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The only good funnel reports in Google Analytics (in my opinion) were related to the Enhanced Ecommerce (I am talking about the Shopping and Checkout behavior). The others were meh.
With the rise of GA4, Google attempts to fix this issue by providing a Funnel analysis report. It allows you to build funnel reports on-the-fly (as long as you have been already collecting events for a while).
Want to see how many visitors go from viewing a product to the purchase? Done. Want to include/remove a certain step in the funnel? No problem. This sounds like the bare minimum a funnel report should have but this was a headache in Universal Analytics.
In this blog post, I will show you how to use Funnel Analysis report in Google Analytics 4. You will learn:
Ready? Let’s roll.
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To get started, log in to your Google Analytics 4 property click Analysis > Analysis Hub (on the left sidebar). Then select Funnel Analysis (or Blank). If you choose Funnel Analysis, you will see a sample report with some configuration. And with Blank, well, you’ll get a blank piece of paper to start from scratch and you will have to create a new tab with Funnel Analysis type.
The interface in the Analysis hub is split into 3 main parts/columns:
Let’s take a closer look at each part.
This has nothing to do with Google Tag Manager’s variables. The Variables section in the GA4 Exploration reports is the place where you select data that you plan to use in a report:
Also, you can change the name of the analysis in the top-left corner of the interface.
To select a different date range, click the date in the top-left corner (below the analysis name) and select whatever you need (like “last 7 days”, “Last 30 days”, etc.).
Note: Metrics are disabled as variables in the Funnel Analysis of Google Analytics 4. The report always shows the number of users (and some related calculated metrics).
If you want to compare how different groups of your users/visitors are behaving, you should include those segments in the Segments section first (I will later show how to add them to the actual report).
You can choose from several segments that are already included or you can add your own. You can do that by clicking the plus icon:
Then you can either create a custom segment or select a suggested one.
Speaking of custom segments, there are 3 types:
Dimensions in Google Analytics are parameters/attributes of an event, product, transaction, user, etc. Basically, they are attributes that describe something. For example:
Here’s the catch in the Analysis hub. If you want to use a dimension in Funnel analysis within that report, you have to include the dimension in the Variables column first. You can do that by clicking the Plus icon and then selecting what you need.
After you select the needed metric/dimension, click Apply button in the top-right corner.
To sum up, the Variables column is responsible for the data input. If you want to use some segments/dimensions, they must be included in that column. If you are missing something later down the line, you can add new items on-the-fly. Also, you can change the date range (which, obviously, also affects the scope of data input).
In this column, you can configure what the report will look like. First, there is a Technique drop-down menu (where you can select from things like Exploration, Funnel Analysis, etc.). In this blog post, I focus only on the Funnel Analysis part.
Let me take you through different options of the Tab Settings.
There are two options here:
Standard Funnel is the one that you are probably most used to. It is a bar chart that shows how many people completed each step, what is the drop-off.
But it is difficult to understand how the funnel is performing over time. That’s why the second option (Trended Funnel) becomes very handy.
Each funnel step gets its own line in the line chart and you can see how they changed over time. If you click on a certain line in the chart, it will stay highlighted. Also, if you want to see only one particular line, then there are tabs above the chart that you can click. There’s one tab for each funnel step.
By default, Funnels in Google Analytics 4 are closed. This means that if a visitor enters the funnel at the 2nd (or further) step, he/she will not be counted in a funnel.
But if it’s ok for you if a visitor/user enters the funnel *at any step*, then you can click the Make open funnel toggle to allow that. I explain more about how this works in this chapter.
In the Segment comparisons section, you can include up to 4 segments that are already included in the Segments section of the Variables tab.
You can add segments to the Tab Settings column by dragging them from the Variables tab. Also, you can just do double-click in the Variables tab and they will be added automatically.
Let’s say that I want to compare how the US (users from the United States) segment is performing against the Non-US segment. The US segment is available in the analysis by default but we will have to configure the Non-US segment ourselves.
First, double-click the US segment and it will be automatically added to the comparison section.
In the Segments section of the Variables tab, click the Plus icon.
Then enter the following conditions:
This new segment will be automatically added to the Segment comparisons section. We are now going a bit ahead of ourselves (because we haven’t configured our funnel yet), but here is what the segment comparison will look like.
Each segment will get its own bar (or line) in the funnel chart. Also, the breakdown table below the chart will show nested values.
Here, it’s more convenient to use the standard funnel report for segment comparison (because you can hover on a bar in the chart of a particular segment and that entire segment will be highlighted).
As for trended funnels, each step gets an individual line in the chart. Compare 2 segments and the number of lines doubles. If you have 4 funnel steps and compare 3 segments, that will be 12 lines in a single chart, which can make things noisy and difficult to digest.
We have reached the main part of the funnel analysis report in Google Analytics 4, funnel steps. If you already have some steps predefined there, you can delete them one-by-one by clicking the X next to each step. If you want to add/edit steps, click the Pencil icon.
This will open a funnel editing interface.
In each step, you can enter the label/name of it. It does not affect the data. Then, you can configure step conditions.
Click Add new condition and select from dimensions that are by default available or are registered as custom definitions in your property. It’s convenient to use the search feature.
Once you correctly enter the condition, you can include additional ones (connected with AND and OR) in the same step.
Also, if you try to use some parameter that is not registered as a custom dimension, you will see the (register) label next to it. Click that parameter and you will be prompted to create it on the go.
If you want to delete a particular condition, hover your mouse on the right side of that condition to see the Delete icon.
Each step also has several additional options in the top-right corner:
To add another funnel step, click Add step below.
Here you will see most of the settings that were also visible in the first step. However, some new things might tickle your curiosity.
Once you have configured funnel steps, click Apply in the top-right corner.
Below the funnel chart, you can see the data breakdown by a single dimension. For example, if you want to see how the funnel is completed with different devices, just add the Device Category.
If the dimension has more than several possible values you can select how many rows per dimension do you want to display (the default is 5).
If you want to see how much time (on average) do your users/visitors need to advance from one step to another, enable the Show Elapsed Time.
Want to see other events that a visitor does after a particular step? Drag the Event name dimension to the Next action section. Then you can hover your mouse over any bar in the chart and you will see a popup that shows the next 5 most popular events that a visitor did immediately after this step.
Note: Next action filter accepts only one of two dimensions: event name and screen name.
Here’s a thing that I’ve noticed (but I don’t know if this will always be like that). In the screenshot above, you see 5 top events. One of them is scroll (which is pretty obvious and does not provide a lot of value here. How about we exclude it from the report? I tried using Filters in the report (to exclude Event Name “scroll”) but that did not work.
However, here’s a workaround that I worked well – create an event segment where you exclude all unwanted events. These events will not be displayed in the Top 5 Next Actions section.
Here are the settings of that segment:
Add this segment to the report and your “Top 5 Next Actions” might become a bit more valuable.
If you want to narrow down the data that is used in the funnel analysis report, you can use filters. Here is an example:
Now, you want to see the funnel only of a particular landing page. That way, you could use a Page Path dimension in the Filters section, for example: Page Path contains /pages/landing-page-1.
Just make sure, that this dimension is included in the Dimensions section of the Variables column first.
When the report is generated, you can interact with it and dig deeper.
If the difference between some steps is too large (for example, step 1 contains 5000 users and step 2 contains 150), you can zoom in. Click the Plus icon in the corner of the bar chart. Also, you can hover your mouse over the chart and scroll up/down to adjust.
If you do the right-click on any bar in the chart, you can create a segment from those users or you can view them in the User Explorer report.
You can also do the right click on the abandonments in the chart (but only certain parts of that are clickable. The red arrow (as of the moment of writing this blog post) is not clickable. But if you click the number below it, you’ll see some options.
Another clickable thing is cells in the table below the funnel chart. Here you can create segments and view users/abandonments.
Note: you cannot create segments via right-click if your funnel is set as an Open Funnel.
Let’s take a look at one funnel example. Thanks to it, we will see how many people saw at least one product (on the product page), then how many of them have added at least one product to a cart, and finally, how many of those did make a purchase.
For this report to work, you should have Ecommerce tracking implemented in your GA4 property. If you don’t have it yet (but just want to play around with the report), you can do the same thing in the GA4 demo property.
Here is the configuration of the funnel analysis report.
All other settings remain unchanged. Here is how the tab settings look after everything is configured.
As I have mentioned before, your funnels in Google Analytics 4 can be open or closed. A closed funnel (this is the default option) means that a visitor can enter the funnel only in the first step. He/she cannot enter the funnel in any other step.
On the other side, open funnels allow visitors/users to enter the funnel at any step (not just the first one).
The dropoffs in the funnel analysis report are counted when a visitor does not proceed to another step. If a visitor/user enter the funnel in the 1st step, then skips the 2nd step, and then completes the 3rd funnel step, that last step will not be counted and the drop-off will be seen after the 1st step.
Visitors/users cannot skip funnel steps in Google Analytics 4.
To make things a bit easier to understand, I have prepared a visual example. These situations were taken from Google’s documentation and I visualized (thus hopefully made things clearer).
Google Analytics 4 property has tracked 4 users. And I have configured a funnel that consists of 3 steps. In the table below, you will see how each user completed the steps.
Now, let’s take a look at how Google Analytics 4 will treat these actions when it comes to funnel analysis. Which steps will be counted?
First, let’s start with the open funnel. The green checkmark shows which step will be counted in the funnel analysis report. Red X shows which one will not.
The reason we have so many green checkmarks is that this is an open funnel. Visitors/users can enter the funnel at any step.
The reason why User 3’s Step C was not counted is that the user skipped step B. In GA4 funnel analysis, funnel steps cannot be skipped.
If we visualize this funnel with my poor design skills, it would look like this (also, I’ve labeled which user is counted where):
Those who enter the funnel at a later step are displayed in a separate rectangle added on top of the existing bar in the chart.
Now, let’s take a look at the closed funnel. The users and how they completed funnel steps are the same as it was with the open funnel but the funnel report is different
Visually, it would look like this:
Some of the following tips were already mentioned in this guide but I just wanted to quickly remind you about them.
Hopefully, this guide helped you to get started with this feature in the GA4 Analysis Hub. Here are the key takeaways: