Using the Behavior Flow and Visitors Flow Reports in Google Analytics

The Behavior Flow and Visitors Flow reports in Google Analytics are a helpful and visual way to see the behavior of visitors to your website. They provide a view of how users are interacting with your website, and allow you to drill down to individual pages to see how users flow from one page to the next, and where they drop off your site.

You can find the reports under Audience –> Visitors Flow, and Content –> Behavior Flow. These reports are essentially the same, but the Visitors Flow report starts with a Country/Territory dimension by default, and the Behavior Flow report starts with a Landing Page dimension by default. But you can change the dimension that the report focuses on at the beginning by clicking the green drop-down menu, so the reports really end up being the same in the end.

Dimension Selection in Behavior Flows

Selecting a dimension in Behavior Flows

In general, the boxes represent pages on your site, and the blue lines between them show the flow from one page to another as visitors move through your site. The thickness of the blue lines indicates the number of visitors in the flow, so you can visually find the flows that the majority of your visitors take through your site. Red lines show drop-offs, where visitors leave your site, and again, thicker lines are an indication of more users dropping off your site. Those areas might be good to focus on, as the more visitors you can keep on your site, the more chance you’ll have of getting them to convert.

Do you want to drill down on just the United States in the Visitors Flow report? Click on the United States box, and a menu will pop up, allowing you to select “Highlight traffic through here”, “View only this segment”, or “Group details”. Selecting “Highlight traffic through here” will darken the blue lines and show you the number of pageviews compared to the total in each box. Selecting “View only this segment” makes all other paths disappear, which makes it a bit easier to visualize the rest of the data. When clicking on a green “page” box and choosing “View only this segment”, the view changes to show all visits going to and from that page.

View Only This Segment Pop-Up Window

The Pop-Up Window When You Click On A Behavior Flows Box

When you hover the mouse over a box, another window pops up with details on the “Through traffic” (visitors who continued to another page) and “Drop-offs” (visitors who left the site after this page), and the percent of each compared to the total visits to that page.

Flow Details Pop-Up in Behavior Flows

The Flow Details Pop-Up in Behavior Flows

You can navigate left and right through the report by clicking and dragging, and you’ll find that you can continue to move to the right to look deeper and deeper into the sessions on your site.

So what do I do with the data?

By using the segment drop-down (which defaults to “All Visits”) and narrowing down the report to just Search traffic or Mobile traffic, for example, you can compare how visitors flow through your site from different segments. This could point out areas where the segments differ in behavior. It could point out problems, for example, that your mobile visitors are having in navigating the site.

By using the dimensions drop-down, you can narrow down the results to see visits from a particular source (Google) or medium (Organic traffic). You can look at flows stemming from specific keywords as well, which may give you valuable information about whether visitors from a particular keywords are engaging with your site and finding the information that they are looking for. And you can view flows from a particular browser or operating system.

Look for places where a large percentage of visits to a page are dropping off (the thick red lines). Take a deeper look at these pages, and figure out what you could do to make people stay on the site more. Perhaps you could add links to similar/related content, or make your calls-to-action more prominent or obvious on the page.

Looking at raw data can be tedious and difficult. But the visual aspect of the Behavior Flow and Visitors Flow reports in Google Analytics make it easier to spot problem areas that need to be addressed. Good luck!

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