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Which flea & tick treatment would you choose?

Exploring the relevance of touch points online with tracking apps

Before customers decide to purchase a product, they encounter many different touch points during their customer journey – also online. When measuring the relevance of those touch points, online touch points often seem to perform much worse than the traditional ones, mainly because they are usually not documented as accurately. In planung & analyse’s special on online research, Dr. Angela Hoffmann and Fabian Bethge use an example from animal farming to explain how tracking apps enable accurate documentation of online touch points and also aid in effectively measuring their relevance.


The customer journey is the decision making process that a customer undergoes when making a purchase, starting at finding out about the product. Furthermore it encompasses all touch points related to the product. The description and analysis of customer journeys help the vendor’s marketing to minimise distribution loss during the announcement of new products.
For the online world, there are specific challenges that need to be taken into consideration. In surveys, online touch points are often deemed much less important than traditional touch points, such as personal sales, product samples, etc.. This may be due to the partially inaccurate documentation of online touch points. In order to validly capture the utilisation and impact of online touch points, Produkt + Markt used tracking apps in one of her studies to visualise not only the duration and history of online touch points, but also decision making processes. For this purpose, we recruited dog owners who were still undecided which product against fleas and ticks they would use. At the test studio, the respondents were asked to gather information online on possible products. Tracking apps recorded their online data traffic.
The obtained log files document precisely and completely the duration and history of the performed online searches. In addition to all visited internet addresses, it is possible to reconstruct all entered search items with the help of the saved URLs. This already works partially automatically. Therefore it is quite easy to identify relevant categories of online touch points (professional articles, forums, etc.), and to validly group websites and search items as well. Hence, tracking apps are a good means for the definition and distinction of relevant online touch points in future studies. Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that online touch points significantly promote decision making processes. Five out of ten respondents stated that they had decided on a specific product based on the documented online touch points. Four of the remaining five dog owners declared the internet a relevant source of information for the further course of their decision.

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