Goals: Funnel Visualization - to optimize your conversion funnels
Next up in the Google Analytics Power User series we will review path analysis using Google Analytics' Funnel Visualization Report. When you went through the process of configuring the goals for your website you had the option of setting up or defining a funnel for your goals. Funnels are most applicable to goals that have a well defined path that a visitor will follow prior to completing the goal. Examples of this would be the shopping cart of an ecommerce site, or the steps in a web form prior to submitting it, or an online reservation system... Not all goals can or should have a funnel.
On our blog one of our goals is to have people follow our RSS feed by clicking on the RSS icon. This icon is on every page in the blog and it doesn't have any clearly defined path that a visitor would take to complete the goal. So as a result it doesn't have a funnel set up for it.
Another one of our goals for our blog does have a defined funnel path and has been configured with a funnel. This goal is our "comment added" goal. To add a comment to our blog you must first click the "add comment" link. Once you have clicked this link you are taken to a new page where you then enter you comment and click "post".
The funnel visualization report empowers with the knowledge how your funnel is performing. i.e. where is it leaking. When you know where it is leaking you can dive into to the pages that are performing poorly so as to try and determine the problem and to fix it. These problems could be as result of technical issues, or be usability based... Your goal is to have as many people as possible who enter your funnel exit it by successfully completing your goal, and the Funnel Visualization Report will be key in the process.
In the case of our "comment added" goal our funnel illustrates how many people clicked "add comment" and then how many actually clicked "post". This report has helped us identify a technical issue that our blog was having that was preventing people from submitting comments. Our expectation is that with this issue fixed we will see a higher funnel conversion rate and have happier commenter's.
In most reports I highly recommend that you dive in to the data further by using Google Analytics Advanced Segmentation capabilities, but in our case this feature is not available. In addition to not being able to use the Advanced segmentation feature, the Funnel Visualization Report has a few other limitations as well, such as, you can't use the compare date feature with the funnel.
Even with the few limitations that exist for this report it is still one of the top reports you should be looking at on a regular basis, as you spend a lot of time and money to get people excited enough to enter your funnel, and now is not the time to lose them.