Google Analytics tip: setting up your sales funnel

Last week, we reviewed how to set goals in Google Analytics, allowing you to track whether or not your visitors have completed certain tasks.

When tracking any goal, it is important to track the path users take to reach the goal. As Google puts it, this helps you analyze how well your site directs people towards your target. This is where the sales funnel comes into play.

At their most basic level, funnels use URL Destination Goals to track where visitors enter and exit your predicted path on the way to these goals. Sound complicated? It’s really not. The path in question is a series of pages that you expect your visitors to see on their way to your Destination Goal. Whether or not they actually do come across them is telling.

For example, if you see a large exit rate on the shopping cart page, and this page requires them to create an account or log in, it may be that customers simply don’t want to deal with the hassle, or have privacy concerns. Consider allowing for anonymous checkout, and you may see positive results (for more information on the benefits of anonymous checkout, see “Web tip: anonymous checkout”).

Before you can make these judgment calls, however, you’ll have to get a look at the sales funnel, so let’s dive in.

How to set up the funnel (warning: you must be an admin to set up a funnel)

  1. First, create a URL Destination Goal (for a quick how to, see original post, “Google Analytics tip: go for the gold with goal setting”)

    GA-Goal-Funnel5

  1. Select Use funnel
  2. Enter the URL for the first step in your sales funnel (without the domain name – so /thankyou.aspx, not www.company.com/thankyou)
  3. Enter an easily recognizable step Name
  4. If you’d like to make that first step ‘required,’ select Required step. This means that users entering the funnel will HAVE to see this page, and will not be counted if they follow the sequence later on without seeing this page first.
  5. Choose + Goal Funnel Step with an appropriate name and URL for each page in your sales funnel sequence
    • Your steps will only be the pages leading up to your ‘destination URL’ – remember, that part is your Goal! So, if you’d want your sales funnel to end at a thank you page, you’ll want to cut off the funnel steps at the checkout or confirmation page.
  6. Click Save

By this point, you should have done the hard work of setting up goals and funnels. That’s half the battle! But once the data rolls in, what can you learn from it? To find out, stay tuned for part III of this blog series on Google Analytics Goals + Sales Funnels, where we’ll cover how to view and interpret your Goals Report…