How to Generate Conversion Funnel Insights

conversion funnel insights saas

If you’re already created a funnel in Google Analytics, you’re on the right path.

But now you’ve got a new set of problems.

You actually have to use it.

How to Analyze Your Conversion Funnel

So you’ve created a Google Analytics funnel. Excellent! The visual might be pretty, but now you need to generate insights from it. How do we go about doing that?

Start by making sure you’re looking at the appropriate date range. If you’re analyzing based on a test, get those date ranges right. Fuzzy math might work in meetings but it doesn’t work in my data dojo. Always check the dates first. If this is your weekly analytics review, prepare for 7, 14, and 30-day look-back periods.

There will always be fluctuations in your data–this is something you learn over the first few months. SaaS companies analyzing their lead generation funnel can usually generate enough visitors to mitigate the variation in their data. eCommerce companies with high-value products may have less clarity available to them.

This is due to the conversion rate of each. Leads can come in from a source at 30% while sales of the highest, most competitive products can be as low as 0.5%.

Insights & Recommendations from Your Funnel Analysis

Just having the funnel and looking at it isn’t enough. The workflow should start with compiling insights, follow with generating recommendations, & finish with implementing those recommendations. (Well, you should measure whether or not they worked but we can address that another time.)

What is an insight, exactly? Insights are generally what changed. If you’re trying to generate conversion funnel insights, did anything change from last week? If the numbers are on-par, you don’t need to note anything other than consistency.

If they drop or grow, that’s worth noting. The questions now becomes: why did our conversions (checkout completions for eCommerce companies) decrease week-over-week? Analyze each step. Are there more drop-offs at one step? Are there fewer total entries into the conversion funnel? You have to drill down on that metric once you determine what it is.

Following those insights, figure out how to fix it. Assuming you diagnose the problem correctly, the recommendations are usually easy to make. Less people moving into your checkout process from PPC campaigns? Make sure account changes that affected that are reversed. An increase in drop-offs from one step to another in the checkout process? Check with your product team to reverse any changes they’ve made or do testing across browsers and devices.

Every recommendation should be clear. If it’s not, you should revisit your insight and try to be more specific about what you found.

Google Analytics Specifics: Entrances

Entrances drive all of the activities in your funnel, which makes them hugely important. Since the conversion funnel is essentially just a math equation, you need some numbers to even begin to do the math.

Here’s what the conversion funnel equation looks like.

generate conversion funnel insights.png
250/5000 = 5%. That is, of the 5000 people who went to their cart, only 250 completed their purchase.

The poignant part of this is that analyzing your funnel won’t drive insights into how to increase entrances. While you should look at the behavior that led your best customers to purchase, you won’t find that in this analysis.

What you should look for is entrances at each step. The first step gives you an idea of how people enter and that may start to drive you toward the behavior of your best customers. It should reflect your current marketing program.

For SaaS companies, email will be a large portion of the initial entrances to your funnel that tracks conversion to customer. eCommerce companies may experience more direct and organic traffic since people tend to search for specific products and by brand name when reaching their zero moment of truth.

When analyzing entrances further down the funnel, look for pages that don’t make any sense. In theory, you shouldn’t have any entrances on those steps. This is not a reality.

How many tabs do you have open right now?

It’s early in the morning so I have 8 tabs in one window and 8 tabs in another. Late in the day I may have quite a few more. As a marketer, and more importantly a consumer, you probably have 12 tabs from the same site open at one time. You may go back and review some sellers or some alternate colors before you proceed to the final checkout step on Amazon. Very common. In Google Analytics, it will appear like you went from a product page to a checkout step back to the product page, straight to the next step in the checkout process. The reality is that you just had tabs open.

The insight! Yes, there’s more than rambling going on here. If you constantly see entrances from pages like your About Us or your Shipping and Return policy, you may be missing out on providing that information during the checkout process.

What better way to help people overcome anxiety than by giving them the info they want when they want it. That’s a great way to increase conversion rates.

Google Analytics Specifics: Drop Offs

Drop Offs tell you two things:

  1. How many people are leaving our conversion funnel?
  2. Where are people going when they leave your conversion funnel?

Drop Offs happen. They just do. If you’re new to creating a conversion funnel, don’t stress that you don’t meet the criteria of your favorite SaaS company’s latest blog post. You’re looking to establish your benchmark with which to build off of.

You should start to notice the pages that your potential customers drop out for once you’ve grown into the funnel and start to understand how you’re converting. Are these pages links in your funnel? In most cases, you need to remove the navigation from your checkout or trial pages to keep the customer focused. User ADD is a real thing and any links can take away their attention and move it to something else that looks shiny.

You probably love your expandable menu! But you probably love keeping the lights on too. Just remove those pesky pages. If there is vital information, like a return policy on a physical good, try making it a popover or modal instead.

Leaving it right here is a huge mistake. What happens when your potential customers still want to understand your return policy but you’ve made it impossible to get to? If that is part of your company’s value to the customer, you just stopped addressing it.

Make that information more prominent before the point where they need it! If it’s a core benefit then make sure they see it 10x before making a purchase. It could be in your emails, in your Twitter description, & on the sidebar of your blog. Make. It. Known.

Implementing Funnel Analysis Into Your Marketing Process

The most forgettable of all the things: analyze your marketing funnel on a regular basis. For most growing companies, a weekly funnel review is in order. Especially as you test new channels and campaigns, you want to know how people convert at a very detailed level.

There is nothing more important to your business than understanding how and why people pay you.

For a weekly review, schedule it at a time when you know that you will be able to take action on the insights you generate. For scrum environments, you want to schedule it at a time when it makes sense to add new stories to your backlog. You probably don’t want to do it on the same day you do a review, retro, or planning–it will get lost in the mix. Try to schedule it before you do backlog refinement.

Friday afternoon may also be a poor choice, given that you want to let the insights marinate overnight. You’ll lose momentum over the weekend and come back without a clue as to why you scribbled down those notes.

Action is the most important step in this process. Don’t lose out on action because you choose the wrong day and time or you don’t choose a day and time at all.

What You’ve Learned About Conversion Funnels

Unless you’re starting a brand new marketing program, you’ve probably got a set process for getting your marketing program running. What we’ve done now is identified way to integrate funnel analysis into your workflow, how to generate conversion funnel insights, & then what to do with your learnings. Now it’s up to you to generate those insights!

Brian Swanick

Hey I'm Brian! I fix broken marketing programs for growing companies and crush tacos of all sizes. Whether you're launching a new product or building out a new marketing team, I hope you find the info on this site useful.

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