About Flow Reports
What’s a Flow Report?
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 Google Analytics illustrate the paths visitors take through your content, including special elements you track using Goals and Events. In a single graphic, you can see how visitors enter, engage, and exit your content. You can also use these reports to troubleshoot your content by finding any unexpected place visitors exit or loop back.
The anatomy of a Flow Report
Flow Reports appear in different sections of Google Analytics, but the graphics all use the same components:
Nodes are points through which traffic flows. A node can represent several things, including a single page or screen, a directory, an Event, or Dimension. The visitor count appears on each node, giving you an immediate sense of the volume of traffic flowing through that node.
Connections represent the path a segment of traffic takes from one node to another. Sometimes paths loop back or around nodes in unexpected ways, and you can see that in the connection.
Exits indicate where visitors left the flow.
Good uses for Flow Reports
Each Flow Report shows you specific data for that area of Google Analytics, but all reports can show you:
- The relative volume of visits to your site by the dimension you choose (e.g., traffic source, campaign, browser)
- The relative volume of visitors in at each step (node) in the path
- The relative volume of traffic and the rate of abandonment between steps (exits)
- Where visitors backtracked along the path
- Specific metrics for connections, nodes, and node exits when you hover over them
All Flow Reports differ slightly from each other, and some have prerequisites for use. The Goal Flow Report, for example, requires you have defined Goals in your account and is even more useful if you define Funnels for your Goals.
Read Using Flow Reports to learn how to set up and use the Flow Reports controls. Consult the individual articles and videos on each Flow Report for more detailed information.