5 Steps to Understand User Journey from Start to Conversion in Google Analytics

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Are you facing difficulty to know the actual behavior sequence of your site users? Do you want to discover each user interaction in the same sequence as actually performed on your site by users while moving towards conversion? Do you want to know the most followed user patterns leading to conversion?

Standard Reports in Google Analytics don’t give user journey to conversion. Even with Google Premium Accounts, user journey is possible to track through Custom funnels, though it has its own limitations of pre-defined funnel steps. So let me show you a different approach to get the comprehensive user journey.

We will be using “Top Conversion Path” report with some advance tracking approach. You may have come across the top conversion path report that provides you information on how users has come to site at different point of time from variety of sources of acquisition. How about we use the same report to get you specific sequences of user actions leading to conversion. Using this report only, you can also get a user journey leading towards conversion.

Let’s see how it works

Step 1: Google Analytics View & Filter

Create a new separate view with a filter ‘including’ only virtual page views. Virtual page view is a way to track dynamic content on the page.

Additionally, you will have to use ‘exclude’ virtual page view filter in all other existing views of the same property or else you can maintain a separate property for this output.

Here is how you select an include filter.


Step 2: Datalayer Event Tracking

Let us figure out the events you need to track on your site. All these major events on the pages of the site are supposed to be tracked through datalayer events. If they are not been tracked, then it should be done first.

Step 3: Google Tag Manager

Now, create a virtual page view tag for each event on the page

  1. Select page view track type in the tag configuration

  2. Go to more settings, click on fields to set and pass the hardcoded values in three field pages, campaignSource and campaignMedium.

  3. Add trigger to this tags as a datalayer event.

Tag Config
For clarity, we will pass the value of interaction / event name in the campaignMedium and location where that event takes place (like particular  page section ) as campaignSource. For example, in above image, we have passed campaignMediam as click on ‘Android App Logo’ and page section name ‘Header’ as campaignSource.

Step 4:  Set up Goal in GA

Create a destination goal in GA and use the virtual page url of goal conversion interaction (Submit Success is the goal conversion interaction – as in the below image).

Goal Submit
Step 5: Data in Google Analytics Reports

After publishing the container, let’s wait for data to get into GA.

Below is the screenshot of how you will get data in the GA “Top Conversion Path” report


We have passed the hardcoded values of source/medium as page section/interaction name respectively and so we are now getting the patterns of user interactions which leads to conversion.

Here in the above screenshot “submit success” interaction is the goal and so it is the last source/medium path shown in each row.

Going through the rows of the report, we will get top most user patterns leading to the goal. You might have observed that even though we have passed hardcoded values in source, some of the rows show Google/CPC value. This is because in the processing stage of the GA if any user landed on the site through any Adwords campaign, at that time GA cannot overwrite the values of campaignSource and campaignMedium.

Note that this view should only be used to get insights from the Top Conversion Path report as changing the value of source/medium and sending it to GA at each interaction will create the new session on each event.

If you are interested in further details on how we do it or you want us track your user journey, our experts will be glad to assist you. Please drop a comment with your details in the section below & we will reach out to you!!

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