Over the years, many clients have expressed how they would appreciate a glance into the path visitors take through their websites. In almost every case, as soon as we introduced them to the Google Analytics path analysis tool, they said thanks, but no thanks. This was mostly due to the daunting feeling that overcame them as they realized it was a lot more data than they expected. They wanted a “visualization” of the data.
And as Google indicated, this is exactly why they created the Flow Visualization tool. As Google describes the tool, it “allows you to analyze site insights graphically and instantly understand how visitors flow across pages on your site.” In addition, it can be used with advanced segments (unlike the goal funnelization report).
There are currently two types of flow visualization tools available in all Google Analytics accounts: Visitors Flow and Goal Flow.
The Behavior Flow report can be found under the Behavior section. Basically the Behavior Flow view allows website owners to graphically see the visitor’s flow through their site. This can be viewed by a particular traffic source and other main dimensions. With this report, not only can website owners see how visitors moved through the site, they can also see where visitors dropped off.
The “nodes” seen in the visualization are clustered by the use of an intelligence algorithm. By hovering over these nodes, detailed information is displayed.
For those that want to go deeper into the data, by simply drilling down into a node by “exploring the traffic” you can see additional visitor flow information.
Goal Flow is currently available for URL destination goals, but Google has indicated additional goal types will be added for goal flows in the future. The Goal Flow is available under the Goals section within Conversions.
Goal Flow, just as Behavior Flow, provides a graphical version of how visitors move through the goal steps and indicate where they drop off.
The Goal Flow is particularly helpful when there are multiple steps to the goal. With knowledge of where visitors are dropping off or reversing their steps, a focus of improving those particular pages can become a priority.