A Step-By-Step Guide to Create a Funnel Analysis Report in Google Analytics 4
The funnel analysis report in Google Analytics 4 is an awesome report which anyone involved in conversion rate optimisation will find invaluable. The report can help you instantly identify areas with the greatest potential for optimisation. It allows you to automate and compare completion rates for each step in a journey by key customer segments and breakdown the report by important dimensions, such as device category. The funnel analysis report is an exponential improvement on existing goal funnel reports provided in Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics).
Google Analytics 4 offers you a powerful new funnel visualisation tool that was previously only available in GA360. This allows you to create a funnel visualisation with any kind of event, including impressions, clicks and pageviews. In addition, you can build a funnel analysis report in Google Analytics 4 to include:
- A comparison of completion rates by up to four customer segments (e.g. mobile, desktop traffic and tablet users),
- Breakdown each step in your funnel by dimensions (e.g. source of traffic),
- Elapsed time between each step of the funnel,
- Identify the next event immediately after each step in the funnel,
- Set a filter for the funnel to exclude users who could never convert (e.g. use country or region).
This allows you to immediately identify any differences in drop off rates at each step in the funnel for these important dimensions and segments. It also allows you to use filters to exclude traffic which will never convert or to create separate funnels for different markets or geographic locations.
In this blog post, I will show you how to create and fully configure a funnel analysis report in Google Analytics 4. This will ensure you fully benefit from the functionality of the Google Analytics 4 funnel analysis report.
1. Planning Events for your Funnel Analysis Report in Google Analytics 4:
To create a funnel visualisation in Google Analytics 4 you will have first need to configure GA4 events for each step in the user journey. Check out my post how to track events in GA4 using Google Tag Manager. This explains how to create most of the events you will need, including click and element visibility tags.
GA4 automatically records all pageviews under a single event name. For this reason, you may need to configure events for individual pages before creating your funnel analysis report. This can be done by setting up events in the GA4 interface as explained here.
It is also worth consider which dimensions and segments you will want to analyse your funnel report by. This is one of the most powerful elements of the funnel analysis and will save you from having to undertake custom analysis.
2. Create a New Funnel:
In GA4 go to ‘Analysis’ > ‘Analysis hub’ and select ‘Create a new funnel’.
3. Funnel Console:
You will be taken to the funnel console which has a Variables, Tab Settings and Exploration tab.
Variables tab: This is where you enter your funnel name, set the time-period, and configure segments and dimensions for use in your GA4 funnel.
Tab Settings: Is where you define the nature of the analysis, including the type of visualisation, segment comparisons and funnel breakdown. It is also where you configure the individual steps in the funnel.
Exploration tab. Here you will see the funnel visualisation and the corresponding data table of each step of the funnel you created. What you see here is determined by your settings in Tab Settings. But you can also create other analysis here using all the features of the Analysis hub.
4. Name Your Funnel:
Choose a short, but descriptive name for your funnel as this is what is displayed when someone goes to the Analysis hub.
5. Date Range:
Now set a suitable date range and if you have only recently created events in GA4 you may have to use the custom range. This allows you to set a suitable date range based upon when you first started collecting data on the funnel steps.
5. Default Funnel:
You will now be able to see a default funnel which is automatically set up when you first create a funnel in Google Analytics 4.
6. Type of Funnel Visualisation:
Google Analytics gives you two types of funnel visualisation to choose from. You can select a standard funnel which gives you a snapshot in time or a trended funnel.
The later allows you see how the funnel is changing over time which can be very useful when you make changes to the user journey. We will select the Standard funnel for this example, but you can switch between the two if you so wish.
7. Delete Default Funnel Steps:
To create a new funnel Google Analytics 4, you first need to delete the default steps in the console. Remove each of the existing steps until there are no steps remaining.
8. Create First Step in GA4 Funnel:
Select the edit icon and this will open the first step in your funnel. Give the step a short, but descriptive name as this will appear in the funnel visualisation. Click on ‘Add new condition’ and begin typing the event name. Select the event name you wish to use.
You have the option to add a parameter if you need to set conditions based upon events or dimension that are configured in GA4. You can for example set the page path as ‘/’ OR ‘about-us’ to allow users to land on different pages before proceeding to the next step in the funnel. There is also an ‘AND’ condition if you want users to comply with two conditions.
On the right-hand side of the console there is a display which shows how many users comply with any conditions you set for your funnel. Click ‘Add step’ to create a second step.
9. Create Second Step in GA Funnel:
Here I want to create a step which records if the site can deliver to the customer once they have entered details of their location. Select the event name by clicking on ‘Add new condition’ and search for the name.
I now need to set a parameter value which indicates the customer’s location is valid. Click ‘ADD PARAMETER’ and search for the parameter’s name which is related to the event being used. In this case it’s ‘delivery_response’.
Now select the parameter condition, which in this case is ‘exactly matches (=)’.
Finally, select the parameter value, which in this case is ‘accept’. This was set by getting a developer to add a data layer push to the site to record if the user’s address was valid for delivery.
GA4 allows you to set conditions so that only users who proceed directly from the previous step are shown in your funnel. This often occurs for secure, logged pages which limit navigation options.
Select ‘is indirectly followed by’ and this will give you the option to choose ‘is directly followed by’ to set this condition in your funnel.
You can also set a time limit for the period between a previous step. This may be useful if your site has strict time-out conditions for users to complete certain tasks. This is common for ticket purchases on event sites. Check the box shown below.
This will allow you to choose the appropriate time-period from seconds, minutes, hours, or days. I would avoid using days because increasingly browsers are deleting cookies after 24 hours and so it is unlikely to be a reliable metric.
If you forget a step or get the order of events wrong, click on the three dots on the right-hand side of each step. This allows you to copy, remove or add a step (above or below).
10. Continue with Remaining Steps:
The GA4 analysis funnel allows you to have up to ten steps and so you may need to plan your funnel to ensure you don’t run out of steps. Let’s hope Google increases this as ten steps is quite limiting for many sites.
Once you have created your final step in the funnel, remember to ‘Apply’ as this will save your report. If you don’t ‘Apply’ you will lose the steps you have created.
11. Set Dimensions to Refine the Funnel:
Dimensions are useful because they allow you to set filters, next steps or to breakdown your funnel by important categories. The default dimensions in the funnel analysis report are limited and so you will probably need to remove some default dimensions and add more useful ones to the report.
Click on the plus sign and search for relevant dimensions. Here I want to use city because the site only delivers to certain locations in the UK. Select the dimension and click ‘Apply’.
Continue with this process until you have added all the dimensions you need for funnel breakdown, next steps, and filters.
12. Create a Filter:
Consider using a filter to remove visitors who could never convert. In this example, I will use ‘City’ because the site won’t deliver to users outside of a certain geographic location. You may want to use country or region depending upon the nature of the site. Click and drag the City dimension into the Filter box.
Select the match type, in this case ‘exactly matches’, and then search for the expression.
Select the expression you are looking for, I’ve chosen ‘London’ for the example here and ‘Apply’. The filter is now set, and it should avoid you including users who have no chance of converting.
13. Open or Closed Funnel:
This tab setting allows you to choose between a closed and open funnel. An open funnel shows users who enter the funnel at any point rather than only following the sequential approach of a closed funnel. A closed funnel won’t include users who join the funnel after the first step, and so may give a false impression of your conversion rate if users can join it on any step. The default setting is closed.
14. Segment Comparisons:
The Funnel analysis allows you to compare up to four segments that are shown in the Segments section of the Variables tab. You can drag and drop or just double click the segments.
You may need to add the relevant segments before you can do this. Click on the ‘+’ to open the Segments interface. You will be presented with a choice between creating a custom segment or using a suggested one.
There are three types of custom segments:
User segment: Where all users meet certain criteria. For example, desktop visitors or users from specific countries.
Session segment: Where all sessions meet set criteria. For example, all sessions where users originated from an individual campaign or visited a certain page.
Event segment: Where you only include certain events. For example, all visitors who have previously made a purchase or added to basket.
In this example, I want to compare mobile users to desktop visitors. As desktop traffic is not a default segment in the Variables Tab it is necessary to create this first. Give the segment a suitable name and add a description.
Search for the condition, select the match type and the expression (desktop). You also have the option to check ‘At any point’ to include users who meet the matching condition at any point in the user journey. Now click ‘Save and Apply’ to add the segment to your funnel.
In the report, each segment is shown as a separate bar chart above the funnel and you can hover over it to display the raw data. Your segments are also shown as the second column in the funnel table and so you will see segment A followed by each parameter for your breakout dimension.
This allows you to breakdown your funnel by a single dimension (e.g. Device category). Where the dimension has more than a few possible values you can specify the number of rows per dimension. The default is 5. Click and drag the dimension you want to breakdown the funnel by as shown below.
16. Elapsed Time:
This displays the average time between each step in the user journey. It’s great for understanding how long it takes users to proceed through a user journey and often highlights how users on different devices behave.
17. Next Action:
To see what event occurs immediately after each step in the funnel you can add ‘Event name’ or ‘Screen name’ for apps to the ‘Next Action’ box. Scroll over the bar chart to see the top 5 next events.
18. Share Your Funnel:
By default, your funnel report is only available to you and so you need to share it with other users of the property if you want other people to be able to view it. Click on the icon shown below and click ‘Share’ to give read only access to other users of the GA4 property.
19. Download the Funnel:
You can download your funnel analysis report in:
- Google Sheets
- PDF (all tabs)
20. Funnel Visualisation:
You should now have a fully configured analysis funnel. This will allow you to instantly investigate each step of the user journey by defined segments and breakdown by individual dimensions. This is a huge improvement on goal funnels you may have used in Universal Analytics.
Spend time analysing each step and summarising insights that you identify. The funnel analysis report should save you from having to create many custom reports and time manipulating data to compare completion rates by important segments and dimensions.
21. Replicate Funnel Analysis Report:
You may want to replicate the funnel for different journeys or users with different needs. This can be easily done by coming out of the report and navigating to the Analysis hub. Click on the three dots as shown below and select ‘Duplicate’.
22. Don’t Navigate to Another Property When in a Funnel Report:
When you are in a funnel report, avoid changing to another property. If you navigate directly from the Analysis funnel report to another GA4 property, the funnel report will be moved to the second GA4 property. This is a bug that may be fixed by Google, but at present it can cause you problems. If this happens to you, navigate directly back to the original GA4 property.
Summary of how to create a funnel Visualisation in Google Analytics 4:
The funnel analysis report in GA4 report is one area without doubt where GA4 outshines Universal Analytics. However, it does require some planning and preparation to optimise your funnel report.
Create events in GTM, and if necessary, configure pageviews for individual pages in the GA4 interface. Consider which segments and dimensions you will need to analysis your funnel by and which might allow you to exclude visitors who could never convert.
Decide what type of funnel you want, either a standard funnel or a trended funnel. Set a time range which relates to when you began collecting your events in GA4.
The funnel analysis report allows you to create up to ten individual steps for a user journey. Remember to use parameters when you need to restrict the nature of the funnel, such as how users respond to a question. Use the indirectly or directly followed settings as needed.
If you have secure pages and strict time-out periods, you can consider setting time limits between steps. Once your steps have been saved, consider setting a filter to exclude users who could not possibly convert on the site.
Decide whether to use a closed or open funnel. If users can join the funnel at almost any step, I would strongly recommend using an open funnel.
Use the dimensions you have configured to apply up to four segments for comparison. Set a single dimension, such as device category to breakdown the funnel.
Enable the ‘Elapsed time’ to display how long it takes users to go from one step to another.
Set the ‘Next Action’ to show the event which occurs immediately after each step in the journey.
Finally, remember to share your funnel analysis with other users of the GA4 property.
- About the author: Neal (@northresearch) provides web analytics and CRO consultancy services and has worked in many sectors including financial services, online gaming and retail. He has helped brands such Hastings Direct, Manchester Airport Group Online and Assurant Inc to improve their digital marketing measurement and performance.
- Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on CXL and Usabilla.com. As an ex-market research and insight manager he also had posts published on the GreenBook Blog research website. If you wish to contact us please send an email to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter @conversionupl, see Neal’s LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.