Annelieke's Analytics: Users Flow in Google Analytics

Don’t you ever just wonder which pages people look at after they land on your site? How do people click through your website? How do they navigate? Questions like these can be answered with the use of Google Analytics. In this post, I want to show you a very cool feature called: Users Flow.

What is a Users Flow?

Google Analytics is known for sharing loads and loads of data. In reports and in graphs. But there are some places in Google Analytics where you can find a visualization of data! Exciting! Users Flow is one of them. Let’s check Google’s definition of a Users Flow:

The Users Flow report is a graphical representation of the paths users took through your site, from the source, through the various pages, and where along their paths they exited your site.

And here’s how it looks:

Users Flow in Google Analytics

You can find the Users Flow in the Audience section when you scroll all the way down. Now, by default the starting point of the User Flow is Country. And if this demographic is important for your business, this is an interesting report. You can analyze if people from other countries have different navigation styles. Something to take into account if you have a multilingual site, for instance.

You can see the starting page, the first interaction, second and so on. The green is the number of sessions on that page, and the red is the number of drop-offs. Please note that it shows relative numbers, not absolute numbers.

The User Flow has some awesome options:

  • Selection a dimension of your choosing;
  • Adding a segment;
  • Highlighting traffic from a specific segment.

Dimensions in Users Flows

You can imagine that the reason people visit your site can differ, it can differ per source, per campaign and so on. You can analyze the intent people have with Users Flows. For instance, you can expect people that come from an organic search to have an informational search intent; they’re looking for information. People coming from social, perhaps they’re looking for amusement. And people coming from a campaign you’re running, you probably want them to convert. You can select a lot of dimensions in the Users Flow, allowing you to analyze traffic from different sources, landing pages and so on.

dropdown section of Users Flows in Google Analytics

What does the chart tell you? Do they behave like you expect/want them to behave? And if not, ask yourself how you can optimize their flow. Before you look at the chart, think about how you want them to behave first.

Adding a segment

Not only is it interesting to check how people behave from different sources and so on, but it’s also interesting if you can specify that group of people. For instance, analyzing the behavior of New visitors and then analyzing the behavior of Returning visitors.

Adding a segment for Users Flow in Google Analytics

You can also compare the visitors that converted with visitors that didn’t convert. Analyze their paths and map out the navigation. Perhaps you can optimize your navigation options?

You can think of a lot of options to analyze here; you can go totally crazy! So think about what kind of questions you want answered before going actually crazy :-)

Highlighting traffic

The Users Flow is a lot to take in. And for the ease of your own eyes, viewing just one flow can be helpful, it’ll probably help you with analyzing as well.

Viewing one segment in Users Flows in Google Analytics

You can click on every item to view the segment only or to highlight traffic. Last but not least, you can export the Users Flow to a PDF file so you can share it with someone you think will find it interesting.

Conclusion

 Using User Flows will help you understand how people navigate through your website and gives you information on how to improve your navigation. It’ll give you insights into how effective your sources and pages are. It’ll show you where people drop-off. And by specifying the Users Flow further, you can see if some sources or campaigns are more effective than others. Of course, place the information in your own context. Check what the goal is of the source of campaign or what you’d like to investigate before you draw conclusions.

Read more: Tracking your SEO with Google Analytics »

Annelieke's Analytics series


6 Responses to Annelieke’s Analytics: Users Flow in Google Analytics

  1. MetaLinkd SEO
    MetaLinkd SEO  • 5 months ago

    Great article on this feature of Google Analytics, I was unfamiliar with this feature and you explained it in a very helpful manner. Will be taking this back to share with my fellow SEO colleagues.

  2. Kabiraa
    Kabiraa  • 5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing the article. It was of much help to me and my team.

  3. Carolyn
    Carolyn  • 5 months ago

    Can you explain the difference between “relative” numbers and “actual” numbers please?

    • Annelieke van den Berg

      Thanks for the question Carolyn. Looking at it again made me realize I meant “absolute” numbers instead of “actual” numbers.

      Absolute numbers is the real-life number, the exact number. Like how much users you’ve gotten on day X.

      Relative numbers is a bit harder to explain. A relative number isn’t the exact number. It’s a number that depends on another number. It’s relative to another number. So 15k sessions is 15k of 57k sessions. But it’s not the exact number of sessions. You must see it more as in comparison with.

      Hope this makes it more clear :-)

    • Hi Tehran Hostel
      Hi Tehran Hostel  • 5 months ago

      good question, following

  4. crmnigeria
    crmnigeria  • 5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing this important article. Google Analytics is a very powerful. I feel content writer should spend more times on tools like Google Analytics than churning out articles just like I was doing on my blog.


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