email and affiliate marketing, and display and video advertising, including ad formats and creative.