Visitors Flow Visualisation in Action

by Special Guest on November 29, 2011

in Analytics

A couple of weeks ago my colleague Annie brought you a general introduction of an upcoming feature in Google Analytics: Flow Visualisation. This week saw the new feature finally show up in our Google Analytics interface, prompting me to put together this simple tutorial about the Visitor Flow Visualisation.

To start using the Visitors Flow tool, you must first go to the new version of Google Analytics. (Incidentally, I highly recommend everybody to switch to the new version, since the old version will be gone very soon.) Click and expand the Visitors section on the left and you will find Visitors Flow at the bottom of the list.

Visitors Flow Visualisation

Visitors Flow Visualisation

The image above shows the general interface of Visitors Flow. Although it’s pretty straightforward, there are a few sections I’d like to elaborate further on.

The “Select a segment” drop-down menu works as a major filter by using different segments such as “New Visitors”, “Search Traffic” or “Non-paid Search Traffic”, to show you the activity of certain types of visitors. Just as in the standard reporting, you could also apply your custom segments to the visualisation to meet your individual requirements.

The “Connections” bar on the right of the “Segment” menu is used to adjust the scale of the details for visitors. Dragging the bar to the right most side will provide you the most detailed data. Working together with the zoom in/out bar on the left, you can literally see the activity flow of any single visitor.

The most useful option in Visitors Flow for me is the Dimension filter. Let’s use “Keyword” as an example to see how it works:



By applying the “Keyword” dimension to the chart, the visitors are divided by the number who arrived at the site by searching for a certain keyword. For example, if you want to see more details of the visitors searching for “seo” (a big traffic driver for E-Web Marketing’s site; your site will get different keyword traffic depending on your industry), just click on that section and choose “View only this segment”:

Keyword Highlight

Keyword Highlight

By highlighting the traffic that comes through ”seo”, we get a basic understanding of where these visitors enter the site, which pages they visit, and on which pages they drop off. This information is invaluable for improving the conversion rate of any website, and has many other useful applications.

The above example illustrates a basic operation of Visitors Flow Visualisation, but the analytical possibilities for this new tool are endless! I’d love to hear how you are using it for your online marketing campaign.


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