Oct 21, 2011 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

At the Web 2.0 Summit, Google Analytics announced new flow visualization reports. These reports will come in handy to make website owners to get a better idea about the user behavior on their site. These reports will address an old issue of analyzing paths throughout a website in a scalable way.

The two new reports are:

1. Visitors Flow
This report can be found in the Visitors section of the Standard Reporting tab. This report will give webmasters a graphical representation of visitors’ flow through the site by traffic source. As a webmaster you will get to know where the visitors went, and at what point did they leave the site. You will also gather the relative volume of visits to your site as well as the volume of views per page.

GA Visitor Flow

How The Visitors Flow Report Works

Now, when you want to get a Visitors Flow Report, you have to select a dimension for the first column of the report- as in one of the “nodes”. A node can be a keyword, or a campaign or any other source of reference. For detailed data analysis, you can select multiple dimensions.

As Google says, “You’ll also notice that we made the visualization highly interactive. You can interact with the graph to highlight different pathways, and to see information about specific nodes and connections. For example, if you want to dive deeper into your “specials” set of pages, you can hover over the node to see more at a glance.”

The visitor report will give marketers an instant insight into which page are the visitors flocking too. If there is a new offer going on and people are coming on to the offer page, then the marketer gets an idea about what to do about the page. You can also-

  • See where did the visitors coming specifically from Google do on your site.
  • Get to know the data on all the visits that lead to a node.
  • Follow the visitors' path forwards or backwards to know the exact engagement of the visitors with your promotion.


2. Goal Flow
This report can be found under the the Goals subsection of Conversions, also under the Standard Reporting tab. The report provides an insight into the visitors' behavior with regards to your goal- what all did they do, and where they lost interest. It is up to you, as webmaster, to define the goal steps as per the important steps and page groups of interest to the site. At the moment, Google Analytics is offering URL goal flow reports, but soon other goal types like events will be added.

GA Goal Flow

How The Goal Report Works

The goal report helps you gather and understand the relative volume of visits to your site by the traffic source you choose. You can also know how and at what rate do the visitors abandon different pathways. Also, a goal report will give you an insight about the way visitors navigate through your goal steps. Basically how the users took to your site and interacted with it.

As Google says, “In addition, for those who want to see how visitors arrive at a page (or pages) of interest, they can select that page (or pages) and visualize “backward”. Such “reverse paths” could help site owners identify suboptimal placement of content. Similarly, “forward” paths from a page (or pages) can be visualized to understand most visited pages or to see visitor flow leakages that a site owner might be unaware of. Pages before and after the node of interest are automatically grouped based on the most common “visitor” flows, and we’re building continued improvements to help group together sensible visitor paths and page nodes.”

Google also said that you can create a new goal and check it backwards on your historical data.

To Conclude:
These reports will come in handy for all webmasters, as they can know what the users search for, and then react to the search results. For instance in the case of an ecommerce site, they will now know how shoppers go to search, then product and cart pages. Knowing this can aid in modifying the site navigation structure too. What do you think? How will these reports make a difference to your work. Do leave your comments behind.

For more on the latest changes in Google Analytics, see this.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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