First Interaction vs Last Interaction: Best Marketing Channels

Last Interaction vs First InteractionGoogle Analytics has introduced Attribution Modelling. This has helped marketers learn more about Last Interactions, First Interaction and Assisted Conversions (More on this in another tutorial). But let us look at the difference between first interaction and last interaction. The Marketing channel that introduced the visitor to your website just before the conversion is categorized under Last Interaction and the channel that first introduced the visitor to your website is the First Interaction channel.

Marketers have often puzzled about the value of various marketing channels. Let us look at various marketing channels in terms of conversion, and analyse the First and Last Interactions for each of them.


1) Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

With the right account structure and conversion tracking, PPC Channels gives marketers the ability to calculate the Return on Investment to the very last dollar. Marketers can guess the intent of the customer and customize the offer accordingly (by following PPC Ads Best Practices). After the click, conversion depends on the alignment between the offer in the Ad and the one provided in the landing page. It also depends on TRUST.

Sales don’t happen even if the Ads and landing pages are optimized. Familiarity with the Brand is a big factor in conversion. Trust Logos help to a certain extent but creating Brand Awareness is the key. 

First Interaction: through PPC Ads familiarizes the customer with the brand. If a related keyword triggers the Ad, then chance for conversion increases. 

Last Interaction: through PPC Ads can enable conversion at a later stage if the experience through the interaction has been satisfactory.

2) Search

Ranking for a keyword depends on the domain and page authority. If you are an authority in your niche, Search Engines will prefer to rank your web page to your competitors. This is not an easy task and requires focus on editorial and keywords, and would take years to obtain market dominance. 

Google favours brands, small or big. If your focus is not on building a brand, eventually your competitors will be more influential in all the marketing channels. By focussing on content and customer’s problems, Businesses can translate content creation to higher search traffic and more influence.

One Disadvantage is that Businesses will have less control over which keywords attract the visitors to the page. Although you might have done your keyword research and created the page accordingly, Google might consider your page relevant for other keywords too. The goals defined might not be relevant for this segment of visitors.

First Interaction: through Search traffic is the most valuable form of interaction. By satisfying the customers with a solution, the Brand is engrained in their mind. The visitors will then enable spreading your brand through Social Media, click your PPC Ad if the offer is relevant and might link to your article if it solves their problem.

Last Interaction: through Search traffic has to be analysed in detail. With the “Not Provided” secure search keyword taking over most visits, it becomes extremely difficult for marketers to customize the offer according to customer’s search intent. A workaround would be to test multiple offers in the page (with different anchor texts) and find the best converting call to Action. 

From an influence point of view, First Interaction in Search traffic has the potential to influence conversion in all other channels.

3) Links

The Quality of the traffic from Links depends a lot on the niche that you are competing. Links from directories and general websites tend to have very little value in terms of conversion. If the linking does not happen without any coordination (which is normally the case), the intended audience for the article might change according to the context in which the link is placed, resulting in lower conversion.

However, if links are placed in context, the audience from another network is introduced to your content, and if your content solves the customer’s problem, the visit can result in a loyal following and even result in conversion. 

First Interaction: If the link is placed in proper context, the first interaction can be extremely useful. However, if a link is placed in a related site, without understanding the context or purpose of the article, the visitor experience will be poor that can result in brand aversion.

Last Interaction: Conversion resulting from Links can be analysed in detail and conclusions reached, after understanding the context of the link. A similar placement can be sought from other partner or related sites.

4) Social Media

Although the Quality of Social Media traffic depends on the timing of your marketing message, the network that you have built and the clarity of the message, you have a better control over how to compose the message. 

First Interaction: through Social Media and its influence depends on the influencer. 

How influential is the brand/authority who recommended (Liked, Re-tweeted or +ed) your page? 

Does the influencer’s audience intersect with that of yours?

Let us say that the Influencer is an SEO. Your blog is about PPC. There is more likelihood that the SEOs would also be interested in PPC. 

Understanding how messages propagate in Social Media is the key in evaluating this marketing channel.


Search>PPC> Social Media>Links

Search traffic has the most influence in First Interaction. It defines Last Interaction in other marketing channels too.

PPC gives you greater control over aligning the customer’s search intent with your offer; a great marketing channel for Last Interaction.

Social Media is good for First Interaction if your content can deliver the promise. Not a good channel for Last Interaction.

Carefully placed links can be a useful Last Interaction channel. However, marketers have very little control over the context of the placement, and therefore this channel ranks lowest among all the other marketing channels.

What has been your experience with each of the marketing channels? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below! 


If you want expert help in analyzing First Interaction vs Last Interaction, contact us or you can call us at: India (Ph): +91 9497189032, UK (Ph): +44 (0)20-3371-9976 or US (Ph): +1 650-491-0004

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