The full story on conversion funnel analysis
Product Updates · 7 min read

The full story on conversion funnel analysis

Justin Owings
Posted April 18, 2018

Funnels on the web: Your users' stories of success (or failure) done right.

Tracing its roots to 1898, the purchase funnel was first used to understand the steps along the path to conversion: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Fast forward to today and you'll find sales funnels, marketing funnels, customer funnels, and conversion funnels, among other varieties. And to make sure funnels stay, well, fun, folks now do everything from flip them to forget them.

Unfortunately, when it comes to funnel analytics on the web, the fun is often hard to find—until now.

We're excited to share FullStory now has one of the most powerful, out-of-the-box conversion funnel tools in web analytics–one that allows you to create precise funnels by user segment, in whatever order, and based upon whatever nuanced events or attributes you want.

Plus no advance configuration.

It's time to give your conversion-minded toolkit a much-needed upgrade: FullStory now offers a quantitative-qualitative funnel analytics tool to help optimize all your conversions on the web, whether sales, marketing, product, or otherwise.

Are your funnel analytics out of order?

Funnels have become such an expected and ingrained component of conversion optimization, it's hard to imagine a web analytics report without one. But despite their ubiquity, just how beneficial are your funnels, anyway? Currently, funnel implementation and analysis on the web is fraught with shortcomings. Consider these 3 common problems with funnels:

  1. Unable to analyze linear and non-linear user flows — With traditional funnels, order is a thing. We think about behaviors as happening sequentially, and we want to understand precisely when our users follow the specific path we expect them to follow.

    However, user behavior on the web is anything but linear. Users might hop around your navigation or jump into and out of search. They might engage with your site and then leave, only to come back later. Users take many forks on the road to conversion.

    Does that make funnels, with their order and linearity, irrelevant? Hardly. What it means is that funnel analyses must be flexible enough to capture path complexity and run the numbers in a myriad of ways.

  2. Complicated and time consuming to implement — Funnels can require lots of time to implement, limiting how much you can capture and analyze. When you must enter the precise path of the funnel you wish to investigate before data is recorded, you won't have the data needed until the future. If you set up the funnel incorrectly, you'll have to wait even longer.

  3. Limitations in what can be tracked — Many web funnel tools limit your steps to URLs or pages visited. That means you have little freedom to investigate micro-steps within your funnel on the fly.

If you have any of the above problems, funnels can become a chore or worse: The analysis you need to optimize a conversion path successfully simply won't get created.

Existing funnel analytics tools simply don't have all the data, nor are they flexible enough in the way they serve up that data.

That's why FullStory is fixing funnels.

Funnels on FullStory

URLs visited, CSS selectors clicked, and whatever user interactions you want analyzed with FullStory Funnels.

FullStory captures everything about your user's experience online to provide you the qualitative insights of DVR-like session replay. But FullStory is so much more than just a session replay tool.

Unlike other replay tools, FullStory indexes all your data so that you can search it and segment your sessions—e.g. by user attributes such as geography, session length, etc., and events such as URLs visited, CSS selectors clicked, and too many others to list. No matter how you slice and dice your data, FullStory brings up all of the sessions that match your search, ready for you to watch and learn from.

Additionally, FullStory will provide you with a dashboard of aggregated quantitative insights that you've come to expect from traditional web analytics platforms—things like:

FullStory's qualitative and quantitative one-two punch means your high-level, aggregated web analytics are always grounded in the real user experiences driving them.

Nowhere is this knockout combination as powerful as with FullStory funnels. Search your sessions for events A, B, C, to Z, in any combination using whatever user attributes you want, and FullStory will find those sessions to replay and generate funnel analytics.

String together whatever events you want to analyze as easily as typing them into a search box with no advance configuration. Specify if you care about the order via "in this order" or "in any order" and "within the same session" or "across any number of sessions."

The result? Build a funnel for any user flow you wish.

Funnel examples

Let's say you want a funnel of users who visited your homepage → interacted with a specific modal or overlay → and clicked your call-to-action button—in this order and all within the same session. That's easy.

Note the funnel will have as many bars as you have steps, and, if no one matches your funnel, FullStory will let you know so you can refine your search, as appropriate.

Or maybe you want to investigate the paid traffic to your top landing page → that sent users to your pricing page → where they interacted with your pricing configuration tool → then read a case study → left your site → but came back via a retargeting effort → and then converted. FullStory's got you covered.

In all cases, simply search your FullStory sessions for the events you wish to analyze. Start with at least two events and then string together as many as you require. Add user, order, and session filters to refine your analysis further.

Go crazy. Have fun with your funnels.

Diagnose and optimize using Session Replay

Once you've identified the biggest leaks in your funnel—and there may be many—switch gears from high-level analysis to diagnosis using session replay. Playback user sessions to see the on-page experience through your user's eyes, tease out hypotheses to test, experiments to run, and more.

To get the most out of your replay analysis, follow these steps:

  1. Save your funnel as a Segment so you'll have it for future analysis.

  2. Identify the step in your funnel you want to troubleshoot. For that step, exclude the event filter at the point of failure: e.g. drag the event you want to troubleshoot to the “Exclude” section at the bottom of Event Filters. Your session list in this revised query will only include sessions that include all the steps in your funnel up until the point where users missed the next step toward conversion.

  3. Watch these sessions and take notes on any trends in behaviors.

As you replay sessions, look for bugs and keep an eye out for misbehaving UX design. Once you feel like you've gotten a good sense for what's wrong, you're ready to take action. Hypothesize, test, experiment!

When you've gotten enough results, return to your saved segment in FullStory and run your funnel analysis again.

It's all funnels and games 'til someone converts

We're excited about the power of FullStory funnels. They're easy to create and easy to tweak, but robust in granularity thanks to FullStory search. You can build a funnel with events in a specific order or in any order, depending on if you to wish to investigate a linear flow or allow for flexibility.

Best of all, FullStory funnels naturally lead to the answers you need to improve conversions by always matching your funnel analyses directly to the session recordings they're based upon.

If you're eager to give FullStory funnels a try, log in to FullStory and get started. Or if you're new to FullStory, request a demo to see how you can use FullStory to improve your site or app.

Soon, you'll be having more funnels than a barrel of monkeys. No, wait. That's not right. What we mean is you'll soon be making your funnels look more like barrels!

Justin OwingsFormer Director, Content

About the author

Justin Owings was previously the Director of Content Marketing at FullStory.

Return to top

Stay up to date with FullStory by signing up for our newsletter.