We’re partial to the idea of “path,” but Google Analytics is on to something else with “flow.”
Empirical Path’s partner today unveiled the Site Visits Flow report. It enables web marketing pros to instantly and intuitively see how visitors from key traffic sources (or other segments) “flow” through pages on the site. It makes other web analytics tools’ pathing reports look downright dowdy, so Google Analytics has once again raised the bar for audience measurement.
In the past, the lack of a navigation report showing multiple steps in website visits was a knock on Google Analytics. Yes, you could access the Navigation Summary to see prior and next pages viewed, for one page at a time, but the feedback from our clients was that this was hard to grasp and too granular.
This interface is a great leap forward, with connections between segments, starting pages, and pages downstream represented by curved lines whose width corresponds to traffic volume (and dreaded red lines to represent exits). There are also a number of handy ways to tweak the visualization:
- You can click a connection to highlight visitors who all flowed through the highlighted connection.
- You can click a node to highlight traffic through the node, show traffic to and from that node, and display that node’s top URLs, sources, incoming and outgoing traffic.
- You can select different dimensions to segment by Content, Visitors, Traffic Sources, and Systems.
- You can use the Connections slider to change the cutoff for connection strengths shown.
- You can use the Zoom and Pan controls to change your view of the nodes and connections.
In the words of the Google Analytics product team:
“Our design team chose not to build individual ‘path analysis,’ which can quickly become complicated. Instead, they took inspiration from a wide range of sources to reimagine approaches for visualizing visitor flow. Our goal is to help marketers and analysts better optimize their visitor experience by presenting the ways that visitors flow through their sites in an intuitive and useful way.
Starting this week, ‘Visitors Flow’ and ‘Goal Flow’ will be rolling out to all accounts. Other types of visualizers will be coming to Google Analytics in the coming few months, but in the meantime, here’s what you can expect from this initial release.”
We’ll discuss the new Goal Flow Reports soon!