What is a customer journey?

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey or user journey is an overview of how a customer came to buy a product or order a service in the shop of an advertiser. This overview consists of several events. There are two types of events:

  • Touch points. Basically, a touch point is the moment during which customers ‘touch’ upon the advertiser. This can involve the display of an ad on a website, or a click on a banner. It can also involve customers typing in the URL of the advertiser in the browser or a click on an organic search result.

  • Conversions. The most obvious example of a customer journey is a sale, i.e. customers placing orders on the website or in the mobile app of the advertiser. But there are more types of conversions: customers subscribing for the advertiser’s newsletter, customers placing products in shopping baskets or even customers watching a video instructing them on how to use a specific product. In general, a differentiation can be made between analytical conversions and commercial conversions.

It is important to notice that a customer journey usually does not only contain multiple touch points, but also multiple conversions and in some cases multiple conversions. The customer journey does not end when customers reach the website or install the app of the advertiser. In fact, the customer journey does not end when customers place an order. Customers can come back and place new orders. If they do so, they will produce more touch points and analytical conversions and all of these events can be seen as part of the customer journey. The customer journey can even run across multiple devices, for example when a customer clicks on an ad media item in a mobile app and later buys a product on the advertiser’s website on a laptop.

Value of customer journeys in online marketing

Being able to evaluate customer journeys is vital for effective online marketing, because it allows you to see what marketing channels are performing best. Furthermore, it allows you to understand the dynamic between your marketing channels: you will be able to understand what channels are best at generating what conversions – both analytical and commercial – and what channels are best at promoting what products. And we are not talking about individual channels only here. Via the patterns report, you can analyse the most common patterns in your customer journeys. You can also analyse the distribution of your channels and see the correlation between the length of a customer journey and the channels.

Based on what you find, you can alter the configuration your attribution model. In your attribution model, you define what media type, channel, category or ad space has priority when it comes to attributing costs. For more details, please read this article.