Using the Users Flow report in Google Analytics

One of the most helpful pieces of information you can glean from your website is knowing where users have come from and where they go once they’ve landed on a particular page. While you can use the Source/Medium report to see how users first accessed your site, the Users Flow report presents the path users take on your site or through a specific page. And unlike the Source/Medium report, the information is presented through a handy diagram.

What is the Users Flow report?

The Users Flow report is a graphical representation of the paths users take through your site, from the source, through the various pages, and where along their paths they exited your site.

What can you find out from the Users Flow report?

The Users Flow report allows you to:

  • compare traffic from different sources
  • examine traffic patterns through specific sections of your site
  • see specific metrics (such as number of sessions) for connections and paths between pages in the user flow graph
  • measure A/B testing results
  • troubleshoot the efficacy of your site.

What this means is you’ll be able to see if there are any specific pages where users are leaving your site. Once these pages have been recognised and then altered with more appropriate or engaging content, you can go back to the Users Flow report to check if the number of drop-offs has reduced.

Are there any limitations to Users Flow report?

Yes. The main limitation is that the Users Flow report is based on a data sample, not the complete range of data Google Analytics has access to. This means that when you’re viewing the Users Flow report, the results in your report are only based on a small percentage of the data available. You’re being presented with the trends visible to Google in that sample of data, which as a result means that the data is not 100% accurate.

Another limitation is that if you are wanting to see the typical user path to and from one specific page, you will sometimes be unable to see anything at all in your report. This is because there is too little data in the first place to take a sample from to analyse and present any trends. When this happens this screen will appear:

Failed user flow

Accessing the Users Flow report

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Select the Reporting tab.
  3. Select Audience from the Report navigation, then select Users Flow.

user-flow-instructions

Using the Users Flow report

I’ll go into detail about how to see how many users go to and leave a specific page with the Users Flow report, but if you’d like to dig a bit deeper and try more with the report, Google has a helpful overview of all the key things you can measure.

Once you have accessed the Users Flow report, to narrow the report down to a specific page, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cog next to where it says ‘Country’. (It will display ‘Country’ by default).

users-flow-step1

2. Using the drop-down, select ‘Landing page’.

3. Add the URI of the page you’d like to see in more detail, e.g /library

4. Select ‘Apply’.

choosing a specific page in Google Analytics

5. Now, to see the process of traffic through your page, left click on the ‘Starting pages’ column and select “Explore traffic through here.”

user-flow-narrow

6. You’ll now be presented with a more detailed view of the traffic to and from the page you have chosen. It’s worth noting that you can see the steps before and after the three that are  presented on this page by selecting one of the arrow buttons:

users-flow-final

If you’re a member of staff at the University and would like further help using User Flow, or would like access to Google Analytics to see how your site is doing, please email itservicedesk@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *