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updated 4/28/2013 12:16:22 PM ET 2013-04-28T16:16:22

When customers visit your website with the intention of making a purchase, do you always know how they arrived there? Were they directed to your site from a display advertisement on another site? Did they click on a link emailed to them by a friend? Did they find your product or service through an online search? And which is most effective for driving sales online ?

These are questions Google is trying to answer with a new tool called "The Customer Journey to Online Purchase," which allows users to explore typical online buying behavior and see how different marketing interactions impact online sales -- from the first time customers interact with your marketing to the moment they buy something. Released today, the tool draws on data collected from more than 36,000 Google Analytics business clients.

Related: New Google Calculator Tracks Value of Mobile Marketing Efforts

For instance, customers typically click on display ads early in the online purchasing process, but in industries such as travel and auto, customers tend to click on display ads closer to their purchasing decision, according to Google. "The data shows that every industry is different," Google said in an announcement. "The path to purchase for hotel rooms in Japan is not necessarily the same as the path for an online supermarket in Canada."

The idea, Google says, is to help marketers design advertising campaigns that deliver the right message at the right moment. Business owners can use The Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool to look at typical purchasing trends in their industry, and then reference their own Google Analytics data to determine how and where different marketing channels influence customers to make purchases so they can adjust their budgets and programs accordingly.

The Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool is free to use and is available starting today.

Related: 3 Ways to Create More Engaging Website Landing Pages

Will you try Google's new tool for analyzing customer purchasing trends online? Let us know in the comments section below.
 

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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