January 13, 2020

Mapping Conversion Funnel Drop-Offs

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency


How well-optimized your conversion funnel is can have a huge effect on your bottom line, which is why it’s important to pay close attention to how your customers move down your conversion funnel and continuously make efforts to improve it.

But this optimization process never really ends. Even if you think you’ve got it right, you should never stop analyzing and fine-tuning your conversion funnel.

What is a Conversion Funnel?

In case you didn’t already know, a conversion funnel is a way that we can visualize the series of ‘steps’ that our sales leads must take in order to ‘convert’. Convert, in this sense, usually means to make a purchase. 

“Customers come into your site through the top of the funnel and convert at the narrow point at the bottom. Your job as a marketer is to guide them towards that narrow point, but, each step of the way, the customer can ‘drop off’, i.e. click away.

Michael Jenkins

To get from there to the purchase page, they might first have to first click through to your product catalog, then from there onto a specific product page. After that, they might have to pass through a series of sign-in pages, payment pages, and confirmation pages before they eventually make a purchase.

Each of these pages represents a step further down the funnel. A drop-off point is the step where the customer gives up and abandons their shopping cart

Why Drop-Offs are Important

Drop-offs help us to identify ‘problem pages’, which are also sometimes called exit pages. If a specific page has a high number of drop-offs, it tells us that some feature of that page is causing customers to click away. 

It might be that the page asks them to put in too much information, features an outbound link that directs them elsewhere, gives them some additional information that makes them question their purchase and decide against it, has a technical issue, or something else entirely.

It’s important to find these problem pages and fix them. Otherwise, you may be losing sales leads needlessly. If you can decrease your drop-off rates across all the steps in your sales funnel, you’ll get more conversions and ultimately boost profits.

How To Set Up Goal Funnels on Google Analytics

An easy way to map drop-offs is by using a feature of Google Analytics called ‘goal funnels’. Goal funnels allow you to track how users move from page to page, including how many drop off at each step. Here’s how to set it up

Step 1: Create a New Goal

Assuming you’ve already set up and verified your domain with Google Analytics, the first step is to set up a goal funnel. To do so, navigate to ‘Admin’, then click ‘Views’, ‘Goals’, and ‘New Goal’ in that order.

Next, you can use the goal templates or create a brand new custom goals. The goal you set should represent the bottom of your funnel. 

If you’re trying to track visitors that reach your payment confirmation page, click the ‘Make a payment’ template. 

Give the goal a memorable name and then choose ‘Destination’ as the goal type.

Step 2: Set each step of the funnel 

Next, we need to define each step of the funnel by entering the URL of each page. Start by toggling the Funnel switch to ‘on’, then add each web page that your visitors have to pass through to reach your goal (in this example, your product purchase page.)

You don’t have to add the full URL each time, just the unique part. You should also give each step an appropriate name. 

If your customers need to complete any of the steps in the funnel to complete the goal that you’ve set, toggle the yes/no switch under ‘Required?’ to the ‘yes’ position. 

Step 3: Click ‘verify goals’

Once you’re finished, just click ‘Verify goals’ to make sure everything is working correctly. After that, you’re done – you’ve successfully created a goal funnel!

Using Your Funnel Visualizations to Identify Drop-Off Points

After a few days or so, when Analytics has had the chance to gather some data, you can check out your funnel visualizations to map and identify drop off points. Just click ‘Reporting’, ‘Conversions’, and then ‘Funnel Visualization’

You should see a screen that looks something like this.

The red part of the bar shows you how many of your users are exiting on each page at a glance. In the above example, a lot of customers are dropping out between the Cart page and the Billing page, so there is clearly an issue here. 

The box to the right tells us how those users dropped off. In this example, most of them just exited the site, but 178 moved to the sign-in page.

As you can see, this is pretty much all the information you need to identify drop-offs. The hard part is what comes next, i.e. figuring out how to use that information to optimize your sales funnel. We’ll leave that topic for another article.

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      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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