I got a question from a reader here recently and after posting a comment back on it, decided that a full post would be best for everyone. Comments can get buried at times and this topic is worth taking note of.
The question involved the use of Google Analytics Funnel tracking and went something like this.
Is it possible to set up a funnel with a determined starting point and ending point, but where the pages in between don’t matter? In other words, a user comes in on Page A, then they could either go to Page B, C, or D, and then from there go to Page E. All I want to know is how many users who came in via Page A ended up at Page E. I don’t care what happened in between. Is that possible?
Taking note of the true purpose of funnel tracking will shed some light on why not caring about what happens in between the initial click and the end goal can backfire on you.
The Purpose of Setting up Funnel Tracking
One primary objective of any e-commerce site should be to drive visitors down a “specific and intended path” guiding them all the way to then end result (a sale.)
Providing that path gives users direction. The direction you provide builds customer assurance which in turn builds confidence. Both lead to more sales.
Allowing customers to “aimlessly wander” through your site will result in less than desirable results and lost sales. If you want them to buy, you need to take their hand and “show them the way”.
Funnel tracking is used to measure how effective a particular process is at leading your visitor down an intended path then converting that visitor into a goal (for e-commerce sites that ideally is a sale.)
It provides a detailed path analysis depicting where in that process you have problems (also called barriers) which prevent your visitors from buying. Funnels provide a “starting point roadmap” for addressing sections of the site that need adjustment and attention.
Leaving the “meat” out of a funnel (all the pages in between the initial click and the end goal) only defeats the purpose of setting up the funnel in the first place.
Having said that, if you really want to setup a funnel without any pages in between mattering, then it is possible (but not advisable) and, you have to be able to read and interpret the data figures to make sense of it all.
This Example Explains Further
Joe has a website. He wants to increase sales. To meet his objective and as a first step, he knows he must have an analytics package in place. He adds Google Analytics to his site and sets up funnel tracking.
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