February 4, 2015 ↘︎

Stop guessing – map your customer journey with Google data.

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey maps are traditionally built from qualitative research – one to one interviews and focus groups. Both are great for understanding more about the experience you’re providing your customers and unveiling moments of truth. But, more and more we’re seeing that data can provide a deeper insight into an increasingly complicated and non-linear decision-making process.

Why map customer journeys?

If you’re not familiar with mapping customer journeys, check out the Smart Insights run down, or Heart of the Customer’s Top 10 Requirements to Customer Journey Mapping.

Basically, mapping out your customer journey is a way of getting into the mindset of your customers by following them throughout their decision-making process. Knowing the answers they’re seeking and what channels they’re using to look for answers, helps to pinpoint exactly what your brand should be saying and where it should be saying it.

A customer journey map is the cornerstone to any decent communications plan.

Introducing Google’s Customer Journey Mapping tool.

Among Think with Google’s suite of planning tools, is the recently launched Customer Journey to Online Purchase, a neat little tool for customer journey planning. Using its access to multitudes of data, Google has built this great little tool that maps the customer journey according to online channel. The tool is the outcome of 11 months of tracking and pulling data from the multi-channel funnels report of a stack of participating organisations.

Data in planning is a subject very close to our hearts, so we thought we’d take a look at how it works and share our findings with you.

Using the tool.

The very simple design offers a wealth of information and allows you to focus on the areas relevant to you.

Punch in the industry you’re interested in, the size of your organisation and country you want to look at, then it outputs you a basic customer journey model. You can then choose one of the channels for a more granular breakdown of its contribution to the path to purchase.

This tool doesn’t include mobile data (although Google hints that it may do in the future). And frustratingly, as with a lot of Google tools, many of the categories for Australia are missing.

It won’t give you the lovely little insights that you get from overhearing your customers’ actual experiences or digging around in social media, but it will give you a good place to start.

Sample data is no match for your own.

Think with Google’s Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool uses data collected over a fairly short period of time, with a limited number of categories. It won’t compare to what the more specific and extensive data of your organisation might say about your customer journey, but it is a handy benchmarking tool.

A foundation for your customer journey map.

Our take? There may be a couple of downsides, and the tool is in the early stages, but what it does give you is some foundations to build on.

Use this tool to start a basic framework for your customer journey map, then build on it with some deep diving of your own.  And finally, invest in qualitative research to bring a deeper layer of what your customers actually think.

It’s these final stages that will shine the light on the moment of truth about your digital brand experience and bring your communications strategy to life.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on February 4, 2015.
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