The Importance of Building Conversion Funnels in Google Analytics
As a marketer, you work to gently push people toward some kind of goal that benefits your business, such as a purchase, to name an obvious example.
But you know that there are many steps between landing on a website and making a purchase. For that matter, this journey often begins with sighting an answer to a search query and clicking.
The user who clicks on a PPC ad or an organic search result expects to find relevant information on the resulting landing page. But he or she has no real idea what lies between that and a purchase or even whether they will make a purchase.
You, on the other hand, should know the path that site visitor is likely to take toward a purchase. And, more important, you’d better know why when it doesn’t happen.
You must know your website’s funnel for each conversion goal if you are to measure its success or correct its failures.
The latter is most important: correcting the failures of your conversion funnel.
That is why you build conversion funnels in Google’s Analytics tool. To find leaks in your conversion funnel so that you have an opportunity to put an end to your losses.
Below, I’m going to sketch out how to build conversion funnels and just a couple of ways you can use them.
Analytics Goals Become Conversion Funnels
Conversion funnels are an extension of creating goals in Google Analytics (GA). Goals are conversions, acts beneficial to your business that you want a visitor to take on your website. Goals may range from clicking through to a landing page, to submitting a contact form or making a purchase.
Establishing goals in GA allows you to see how often they are met. If they are important to your overall goal of sales, then you need to understand whether customers are taking these steps.
As you establish “Destination” goals in GA, the program will provide the option of documenting a funnel — a series of steps — that leads to that goal.
You’ll also be asked to add each step in the funnel and whether each is required. The first step generally is, but not all have to be. Watching a product video may not be a necessary step, for example. But if a step is required, users who enter the funnel below that step will not be counted in the Funnel Visualization reports.
Funnel Visualization indicates the number of users who travel the entire funnel and convert. If you see a conversion rate in other reports but a zero conversion rate in the Funnel Visualization report, this indicates that a required step wasn't viewed during sessions that converted. This is useful information. Maybe that step shouldn’t be “required.” Maybe it’s not necessary at all.
Analytics Funnel Reports Flag Problems That Harm Conversion Rates
GA’s Goal Flow and Funnel Visualization reports show how users travel through your funnel, including where they enter and exit.
Exiting the funnel before reaching the end is a problem to be examined. This is hurting your primary conversion rate, and costing revenue.
If funnel exits occur at a significantly higher rate on a specific page or point in the funnel, this indicates where the problem lies. It could be a technical malfunction or unclear instructions, but once the report flags it you can find out and resolve the problem.
The Goal Flow report also shows where users skip steps in the funnel. (The Funnel Visualization shows entry points that may not match Step 1, but fills in any skipped afterward.) If certain steps are routinely skipped by your customers, they may not be necessary.
A shorter funnel is always better user experience. If you suspect that a step in the funnel is unnecessary, set up a version of the page leading to it that skips that step instead. Run A/B tests and see if you can shorten your funnel.
The Goal Flow report also can be viewed with one segmentation applied to it at a time. Segment your customer base and see whether different types of customers handle your funnel differently. Maybe your younger customers or domestic customers skip the step you identified above, but older and foreign customers almost never do.
You might create separate paths to accommodate different customer segments, and create a better UX or them.
Learn to Visualize How Users Travel Your Site
Building conversion funnels lets you visualize the steps your users take to complete a task and how well they are succeeding or failing at each step you have designed for them. You can act on this information to improve your site and make your customer journeys more efficient. A better user experience will keep customers happier and more likely to convert.