The Importance of Goal Funnels and How to Establish Them

Data Analytics

Goals are critical to track Google Analytics in order to determine the success of your inbound marketing channels, landing pages, and website as a whole. However, simply monitoring goal conversions and conversion rates does not paint the complete picture of user behavior leading up to conversion.

Whether you run an e-commerce site or use your site to collect contact information from lead forms, setting up Goal Funnels is the key to monitoring and optimizing user experience from site entry to conversion.

Why the conversion funnel is important

Let’s say you run an e-commerce site. You most likely have several steps you need your visitors to take in order to complete a goal conversion. Your users enter the site via the homepage and must go through the following:

  • Category page
  • Product page
  • Shopping cart page
  • Checkout page
  • Review order page

All of these steps create your conversion funnel, leading up to your conversion thank you page.

Now, let’s say your site has a conversion rate of x%, and you would like to know how to improve that rate. Setting up your conversion funnel can help you uncover if there are any pages along the path impeding users from converting. Perhaps the product or category pages are too cluttered. Maybe your shopping cart is poorly designed or difficult to use.

The funnel will show you the precise pain points that may be killing your conversion rate, and can perhaps inform you of more effective pathway possibilities. Things to look for include:

  • What pages in the funnel are causing confusion or may be lacking information? Are product pages detailed enough? Are users going to other parts of your site to find more information?
  • Is your copy compelling enough? Do calls to action convince the user to move forward to conversion, or does weak copy fail to inspire consumer confidence?
  • Is your shopping cart or ecommerce platform easy to use, or is it slow and faulty? Perhaps there are too many fields in your form submissions?

Once data starts flowing through your funnel, you will see precisely where users are dropping off, and can now take effective action to eliminate that pain point.

A guide to creating goal funnels

Setting up goal funnels is a quick multi-step process. If you haven’t already established goal tracking for your site, let’s first look at an example using a lead form for a digital marketing agency.

1.Under the Admin tab of Google Analytics, select Goals under your desired view, and click New Goal. For this example we will create a Custom goal, using destination as the Type.

2. Select your lead form completion confirmation page as the destination (i.e. /thank-you.html).

3. Now you’ll have the option of creating a funnel for your goal. Let’s say this goal is for inquiries into SEO services. There are four steps that you’d like users to take to get to the lead form conversion. Add each as a step in the conversion funnel.

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4. Check “Required” for the first step of the funnel so only users who start at this point are considered in the funnel process. Then hit Save.

Once your goal funnel has collected enough data, utilize the funnel visualization report to determine the strongest and weakest links in your funnel.

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The visualization will show you step-by-step drop-offs and where users go once they drop off, whether clicking to a different page outside the funnel or leaving the site entirely. Then you can adjust your funnel accordingly.
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If you’re having difficulty determining your funnel in the first place, the Reverse Goal Path report is a great place to start. This shows every path users have taken to goal completion, identifying which paths have historically worked the best.

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Goal conversions are critical to site success, so don’t be blind to how users are traversing your site to get to that conversion. The Goal Conversion Funnel helps you paint the complete picture.

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