Google Analytics Analysis: Using Visitor Flow for Conversion Optimization

By admin | July 2nd, 2012

User Experience

This post is part of an ongoing series on Google Analytics tips: What to look for. Our latest edition focuses on analyzing the visitor flow report to help you optimize your site to be more “conversion friendly.”

You’re a busy brand and/or marketer, and whether a small business, medium or enterprise-level with a lot on your marketing plate, the idea of diving down the rabbit hole that is Google Analytics is probably making your stomach turn.
I hear you, loud and clear.

There is a way to balance efficiency and quality traffic analysis in Google Analytics by focusing on a few simple core measurements – The first on our list being the Visitor Flow report.

An Overview of Visitor Flow

The Visitor Flow report in Google Analytics offers visual insight into the path that visitors take while navigating your site. By path, specifically it records the source from which they entered your site, through the different pages they navigated and finally ending on where they exited your website.


Google’s visualization tool gives you the ability to filter your report by different dimensions, including traffic sources, campaigns, browser type and more. You also gain insight into the relative volume of pageviews on a page-by-page or collective basis.

The ability to segment like this is valuable for a few different reasons:

  1. You can compare volumes from different sources that share the same dimension, i.e. different marketing campaigns, to give you an initial benchmark on performance.
  2. You can zero in on a single traffic source that is outperforming the others and dig deeper into where the visitor navigates from the source (and whether their path is in alignment with your conversion goals).
  3. Further segment this traffic source to determine if specific actions were taken that might give you insights into optimizing content or design to improve conversion.


What You Can Learn From the Visitor Flow Report

Depending on the type of site you have, the Visitor Flow report in Google Analytics can tell you a lot about where your conversion priorities might need to shift.

As a basic example, if your an e-commerce site and the product pages are receiving a hefty volume of traffic, AND the visitors are naturally pathing into the ordering process but abandoning at the shopping cart stage, what might that say about your shopping cart experience?

Could it be that post “add-to-cart,” the experience for the customer takes a nosedive into the abyss?

The same idea can be applied to sites without e-commerce by analyzing heavily-trafficked paths and benchmarking that against your ideal conversion path.

For your site, a popular path might look like Home >Solutions > Solutions Detail > Request a Quote, when your preferred path is something akin to Home > Solutions > Request a Quote.

Either way, how these specific paths look on your report can indicate deficiencies in your content, your design or overall site usability that need to be audited, analyzed and addressed.

All in all, Google Analytics’ Visitor Flow report is a key core metric that can turn your conversion priorities into conversion realities.

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