Google Analytics: Common Bugs and Misunderstandings
Problems in Google Analytics can cause you to get bad data, misunderstand reports, and draw the wrong conclusions. These can be due to your settings, bugs, or the configuration of Google Analytics.
Read on to understand which issues you need to look for.
Funnel visualisation is one of the reports that people love to use. It’s great in theory, looks good at first glance and tells you lots of things that you want to know.
The problem is, it’s often just wrong. The best tip that you cna get for funnel visualisation is this: don’t use it. Reasons listed below.
1. Data inaccuracies
2. Lack of segmentation
3. Local flow report – most of what you want from the funnel visualisation report can actually be done in the goal flow report (although this is heavily sampled)
Backfilling funnel steps
The whole point in creating a funnel is to see exactly where people go, and how many people move through the funnel steps. Unfortunately, that’s very hard to see in Google Analytics.
The section below, taken from the support article, explains the problem:
“The Funnel Visualisation report backfills any skipped steps between the step at which the user entered the funnel and the step at which the user exited the funnel.
For example, let’s say your funnel is defined as /step1 > /step2 > /step3 > goal, and a user navigates from /step2 to goal, skipping /step1 and /step3.
In the Funnel Visualisation report, you’d see an entrance to /step 2, a continuation to /step 3, and a continuation to goal.”
Order of funnel steps
The order that the steps are taken in also isn’t taken into consideration. This makes the entry and exit pages also unusable. To use Google’s example:
“For example, let’s say your funnel is defined as /step1 > /step2 > /step3.html > goal.html.
A user then had this session: /xyz > /step3 > /step2 > /abc.
The Funnel Visualisation report would show an entrance from /xyz to /step2, a continuation to /step3 and an exit from /step3 to /abc.”
We actually know that the entrance page was /page3 not /page2 and that the exit page was /step2 not /step3.
While I can see some of the logic behind these decisions, I would be very reluctant to draw any conclusions from the data. For most funnel analysis needs, I like PadiTrack which is mostly free.