Many marketers and small business owners want to know the path their users are taking to eventually convert or make a purchase. By understanding the flow your users take through your website, you can identify where you’re losing customers and make changes to help take users to the next step in the process. For example, perhaps the page that users exit from doesn’t have a clear call to action, or you might be able to write some content that can encourage users to move to the next page in the process. With the help of Google Analytics, you can follow your customers' path to purchase and learn where your customers are dropping off. Below are three flow reports that every marketer and business owner should be aware of: Google Analytics and the customer's path to purchase

Behavior Flow: Behavior ---> Behavior Flow

The behavior flow report helps you visualize the path users traveled through your website, starting with the page they entered on or after they trigger an event. Using this report, you can identify where users are dropping off the website, which can be valuable in diagnosing content issues. If you see that a lot of users are dropping off at one certain page, but not others, there is likely a problem with the content.  If you see that users are watching a video (event) and then exiting, perhaps the video is somehow dissuading customers from taking the next step in the conversion process. I find this report most useful for identifying high converting pages and identifying where visitors exit from. If I notice that a key landing page is losing a lot of visitors, I will aim to write better content that is similar to pages that convert users at a higher rate. Or if I notice lots of leads went to the next page of the site after watching a webinar, then I know that form of content helped guide the user through the website.

Goal Flow: Conversions --> Goals -->Goal Flow

The goal flow shows how your visitors traveled through a funnel towards a conversion or purchase. This report can help you identify if your visitors are navigating your content as expected, or if there are problems along the way. Potential red flags in the goal flow include high drop-off rates after a step, or unexpected loops that hinder the conversion/purchase process. I find this report exceptionally useful at identifying which pages take users to the next step in the conversion funnel. If I notice a few pages do it exceptionally well, I’ll aim to create content on the earlier entrance pages to take users to that middle page before conversion. There might be things we can do to those earlier pages to assist with getting users into the conversion funnel as well.

Funnel Visualization: Conversion --> Goals --> Funnel Visualization

The funnel visualization is key to determining where you’re losing customers in the conversion process. It doesn’t show the path users are taking, but rather gives a high level picture of what percentage move through the steps in the conversion process. You might notice 14 people getting to a shipping page, but only 10 proceeding to payment and only 5 ending up on the order confirmation page. I find this report most useful at identifying problem areas in the conversion process. Sometimes, you see a lot of visitors get to an order form, yet they don’t go to the next step for picking shipping and payment options. Perhaps there’s something we can do to relieve any pre-purchase anxieties, such as offering a 30 day guarantee. Or perhaps you notice that users are getting to the payment page, but many are dropping off before getting to the thank you/order success page. There might be a technical issue that is causing you to lose customers, such as an issue with picking shipping options. We often see a discrepancy between users that get to an order page and those that actually purchase, and this report can really help you identify where you’re losing users. The above three reports will help you better understand the way users navigate your website from first discovery to purchase. The first step to converting users better is understanding where you’re losing them, and the above three funnels will help you visualize your drop-off points so that you can course-correct from there. Google Analytics can also help you