Analyze your data with the Visitors Flow

You can use Visitors Flow to compare volumes of traffic from different sources, examine traffic patterns through your site, and troubleshoot the efficacy of your site.

This article covers:

Traffic Volume and Marketing Channels

You can compare relative volumes of traffic from different sources within the same dimension, for example, the traffic from different search engines, campaigns, or mediums. Overall comparisons let you make some initial determinations about which channels are most effective, which ones offer the best return on investment.

For example, if one campaign is delivering a lot more traffic than another, you can shift resources to making that campaign even more visible; or if one medium, like email or cpc, is outperforming the others, you can invest more heavily in that medium.

If you do find that one source is outperforming the others in terms of traffic volume, you can then examine that traffic more closely by viewing just that one segment. Click the source node in the first column, then click View only this segment.

With just that traffic visible, you can see whether those users are following the paths through your site that you want them to, whether they’re reaching your goal screens in sufficient numbers, and where they’re leaving your site.

In addition to viewing just traffic from a particular source, you can further refine your view by applying an advanced segment. For example, if you’re viewing traffic from a particular country, you can segment by users who completed a specific goal or who spent over a certain dollar amount. By combining these options, you can focus on a very specific element of your audience.

Engagement

Depending on the purpose of your site, you may want to know how many pages users traversed after the initial page. Did they go right from product pages to checkout without any additional shopping? Did they read articles in U.S. and World News, but not any in Politics or Entertainment?

Start by determining the minimum engagement you want to see from users. Visitors Flow shows the first three interactions by default, and currently supports up to eight. Add as many steps as necessary to meet your minimum requirement. Once you have added the requisite number of steps, you can then use the Highlight traffic through here option for each node in the first column to see whether traffic from that source reached as far as your minimum engagement threshold (for example, four or five interactions).

In addition to seeing the level of engagement, you can see the extent to which traffic diminished as users progressed through your site. If users aren’t progressing as far as you had hoped, or if traffic is dropping off at a faster rate than you had hoped, you can consider reworking your site navigation or graphic design to allow for easier movement between pages, adding additional calls to action like teasers for related articles or products, or reworking your site content to better address the interests of your audience.

Content

Visitors Flow lets you examine a number of content-related issues.

A/B Testing

If you’re testing different versions of a web page, and each version has its own URL, you can see which of them better serves purposes like encouraging site engagement, or funneling traffic on to a goal page.

Browser and Screen Resolution

Use Browser or Screen Resolution as the dimension so you can see whether traffic is distributed among browsers or screen resolutions as you expect, and to see whether there are any pages that experience an unusual drop-off with a particular browser or screen resolution. If you notice a significant drop-off from a page, it might not be rendering properly in that browser or at that resolution. For example, your page may not render correctly on a mobile browser or at a smaller resolution, causing links or buttons to be unavailable or not easily seen.

Path Analysis

Are there paths through your site that are more popular than others, and if so, are those the paths you want traffic to follow? You may have a path in mind for your users like Home Page > Product Page > Shopping Cart > Checkout, but you may uncover a more popular path like Home > Product > Search > Search Results > Search > Search Results > exit. That unexpected path can indicate things like users not finding products they want, or your internal search not returning results that are helpful.

You might also discover something like an unusually high drop-off from a new page you've introduced, like a new home page or new product page. Investigate whether the design of the new page might be obscuring the links or controls that lets traffic flow to the pages you want them to see next.