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When Google issued an update to Analytics late in 2011, many were concerned that the new additions and interface would bury needed information. There are a lot more features, and it can be difficult to root out what you need. On the other hand, these features offer a great deal of functionality. The Visitors Flow visual tool, for instance, allows website owners to track how their visitors navigate their sites. This can be incredibly useful for sites that want to increase user engagement, visit lengths, conversion rates, and retention.
Visitors Flow can help you pinpoint your site’s strengths and weaknesses and adjust content accordingly. You can:

  1. Analyze traffic patterns.
  2. Look for places where visitors tend to exit.
  3. See which landing pages funnel to conversion pages most effectively.
  4. Look at pages with high drop-off frequencies and see if there are any content or technical issues to modify.

To start using Visitors Flow, go to your Analytics interface. Navigate to Standard Reporting, then Audience, and finally Visitors Flow. Select the starting point for the flow visual; you can choose from Country/Territory, Traffic Sources, Content, or System from the drop-down menu. The report is organized by “interaction,” or each page the user clicks through to. These are the nodes. By hovering over the nodes, you can get more detailed information. The nodes will tell you the most popular destinations, drop-offs, and how visitors continued on the site. To trace which pages lead to which connections, you click on the connection.
At first, looking at these visualizations can be confusing; it looks like spaghetti, and it can be hard to track which strand leads to another. When beginning with Visitors Flow, reduce the number of connections to simplify the interface. To do this, find the Connections slider at the top and move it to the left.
The Visitors Flow report has the capability to tell you a lot about your site and how people navigate it. If the interface has intimidated you, jump in. Try it with fewer dimensions and connections and work your way up.

Posted by Vadym Gurevych, Business Development Director at Bullseye Media

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