Working out where your sales are coming from is a vital part of e-commerce, as understanding attribution allows you to effectively manage your marketing budgets.

The value of each touch point varies hugely between different industries, and even between competing brands.

A new report from IgnitionOne, due to be released next week, looks at the conversion paths and latency (the amount of time between the first exposure and when the conversion occurred) for the travel industry.

Digital is extremely important for the travel industry, as data included in the Econsultancy/Foviance Multichannel Customer Experience Report shows that three quarters of travel research takes place online.

IgnitionOne’s report found that paid search is the key driver for getting customers to spend more money. Outside of organic search, it drives a 71% higher average order value (AOV) than any other single channel.

Exposure and latency

On average, travel purchasers saw 5.6 media exposures before converting with an average latency of 13.2 days.

The media exposures came from an average of 1.7 channels, and 51% of transactions included exposures from multiple channels, requiring de-duping of credit.

Looking at which combination of channels drive the quickest sales, the fastest path to conversion starts with display and ends with organic search.

This path converts in 10 days, which is half the total average but also has a lower AOV.

Conversions involving email tend to take the longest, regardless of whether it is at the beginning or end of the sequence. These paths also have a 36% lower AOV compared to other multi-channel paths.

The report suggests that this may be caused by the fact that email campaigns are traditionally promotional in nature, which lowers the AOV.

Email campaigns are also more heavily dominated by existing customers who may not be currently in the market for travel and/or are more discerning among promotional offers.

Path to conversion

IgnitionOne’s report shows that organic search is most often the last exposure before a conversion in multichannel paths, however other touch points affect the value of the transaction.

When conversion paths that end in organic search begin with a paid search click, the conversions result in the highest AOV.

While organic almost always closes the multi-channel path, another channel will have generated the initial interest that drove the user to search for that particular brand term immediately prior to conversion.

We recently looked at which travel sites are most visible in organic search, and also examined how travel sites failing to optimise images and video for search.

Display advertising is also important in the travel industry, but is most effective as part of a multichannel path.

A display click achieves 20% higher AOV and 38% more purchases when it is the last exposure of a multichannel path, compared with being the only channel in the conversion funnel.

According to the report:

Drilling into these path types to figure out what is driving users to purchase more (or less) is essential to improving efficiencies cross-channel.