How to Find Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

How to Reveal Your Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

Did you know that 95% of your website visitors won’t convert on their first visit to your website?

Studies show that on average, it takes 3-4 visits for your visitors to actually think of doing business with you.

If you’re analyzing the conversions of a specific channel while overlooking the paths your users took to get there, you’re not getting the whole picture of how your visitors convert into leads and customers.

To better understand the customer journey, you’ll need to look at conversion paths in Google Analytics. In this article, we’ll show you how to analyze your paths to conversion in Google Analytics.

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Understanding Conversion Paths in Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you can track any type of user interaction or conversion on your site.

When Google Analytics counts a conversion, it credits it to however the visitor found your site when he or she converted. So, if a person clicked on an ad on Facebook, landed on your site and converted, Facebook would be your conversion source.

Tracking conversions that happen during a single session (usually someone’s first visit to your site) can be a great strategy if you’re expecting immediate conversions from a marketing campaign, such as a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

By looking at how visitors interact with your site during that single session, you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of your PPC campaign and figure out if it’s worth the investment.

That being said, not every marketing campaign is that simple.

Just like the example of a PPC campaign, you can’t analyze the contribution of all your marketing campaigns by simply analyzing a single session or a single channel.

For example, if you want to measure the ROI of your content marketing, you’ll have to look at the entire conversion path over multiple sessions.

Imagine that your visitor discovered one of your blog posts while in the researching phase and bookmarked it for later use. After a few days, he returned to your site and purchased merchandise from your store.

In this example, the conversion would be credited to the Direct channel, but the blog post has assisted the conversion, and it took more than a single visit for your visitor to make a purchase. Unless you look at the whole conversion path, you might miss which content contributed to the conversion.

The Top Conversion Paths report in Google Analytics can show you how someone found your site, and what path they took to convert.

Before we dive into the specifics of the report, let’s take a look at how you can see conversion information right inside WordPress.

Monitor Conversions in WordPress with MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights Home Dashboard

MonsterInsights is the best WordPress plugin for Google Analytics. It makes Google Analytics setup a breeze, and puts all your most important data right in your WordPress dashboard. That includes conversions!

Here are a few examples of conversions you can track with MonsterInsights (without setting up any Google Analytics code):

  • Purchases (eCommerce)
  • Form submissions
  • Outbound link clicks
  • Affiliate link clicks
  • File downloads

Get Started with MonsterInsights Today!

Set up Google Analytics Conversions Tracking

Before you can use the Top Conversion Paths report, you need to have either eCommerce or Goals set up in Google Analytics, as that’s how conversions are recorded and calculated.

For a refresher on setting up Enhanced eCommerce, read How to Set Up Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking in WordPress (The Easy Way).

To set up Goals, open Google Analytics and go to Admin » Goals.

Goals in the admin panel in Google Analytics

Now, click the red New Goal button.

Create a new goal in Google Analytics

On the next screen, you can choose a template for your goal, or choose Custom to create your own:

Create a goal in Google Analytics

In the next step, you’ll give your goal a name and pick what type of goal it is. Let’s say you chose the “Newsletter sign up” template. We want to select “Destination” because we redirect users who fill out our newsletter form to a Thank You page. Here’s what that would look like:

Goal creation step 2 in Google Analytics

Now, in step 3, we tell Google Analytics where we want the conversion to happen. In our case, we want our Thank You page to count as the conversion, so it would look something like this:

Goal step 3 in Google Analytics

A quick note: If you’re not sure how to redirect users to a Thank You page after they’ve filled out your forms, check out this article: 11 Perfect Thank You Page Examples (You Need to See Now).

After you save, you now have a goal set up.

This was a really quick look at goal creation. For more help setting up goals, read How to Create a Goal in Google Analytics to Track Conversions.

How to Read the Google Analytics Conversion Paths Report

To find top conversion paths in Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Top Conversion Paths.

Top conversion paths report in Google Analytics

So, in the above screenshot, the number one top conversion path is Paid Search x2, which means it’s people who clicked 2 ads before converting. The next one, Paid Search > Direct, means someone visited after clicking an ad, left the site, and came back later via direct (bookmark or typing in the URL).

In the left-hand navigation, you can see a few other reports in this section of Google Analytics, including Assisted Conversions.

What Are Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics?

Assisted conversions are the number of conversions for which a particular channel or source appeared on the conversion path, but wasn’t the final conversion interaction.

In other words, an assisted conversion is when a visitor left your site after interacting with your campaign, then came back through another channel and converted.

If you’re investing in brand awareness campaigns, tracking assisted conversions is essential to analyze if your efforts are boosting your bottom line.

To find assisted conversions report, visit Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Assisted Conversions.

Assisted conversions report in Google Analytics

In this example, Organic Search assisted 168 conversions, totaling $4,322.32. That means that these people found the site first via organic, then came back to convert from a different channel, like email or direct.

What Are Time Lag and Path Length in Google Analytics?

Time lag in Google Analytics tells you the number of days it takes for your visitors to complete the final conversion after their first interaction.

The path length report in Google Analytics shows how many times a user interacted on your site to complete a final conversion. Generally speaking, the path length report follows the trend of the time lag report.

Path length report in Google Analytics

According to the above screenshot, it takes 12+ days for a little over 1% of your customers to complete the final conversion. Since people have your brand on top of their mind even after 2 weeks from their first interaction, you can target those people by setting up a remarketing campaign and enticing them to complete the conversion sooner.

Similarly, you can also display onsite retargeting messages to persuade your return visitors to complete a conversion.

Conversion Length in WordPress

If you’re a WordPress and MonsterInsights user with an eCommerce store, you can always access your Time to Purchase and Sessions to Purchase metrics in your analytics dashboard, under Insights » Reports » eCommerce.

Time and Sessions to Purchase

For more on the MonsterInsights eCommerce reports, check out How to Set Up Enhanced eCommerce in Google Analytics (Step by Step).

We hope this guide helped you reveal your conversion paths in Google Analytics.

If you want to learn more about user engagement, read How to Track User Engagement in WordPress using Google Analytics.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for more helpful Google Analytics tips.

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