Understanding Google Analytics Conversion Funnels with Analytics Canvas

Olga TsubiksAnalytics, Analytics Canvas Tool, ecommerce

The beauty of analyzing conversion funnels in Analytics Canvas is that you don’t have to wait for the data to be collected after you’ve set up your goals. You can create any funnel you want.

Start by identifying your biggest funnel. Look at how the majority of visitors end up on your site: where they came from, and where they entered it. Get into their shoes: Are they typically new visitors? Are they using mobile devices? Where are they located? Visit the page if you were them. Then, visit the same number of pages as your average visitor, and stay within their average session duration. What information did you manage to get? Was it enough to base a decision on?

Browse in-page analytics. There are tons of insights there too.

Overwhelmed with the amount of information? Don’t be. Let’s look at some examples of conversion funnel analysis.

How to analyze conversion funnels in Canvas

Scenario 1: Acquisition Funnel

An acquisition funnel is designed to help the website convert as many new visitors into potential buyers as possible. It can include landing pages, explainer videos, infographics, checklists and other materials that encourage visitors to subscribe, create an account or take a similar step.

Let’s go back to the visitor profile report that was generated in our previous post. In our example, the average visitor enters the website on the home page. The next most viewed page is the pricing page. Great! Now let’s try to build this funnel in Analytics Canvas.

Using the custom Funnel Analysis query in Canvas, found under New Source > Google Analytics > Funnel Analysis (core reporting), we add these two steps and also a final conversion step (sign up) for this website (“thank you” page).

Defining Conversion Funnel Analysis in Analytics Canvas

Analytics Canvas outputs the results.


Out of 6921 people who entered the site, we can see that 936 went to the pricing page, and 49 got to the later step. Not bad.

But this is only one of a number of different paths that website visitors take in converting to buyers. We have a total number of 156 conversions. Another frequently viewed page is the /product1/ page. We can add it to the current funnel, or build another funnel and compare the two. You can add and remove the steps and create as many funnels as you need to map all the paths that visitors take to convert (just remember to stay within your API quota).

You can also add a segment condition to the entire funnel to try to get a better understanding of it. For example, you can select Segment > Source > Exact match > google to view a segment of your funnel that only includes visitors who came to your website from Google.
Funnel Analysis Segment Definition

Scenario 2: Activation Funnel

An activation funnel is engineered to activate prospects. It can include guides, whitepapers, e-books, webinars, case studies, data sheets, demo videos or any other material that engages prospects and encourages them to take an action.

Blog articles are the strongest driver of prospects (new visitors). The most popular blog article is /blogA/. It contains a link to a whitepaper download. We add /blogA/ as the first step and the download event as the second step of the conversion funnel.

Let’s look at the results.


50 people have progressed to the later step through this route, meaning that this blog drives a lot of traffic to the website, and it does activate website visitors.

Scenario 3: Monetization Funnel

A monetization funnel is designed to help the business get revenue from it’s active and committed website users. It can include email notifications, newsletters, blog posts, testimonials, product/service reviews, specials offers and other tools and techniques that motivate people to purchase.

The /Product1/ page brings a lot of traffic. It contains a lot of product reviews. Let’s see how this funnel is performing. We add the following steps to the funnel: add a product to the shopping cart, fill up a form, provide payment information, complete the purchase.

Analytics Canvas calculates the results.



So here you have it – 3 quick funnels in just a few minutes.

It is easy to assume that the path to conversion is obvious to a website visitor, or that they take the path they are supposed to take. But when you actually look at the website and review the conversion process from the user’s perspective, you realize that frequently visitors act differently to what you’ve expected. The path to conversion (subscription, download, etc.) should be clear to the visitor at any stage of their visit, and you need to make sure that what you have is a funnel without big holes.

You can use the funnels to assess step-by-step drop off at any stage on your website. You can view the number of people that exited after the first step, second step, etc. And wherever you lost a large number of people, you can go back to that page to optimize it, in order to increase the numbers who complete the conversion funnel.

If you haven’t yet done so, download Analytics Canvas trial.
Things to remember:
Conversion funnel analysis takes into consideration sessions.
If people visit pages in a different order, they will still count as people who have completed the funnel.