I've created a QA visit segment for customers that have a marketing channel of direct and then a PPC channel based on a query string value.
I'm surprised to see anyone in this segment, as the only way to trigger the PPC rule is to hit a page with the relevant query string value which can only be achieved by going through a search engine.
What this seems to imply is a customer hits the site and then another page in the same visit with a URL containing the query string parameter which, as mentioned previously, would only be available using a link from a search engine.
Or a customer hits our site and the query string parameter isn't added until the second page view of the visit which also doesn't seem possible as the PPC links are provided to the search engine to take the customer to that specific page with that specific query string value.
The other possible example is in the same 30 minute period the customer hits the site directly, and then for some reason leaves the site, Googles something that will deliver one of our PPC links and then continues.
None of these seem particularly intuitive and it raises questions about whether the marketing channels can be trusted because there's not really much in the way of configuration required so it should be fairly robust.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
That doesn't sound like an uncommon experience. Think about how you browse the web, and how you go about researching products or topics of interest. I know that I'll often visit the same site from various channels (direct, email, SEO, PPC, etc) during a single browsing session/visit, which could very well result in the reporting experience you're describing.
One suggestion I'd make is to do some further analysis on the behaviors for the segment of visits where this behavior is occurring.
Unless you have other reasons to believe your marketing channels are not populating correctly, I'd spend a little time making sure to understand the root of the data. (My first rule of problem resolution is to first prove that there's actually a problem.)
Thanks for the response Brian. Yes, that makes sense to me a customer hitting the site, not being able to find something with internal search or navigation and then using Google to help out. I do that myself all the time.
I've overlaid the entry prop for URL and it is delivering URLs that have the PPC query parameter appended for the direct channel.
If the marketing channel applies to the visit and my segment is to return visits of direct > PPC then surely the entry URL shouldn't contain a query parameter?
"If the marketing channel applies to the visit and my segment is to return visits of direct > PPC then surely the entry URL shouldn't contain a query parameter?"
Assuming that your segment uses a visit container, I would agree with that statement/question. Have you double-checked that the segment is defined at the visit level (instead of visitor)?
UPDATE: I received feedback from Adobe customer support that I shouldn't use any other dimension other than the marketing channel detail ones as, for instance, if I overlay an entry prop it will return every value seen by that visitor in the date range. Therefore, if my customer hit the site directly and then by PPC it will return both the direct URL and the PPC URL with the query string as an entry URL dimension in the results as the marketing channels by definition have visitor lookback.