Are you acquiring new customers, or simply targeting existing ones?​

How conducting a customer journey analysis helps you fine-tune your targeting
Arben Kqiku, acount manager at comtogether


When you’re using multiple advertising channels, it’s easy to fall into the trap of targeting your existing customers with ads that aren’t relevant to them. Thus, you end up wasting money on clicks and impressions that don’t bring any value. That’s why proper channel attribution is so important. Not only does this help you identify opportunities for improvement; it also helps you learn more about your customers and how each channel attracts leads of certain types. Carrying out a customer journey analysis helps brands profile their target customers and find the best channels and strategies for acquiring them. In this article, we’ll explore how it works and what sort of results you can expect.

Start with a time series analysis

At comtogether, we run paid search campaigns, among others, on behalf of our clients. The biggest challenge facing our campaigns was that we needed to find a way to know whether we were targeting new customers or simply targeting existing ones. Because we don’t have access to clients’ databases for security and privacy reasons, we needed to find a new way to demonstrate that we’re actually finding new customers and not just targeting existing ones. Conducting a time series analysis helped us overcome this problem and demonstrate to our clients how we’re helping them find new customers. The process involves tracking user actions over time and learning how people go from being users to customers. For example, let’s say making a booking is the main conversion for a client. In this example, the user generates a booking, and then logs in eight days later. This indicates the user has become a new client. But, if the user logs in first, and then creates a booking sometime afterwards, it indicates they are an existing customer.

New customer

Existing customer

How we did it

Today’s customer journeys take place over a hugely diverse array of online platforms, making it especially challenging to connect all the data and deliver optimally targeted ads. In the above example, we were using Google Analytics 360. So, we needed to build a data pipeline between Google Analytics 360 and Google BigQuery. BigQuery is Google’s data warehousing platform, a solution which allows companies to have quick and easy access to the data they need to empower real-time decision-making. Setting up these queries in BigQuery allows us to extract the key information needed to answer the question of whether the ads were targeting new or existing clients. This way, we can learn what users have done before and after making a booking.

The results

Having made the connections, we can now see the separation between new clients and existing ones in general. The graph below shows we’re acquiring a lot more new clients, although existing clients still account for a lot.

Now, let’s break down the graph into the three main conversion channels – paid search, organic search, and direct traffic:

As you can see, the number of new customers coming from paid search is way above existing ones. Also, among the top-three channels, paid search is the one that brings the most new clients and the least existing ones. That means it’s the best-performing channel. All thanks to a combination of time series analyses and some data engineering, it’s possible to immediately determine who’s seeing the ads and optimise the targeting accordingly.

These figures demonstrate that the paid search budget is money well spent, and that we’re not just wasting money on clicks and impressions from existing customers.

Measure the impact of your campaigns starting now!

Paid search can easily end up being a bottomless pit. At least, that’s likely to be the case if you’re not measuring the impact of your digital campaigns using high-quality data to base your decisions on. As you can see from the above, just drawing a simple comparison between the different conversion channels isn’t enough. You also need to know what sort of customers you’re attracting with each channel. If one channel doesn’t bring in the right traffic (such as new customers), then it’s a clear indication that you need to rethink the way you’re using it.

Are you facing a similar challenge? Contact us today for a free strategy session.

Spread the word

About the author

Arben graduated with a Master in Psychology. Apart from keeping us in good mental shape, he brings his passion & creativity to data analytics and programs the automations that save our customers valuable time.