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Customer Journey in E-Commerce

Use advertising budgets efficiently

Freddy Czaja


A Customer Journey refers to a consumer's path, from the first contact (touchpoint) to a product, service, or business, to conversion (e.g., purchase of a product). This can lead to a variety of touchpoints, as customers inform themselves on the Internet, comparing offers and thus not only rely on a company.

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The customer journey is very important for online marketing because it allows them to evaluate the individual points of contact with the company, which in turn can be used to target the advertising budget.

The goal is to use the available multi-channels of online marketing, such as adwords, display advertising or SEO (content marketing), to address consumers so that a first contact is made and at the end of the customer journey the conversion takes place.

Evaluate knowledge

It is important to find out where the customer's consumer journey starts and how it can be accompanied! This is possible by tracking the movement of all consumers, by setting cookies or an ID or know what the single steps are. Proper evaluation of this data over longer periods of time and the subsequent adjustment of the marketing strategy can lead to a competitive advantage and even to market leadership. The AIDA Model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) also shows itself within the customer journey and offers first-class opportunities for online marketing of companies.


1. A consumer searches for a product in Google Search (initial contact via AdWords) 
2. Presentation of the offer on the company website (entry in the newsletter - offer over 10% new customer discount) 
3. Consumer compares offers from other providers and researches customer reviews (support of the consumer through display Advertising on other websites) 
4. Customer receives a newsletter (Newsletter Marketing)> Consumer searches for the product in Google search to buy it (search engine optimization and branding conversion)
5. Customer buy the product (and use perhaps a 10% coupon from a display advertising)

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Advertising Strategy & Attributions Models

Ideally, the ad strategy should adapt to the general consumer journey of all consumers and also take into account the different consumer behaviors. An approximation to the ideal is to be sought, for which the so-called attribution models can be involved in order to have a stringent line.

Attribution Models

Within the marketing strategy, it must be decided which marketing measures should positively influence the customer journey and which budget is attributed to each individual phase. There are various approaches that are known as attribution models and where it is important to emphasize the value each individual point of contact possesses. Each contact point is assigned credits (percentage distribution), which are ultimately converted into money. In the following we explain the different attribution models.

Last-Click Attribution
First-Click Attribution
Linear attribution
Time Decay


The most widely used model is the "last-click attribution". It says that all credits are assigned to the last touchpoint before the conversion and it is therefore crucial to its success. On the other hand, no other touchpoints are considered which most likely influenced the consumer's decision. The last-click attribution is the clearest and easiest to assign to a conversion.

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To understand how consumers are aware of a offer, the first-click attribution is used. The applied strategy states that the initial contact leads to the conversion (even over a longer period of time). Companies that know where the customer journey starts have a higher chance of winning over the customer in the beginning. However, assigning all credits of your online marketing budget to the first-click gives away part of a potential revenue, as consumers could opt for competing companies during the customer journey.

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With Linear Attribution, all points of contact are rated equally. Here, the marketers assume that all marketing channels contribute something to the conversion and should therefore be treated the same. This method is also used at the same time for increased branding and customer loyalty, as consumers have permanent contact with the company.

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This method is of less and less importance to the client's last point of contact, prior to conversion, the greatest importance, and decreasing in the direction of the first point of contact. For this model, the half-life is 7 days by default. The percentage distribution looks like the point of contact will be half the value 7 days before the last conversion, as on the day of the conversion.

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In this position-based model, the first and last interactions are given the most importance. In this case, for example, the first-click and last-click 40% of the possible 100% assigned, then receive all other advertising measures the remaining 20%. The model applies when companies know that accompanying marketing activities (such as display advertising) influence consumers in their final decision - but knowing that the first and last point of contact prior to conversion is critical.

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The tracking of users is made possible by setting cookies or ID's. Cookies are files created by the website (Google Analytics) that you visit. The information contained in these files includes, for example, the storage of profile information or the settings for the website.


Basically, two different types of cookies are used: on the one hand, the first-party cookie, which is set by the website that the consumer visits; on the other hand, it is the third-party cookie, it comes from websites that have integrated advertisements or images into a visited page.


Cross-device tracking assigns a fixed ID to a user that is device-independent. This method is also considered a model of the future, as users today use a variety of devices that require a different kind of tracking. Facebook and Twitter work as prominent examples with cross device tracking.


Google Analytics is based on cross domain tracking. A java-script snippet is stored on all pages of a website, which stores data as soon as the page is called up; then the data is transferred to a server. Furthermore, when a user first visits, a cookie is cached on the computer, which is forwarded to the next domain.

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The free web analytics tool "Google Analytics" is offered by Google itself and is the largest of its kind. The customer journey is mainly responsible for the "Conversion" section, with its subsection "Multi-Channel Funnels". Here you have integrated five different areas, with which the points of contact to your website (offer) can be evaluated. The five scopes are: Overview, Prepared Conversion, Top Conversion Paths, Time Interval, Path Length. To use Analytics for your website, you must have a Google Account and, as described above, have the appropriate JavaScript integrated on all pages.

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