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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
Funnels are an optional part of configuring goals that can help us identify bottlenecks and multi-step processes and thus provide insight to where we are losing our customers in that process. Let's go ahead and walk through an example of what a Funnel report might look like. If you click down here to our Goals tab and click on Funnel Visualization, we are going to see something like this. Okay, in this case I have set up a funnel and it's going to walk us through a typical shopping cart example. In this case, we view one of the Product Category pages. I then want people to go on and actually view the individual product page, put that product in a shopping cart, and complete the order.
524 went out of the homepage, some went to the software page, et cetera. So the 6800, 69% of those went down to the next step. Not everybody follows the steps that I laid out. In fact, 3300 people came directly into the product page without going to the category page first. Another 612 came from the homepage, et cetera. Okay, of these 8600 people only 8% went on down into the shopping cart. Only 8% added that item to it. The other 8000 people went somewhere else.
5000 of them here left the site completely. They saw my page. They weren't interested. They went somewhere else. 1100 of them saw something called pop-ups view. Now what could this be? What this actually is is a pop-up of an enlarged view of the product, which is not necessarily a bad thing, right. I don't want you to think of abandonment points. Abandonment sounds so bad, but not necessarily. We need to think about this in context of what people are actually doing and figure if it's really as bad of a thing as we think. In this case viewing an enlarged version of the product is not necessarily a bad thing at all, and in fact, that's why we see over here that the popups/view was one of the entrances into the page.
These are people who already have an account with us. These are returning customers, our bread and butter. That's completely fine. We have some folks who want to view another pop-up. Maybe they needed to make sure this was the product they thought it was when it's in the cart. We also have some over here on the entrance side that enter this site via the shopping cart. And how could that happen? Well, one of the most common ways is because what we are really looking at here are visits. Now a visit expires 30 minutes after your last click. So if I were looking at a particular product pondering it over, maybe I decided to go to lunch, maybe I needed to think about it, sleep on it, if I came back to that page and clicked Add to Cart, then the first page of my new visit would be the shopping cart, and so that would be an entrance to the site via the shopping cart.
So if your exits on this side were matched by an equal number of entrances on this side, you would be fine, and unfortunately, that's not the case here. And the last one we see here is the completed order. 103 people actually made it all the way through the funnel, 1.19%. Of course, we don't see entrances to the Thank You page because you cannot get to the Thank You page without first going through the shopping cart. Okay, we have seen what a funnel visualization looks like, but let's go ahead and look at how we would actually set this up. Okay, remember we said that a funnel was an optional step of a goal, so we go ahead and add a goal.
In this case, the goal was to get to the thank you page. Funnels appear on URL Destination goals. So we select that radio button and then we get all these options down here. Now remember the first step in filling out any type of goals, whether you are using a funnel or not, is to go all the way through the process. So we have done that here. We went through each step and we copied down the URL of the page that we saw there. Now remember, we don't need domains in this case. We just need the Request URI. So the first step was to view a category page. We will go ahead and copy that over here.
In order to create the goal funnel, we need to click on this down here to create the goal funnel, and it's going to give us some places to put the optional steps. So the URL for the first up is this. Now remember, we said this was going to be a head match. We are only going to match category page. We don't care about the particular category here, so we are going to drop that off, and all we want to do is make sure that the page starts with category.asp. And this first one was View Category Page. We go back to our list. We grab the second step, View Product Page.
I am going to copy that over and again, let's just go ahead and only that Head Match part. I don't care which particular product it is, so I am not going to copy the ID. I just want to make sure it starts with product.asp. And click to Add a Goal Funnel. Paste that in. Third step. Now the last step is actually not a step in the funnel. It's the goal itself. So when we copy this one over, we are going to paste it up here as our Goal URL.
It's not going to be step four, but it's actually going to be the goal step. Enter any Goal Value we may like, click Save Goal, and the goal has been saved. Now if we go here to the View Reports, down to the Goals menu, click Funnel Visualization, select the goal, we just created the Thank You Page, and we will see that that funnel is prepared and ready for once some visitors come through. Now remember, this is only going to complete and populate from this point on. It's not going to look back and look into your historical data.
It's only from the moment you create the goal forward. In this shopping cart example we have been looking at, we saw a huge drop between steps two and three. But we can use these reports to find these types of bottlenecks in more than just shopping carts. For many, many sites forms are one of the most critical parts of a page, because they're that last final frontier between our visitors taking that next step. Someone filling out a form is just a button click away from being on the customer path, and we are going to do everything we can not to derail them. One important thing to determine is are there areas of our form that are causing them to abandon.
Here we see a big dropoff, but it's not entirely clear why. Something in this form is causing a problem. So one option is a multi-step form to identify these problematic areas. We take the same form and break it up into a few different steps. What we see here is that there is a particular part of the form here that is causing a massive bottleneck. Now at this point as site owners we have an important decision to make. How critical is this particular data? Is it just nice to have or is it really necessary? As marketers, we all want as much data as we can get, and some people are not willing to give up that part of the form.
Now my job as a consultant here is not to tell you how to run your business and say keep it or don't. My job is to show you the data and show you exactly what the consequences will be of your decision. In this case, if you continue to ask that question, you can expect to lose 90% of the people who have already begun the process of filling out the form, so give some thought to asking for information which is not absolutely required. Generally speaking, the more questions we ask to people, the fewer of them that are actually going to give it to us. We also need to understand a key feature about funnels. The options to denote the first step of your funnel as required.
As you are setting up the funnel, you can select whether you want that first up as required in order for that visit to be tracked as part of this funnel. Now this is useful if you are interested in analyzing only, say, the checkouts from a particular page selling mittens. If you don't make the first step required, people can enter your funnel from step 2, 3 and so on, as seen here. However, if you do make that first step required, we could see how our numbers will change. Now the funnel is only tracking people who started with my required first step. Google Analytics is just a tool, and we can use the tool in some creative ways to find buried insights.
For example, one thing that can stop people from successfully completing a form is when they get an error, especially if that error isn't too user-friendly. So one question we often have is do people just quit there, do they keep trying, how many of those actually make? It turns out this is really easy to answer. Now rather than making a funnel for the whole form, we are just going to make a special one with two steps. So first we set up a goal here to complete the Contact page. In our case here, the goal is FormComplete.html. That part is exactly the same. Nothing new here. However, we are going to create required first step of hitting that particular error page.
In other words, I'm only interested in analyzing the people who hit the error page. The goal remains exactly the same, but the steps in the form are going to be different, in this case just that one single step. Now what this funnel is going to do is show us exactly how many people who experience this error page were able to go on and submit the goal. And the form is going to look something like this. These are all the people who hit the form error page and these are all the people who actually made it down to the submission. In our case, just 10% of the people. Now these are people who are trying to be our customer, but our user-unfriendly form just won't let them.
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