How to use Custom funnels in Google Analytics 360

A custom funnel is a custom report through which you can visualize and analyze your customers’ journey in GA.

A customer journey is made up of one or more stages:

Each stage is made up of 1 or more steps:

Your website users take these steps to complete a task or set of tasks. 

A custom funnel displays a graph of the number of sessions/users who completed or did not complete each stage of the funnel:

Use a custom funnel if you want to instantly create a new funnel based on historical data.

A custom funnel report is similar to the sequences used in advanced segments:

 

This is because both custom filters and sequences provide the option to:

a) include/exclude any GA dimension

b) select whether or not the next stage should immediately follow the previous stage.

Following are the main differences between a custom funnel report and a funnel visualization report:

#1 You can create a custom funnel report based on historical data. This is something which is not possible with the funnel visualization report.

#2 You can use events as funnel steps in the custom funnel report. Thus you can create event based funnels. This is something which is not possible with the funnel visualization report.

#3 Unlike the funnel visualization report, there are no backfills of the funnel steps in the custom funnel report. 

#4 You can not apply advanced segments to the funnel visualization report. Whereas, you can apply one advanced segment to the custom funnel report. This segment act as a filter for the first stage of the funnel.

#5 You can create a new advanced segment based on any completed or not completed stage in your custom funnel. You can then use that segment across your GA reports. This is something which is not possible with the funnel visualization report.

#6 You can create a new remarketing audience based on any completed or not completed stage in your custom funnel. You can then use that audience for remarketing campaigns in Google ads. This is something which is not possible with the funnel visualization report.

#7 Custom funnel reports are available only in GA 360 enabled properties. Whereas, funnel visualization reports are available to all GA users. 

#8 Custom funnels are currently in beta. Whereas, funnel visualization is not in beta.

How to create a custom funnel?

Step-1: Navigate to your main reporting view of the GA360 enabled property.

Step-2: Click on ‘Custom Reports’ under ‘Customization’:

 

Step-3: Click on the ‘+New Custom Report’ button:

 

Step-4: Click on the ‘Funnel’ tab:

 

Step-5: Choose the ‘Analysis Type’:

 

By default, the analysis type is set to ‘Different Stages can occur in different sessions’.

Use this setting if you want your custom funnel to be user-based i.e. you want your custom funnel to be able to analyze the user behaviour that spans across different GA sessions.

If you want your custom funnel to be session-based (i.e. you want your custom funnel to analyze only the user behaviour that occurs within the same GA session) then set the analysis type to ‘All stages must occur within a session’.

 

Step-6: Click on the ‘Advanced Options’ drop-down menu:

 

Step-7: Choose the funnel type:

 

By default, the funnel type is set to ‘Closed’ which means your custom funnel is closed. 

A Closed funnel is a funnel where users will be considered as a part of the funnel only when they enter into the funnel at the first step/stage (i.e. the required first step/stage).

An Open funnel is a funnel where users will be considered as a part of the funnel when they enter into the funnel at any step/stage

Note: You can only change the funnel type for a session-based custom funnel. The user-based custom funnel is a closed funnel.

 

Step-8: Choose the metric type:

Select the ‘Users’ metric if you want your custom funnel to display the number of users completing or not completing each stage of the funnel. 

Select the ‘Sessions’ metric if you want your custom funnel to display the number of sessions (instead of the number of users) completing or not completing each stage of the funnel. 

Note: You can change the metric type only for a session-based custom funnel. The user-based funnel can use only the ‘Users’ metric type i.e. it can display only the number of users completing or not completing each stage of the funnel. 

 

Step-9: Choose the ‘Subsequent stage should follow’ setting to specify how your custom funnel should evaluate users’ journey through two or more stages:

At any time after a stage

Use this setting, if you want users to be considered as completing subsequent stage(s) of the funnel even when they take intermediate steps in between stages. 

For example, let us suppose you defined a custom funnel which is made up of two stages: Page A and Page B. 

When a user visited page A, he would be considered as completing the first stage of the funnel.

When the user visited page B, he would be considered as completing the second stage of the funnel.

Now let us suppose a user visited page A, then page C and then page B. Now under ‘at any time after a stage’ setting, the user would be considered as completing both stages of the funnel.

 

Immediately after a stage

Use this setting, if you want users to be considered as completing subsequent stage(s) of the funnel only when they do not take intermediate steps in between stages. 

For example, let us suppose you defined a custom funnel which is made up of two stages: Page A and Page B. 

When a user visited page A, he would be considered as completing the first stage of the funnel.

When the user visited page B, he would be considered as completing the second stage of the funnel.

Now let us suppose a user visited page A, then page C and then page B. Now under ‘immediately after a stage’ setting, the user would be considered as completing only the first stage of the funnel. 

The detour to page C is counted as a drop-off from page A. So the visit to page B is not considered. Consequently, the user would be considered as completing only the first stage of the funnel. 

 

Let me decide individually for every stage. 

Use this setting if you want to use a different ‘Subsequent stage should follow’ settings for each stage of your custom funnel. When you use this setting, the …is followed by drop-down menu appears at the bottom of each stage in the funnel.

 

Step-10: Set up your Custom funnel rules by creating and defining one or more stages: 

You can create up to five stages per custom funnel. 

You can create up to five rules/steps for each stage. These rules are called ‘Stage Rules’ or ‘Stage Steps

 

Step-11: Click on ‘+add filter’ to add a new stage rule:

 

Step-12: Select the dimension you want to use to define the stage rule:

Note: You can use any dimension available in Google Analytics including custom dimensions.

 

Step-13: Click on ‘+add filter’ to add another stage rule:

Note: When you create multiple rules for a stage then all the rules must be met for the stage to be considered successful. 

 

Step-14: Click on ‘+Add new stage’ to add a second new stage for your custom funnel:

 

Alternatively, you can click on the ‘Duplicate Previous stage’ button to duplicate the previous stage:

Note: If your custom funnel has got multiple stages then the order in which you define the various stages is important. 

Here is how your custom funnel report may look like:

How to create a new segment based on a custom funnel stage?

You can create a new advanced segment based on any completed or not completed stage in your custom funnel. You can then use that segment across your GA reports. 

To create a new segment based on any stage of your custom funnel, follow these steps:

Step-1: Navigate to your custom funnel report.

Step-2: Hover your mouse, say over a red arrow. You should now see a window like the one below:

 

Step-3: Click on the ‘Create new segment’ button:

How to create a new remarketing audience based on a custom funnel stage?

You can create a new remarketing audience based on any completed or not completed stage in your custom funnel. You can then use that audience for remarketing campaigns in Google ads. 

To create a new remarketing audience based on any stage of your custom funnel, follow these steps:

Step-1: Navigate to your custom funnel report.

Step-2: Hover your mouse, say over a red arrow. You should now see a window like the one below:

 

Step-3: Click on the ‘Create new segment and remarket’ button:

 

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