[UA] About the flow visualization reports

See the steps your users take to reach the pages, Events, and Goals of your sites and apps.

A flow visualization is a graphic that a traces a route or a path, like a trail through a forest. Unlike a map, which displays possible and known routes, a flow visualization reveals the actual path as it was traveled step by step, including any detours or backtracking that happened along the way.

Flow reports in Analytics illustrate the paths users take through your content, including special elements you track using Goals and Events. In a single graphic, you can see how users enter, engage, and exit your content. You can also use these reports to troubleshoot your content by finding any unexpected place users exit or loop back.

In this article:

Types of flow reports

Analytics provides a number of specialized flow reports. These are described in brief in the table below.

Report Features
Behavior Flow

The Behavior Flow report visualizes the path users traveled from one Page or Event to the next. This report can help you discover what content keeps users engaged with your site. The Behavior Flow report can also help identify potential content issues.

The Behavior Flow report can display Pages, Content Groupings, Events, or both Pages and Events.

Goal Flow

The Goal Flow report shows the path your traffic traveled through a funnel towards a Goal conversion. This report can help you see if users are navigating your content as expected, or if there are problems, such as high drop-off rates or unexpected loops.

You must have defined Goals in your account to use the Goal Flow report. This report is even more useful if you define Funnels for your Goals.

Users Flow

The Users Flow report compares volumes of traffic from different sources, letting you examine traffic patterns through your site, This report can show you how your various marketing channels are sending you traffic. You can see how that traffic is engaging with your content and look for especially overperforming or underperforming pages or paths.

Events Flow

The Events Flow report lets you visualize the order in which users trigger Events, such as video plays, file downloads, and interacting with embedded gadgets.

If you want to also see the pages in which the Events were triggered, use the Behavior Flow report instead.

Funnel Visualization

The Funnel Visualization report gives you an overview of the selected Goal conversion funnel. Unlike the Goal Flow report, the Funnel Visualization report doesn't show the actual path taken by your users through your site or app; rather, it shows only the performance of each funnel step in terms of numbers of entrances and exits.

The Funnel Visualization report is a good first step for gauging the overall performance of your Goals. If you find excessive drop-offs in a Goal step, use the Goal Flow report for deeper analysis of the problem.

Google Play Referral Flow The Google Play Referral Flow report helps you gauge interest in your app by showing you the volume of traffic through each stage of the acquisition process.

Anatomy of a flow report

All the flow reports (except the Funnel Visualization report) use the same basic components:


Nodes are points through which traffic flows. A node can represent several things, including a single page or screen, a directory, a Content Grouping, an Event, or dimension. The user count appears on each node, giving you an immediate sense of the volume of traffic flowing through that node.

Dimension nodes are white. The dimension node determines the basic entry point into a flow, so you can compare how different marketing channels, social media, technology dimensions, or other entry points affect your user flow.

Flow Visualization Primary Dimension
Dimension node

Page, Content Grouping, and Goal nodes and app screens are green:

Flow Visualization Page node
Page or Content Grouping node
Flow Visualization Goal Node
Goal node

Event nodes are blue:

Flow Visualization Event Node
Event node

Connections, drop-offs, and loop-backs

Connections are shown as gray bands flowing between nodes. Connections represent the path a segment of traffic takes from one node to another. The thickness of the connection indicates the relative volume of traffic in that segment: the thicker the band, the more traffic flowed through that connection.

Sometimes these paths loop back or around nodes in unexpected ways. Loop-backs appear as a connection with an arrow pointing towards the previous node.

Drop-offs (also called exits) indicate where users left the flow.

Flow Visualization Connections
Connections, drop-off, and loop-back

Good uses for flow reports

Each flow report shows you specific data for that area of Analytics, but all reports can show you:

  • The relative volume of traffic to your site by the dimension you choose (e.g., traffic source, campaign, browser)
  • The relative volume of users in at each step (node) in the path
  • The relative volume of traffic and the rate of abandonment between steps (exits)
  • Where users backtracked along the path
  • Specific metrics for connections, nodes, and node exits when you hover over them

Limits of flow reports

Session limits

Flow reports cannot display data for more than 100,000 sessions. If you have more than 100,000 sessions in the data set, the sampled data appears in the flow reports. Adjust the date range to reduce the number of sessions in the report.

Segment limits

Flow reports support only session-based segments. User-based segments are disabled for flow reports. You can apply only a single segment to a flow report.

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