We had an early look at Google Analytics Visitors Flow before it was released. And now that it’s actually here, it has the potential to be both amazingly useful and amazingly confusing.
Once you get upwards of a few hundred visits on a given segment that you’re visualizing, the flowing tendrils of analysis start to look more like a spilled pot of spaghetti noodles.
In the spirit of taming that mess, here are 6 quick tips on how to harness Visitors Flow and derive some great knowledge from it.
1. Turn Connections Down
Self-explanatory, sure. But it makes a world of difference. In some cases, it’ll be more like lopping 2 tentacles off an octopus, but it’ll still keep you focused on the heart of the data rather than the extremities.
2. Zoom In
By default, this tool is out at forest level. But if your job is to find out which woodpecker is in a specific tree in said forest, that view is damn near useless. Google gave you a zoom tool on this for a reason. Use it!
3. Segment by Campaign
For folks in Paid search or Email marketing, drilling down by campaign is a great way to limit the amount of visits you’re dealing with and follow specific groups of people through your site naturally, without all the surrounding static.
4. Use Your Average Day
If the methods above aren’t working, maybe it’s time you trimmed down your date range. Instead of analyzing a 30-day period or a week-long period, pick a day that you could consider an average day on your website – a Wednesday, for instance. And work with just that data set.
5. Highlight Traffic Through Here
Once you’ve exhausted the aforementioned limitation options, start clicking on Starting Pages and Interactions. This’ll grey out all other paths and gather your thoughts on the data that matters most to you.
6. View Group Details
Lastly, always remember that the Top 5 pages in a given interaction set will only scratch the surface of your data. Dig down and view the group details. This may not seem like a simplification, but you’ll get a nice table detailing all the pages beyond the top 5, including their drop-off rate. Trust me, that can often be easier to interpret than the spider webs you were just caught in.