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User Explorer Report (Beta) in Google Analytics: How to See the Entire Sales Funnel


Google Analytics recently added a new beta product to its dashboard that will give marketers the chance to see the all actions taken by a specific user on your website before completing a desired outcome. In addition, specifically for ecommerce websites, we can follow a user post purchase and see how many times they return & buy, allowing you to calculate the CLV for a specific user.

Inside the platform:

The User Explorer Report can be found right underneath the Cohort Analysis on the left side of Google Analytics, under the Audience Tab. When you open it you can see each specific client via their client ID, the amount of sessions a client has had in the given timeframe (currently Google is only allowing me to view from March 9th 2016, your experience may vary slightly), the average session duration, bounce rate, transactions and goal completion rate.

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The first thing to notice is the amount of sessions necessary in order to bring a sale. In the chart above (sorted by transaction), we only see one user with 1 session who purchased. There are users with 15, 16, 18 & 19 sessions, albeit those end in 2 transactions. In other words, there are no “magic bullets” in ecommerce, one has to understand how to bring in users at the top of the funnel and convert them later on.

Analyze Each User:

You can click on an individual user and get a break down of his or her activities including pages viewed, events and goals completed and transactions.

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For example, the user above I know was “acquired” via Facebook on March 28th. (note: In order for Facebook to show up as an acquisition channel you will need to implement a custom channel settings, by default, tagged Facebook ads will show as Paid Media while untagged will show as social media).

This presents an interesting view of what counts as a “1st click conversion”. As this user made 2 purchases within the given time frame, perhaps it is best to see Facebook as the 1st click driver for both of these purchases.

Limitations:

While the report is very useful and can give you a window into actions performed by a user, it only shows you the acquisition level. You still cannot drill down to the campaign level to see what campaign (and creative) specifically brought the user to your website. In addition, while in theory the report shows all devices used by a user while on your site, in practice there is still a lot lost in the cross device switchover. Finally, I would say that it’s difficult to amalgamate events or pages viewed by individual users who purchase so you know what pages and events are most important for your business.

The most important takeaway from the report may be conceptual, understanding how many stages a user must go through from being introduced to your product till they actually purchase.


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