As Avinash Kaushik pointed out in a recent blog post, while all web­sites are dif­fer­ent, most have one thing in com­mon — a con­ver­sion process.  Even if your web­site doesn’t sell any­thing, there are still often process steps that you want your cus­tomers to go through.  It may be a reg­is­tra­tion process, the open­ing of an account or sim­ply a lead gen­er­a­tion process.  Regard­less of its pur­pose, the end goal is to see how suc­cess­ful your web­site is at get­ting vis­i­tors to com­plete a series of pre-defined mile­stone steps (usu­ally defined as Site­Cat­a­lyst Suc­cess Events).  Many clients do this through nor­mal page-by-page pathing analy­sis, but this only gives you part of the pic­ture.  In this post I will pro­vide “the rest of the story” (RIP Paul Harvey!).

Why Pathing Is Not Enough
When you first start out using Site­Cat­a­lyst, it seems like there is noth­ing you can’t accom­plish with page-by-page pathing.  For exam­ple, let’s say you have a con­ver­sion process that includes the fol­low­ing steps:

  1. Get Cus­tomer Information
  2. Get Ship­ping Information
  3. Get Billing Information
  4. Show Order Thank You Page

Since each of these pages will have a unique page name, there is no rea­son why you can’t cre­ate a pathing fall-out report that includes these pages so you can see cus­tomer fall-out.  It might look some­thing like this:

You can mon­i­tor this over time and even add mul­ti­ple ver­sions of this report to a Site­Cat­a­lyst Dash­board so you can com­pare dif­fer­ent time peri­ods or coun­tries.  How­ever, pathing reports have one major down­side, they include all site traf­fic.  What if you wanted to see the same fall-out report above for vis­i­tors com­ing from Google Cam­paigns or only for first time vis­i­tors?  To do this, you have a few options:

  1. Use Omni­ture Dis­cover and apply the seg­ment you desire to the fall-out report
  2. Cre­ate ASI slots for the seg­ments you desire and cre­ate the fall-out report in the ASI slots
  3. Cre­ate a DataWare­house report and cal­cu­late the fall-out using a spreadsheet
  4. Merge together seg­ment and page data into a new Traf­fic Vari­able (sProp) and enable pathing (advanced)

While all of these will work, there is a much eas­ier way — uti­lize the Site­Cat­a­lyst Con­ver­sion Fun­nel report.

Con­ver­sion Fun­nel
So what is the Con­ver­sion Fun­nel?  You would be amazed how many long-time Site­Cat­a­lyst users have never found or used this report.  At its core, the Con­ver­sion Fun­nel report is a spe­cial report that allows you to add Suc­cess Events to a fun­nel and see high-level fall-out num­bers between each met­ric.  While it sounds like a pathing fall-out report, it is actu­ally very dif­fer­ent.  In a pathing report, in order for a path view to the sec­ond page in the flow to be counted, the page view has to take place after the first page the fall-out report and within the same visit.  Con­versely, a Con­ver­sion Fun­nel report does not care about vis­its and only reports raw met­rics (Suc­cess Events) that take place dur­ing the spec­i­fied report­ing time period and cal­cu­lates the dif­fer­ence between every two met­rics.  For exam­ple, in the fol­low­ing Con­ver­sion Fun­nel report, if the time frame is Feb­ru­ary 2009, then the report would be indi­cat­ing that, in Feb­ru­ary, the Cus­tomer Infor­ma­tion suc­cess event took place 328,998 times, the Billing Infor­ma­tion suc­cess event took place 126,559 times and there were 57,800 Orders (I kept the num­bers sim­i­lar to the pathing num­bers above for sim­plic­ity, but in real­ity these might not match exactly).  This doesn’t mean that the same vis­i­tors per­formed each of these Suc­cess Events in the same ses­sion, it just shows how many of these Suc­cess Events took place in the spec­i­fied time frame.

To get to a Con­ver­sion Fun­nel report, you sim­ply nav­i­gate to a set of met­rics, Pur­chase Met­rics (shown below), Shop­ping Cart Met­rics or Cus­tom Met­rics and click on the item that con­tains Con­ver­sion Funnel:

The truth is that it doesn’t really mat­ter which “Con­ver­sion Fun­nel” link you click on since you can add/remove met­rics as you wish, but the report will default to dif­fer­ent suc­cess event met­rics depend­ing upon which ver­sion you select.

Now that we are begin­ning to under­stand what Con­ver­sion Fun­nels are, why should we care?  The magic of Con­ver­sion Fun­nels lies in the abil­ity to fil­ter them by Con­ver­sion Vari­ables (eVars).  As men­tioned above, it can be a bit chal­leng­ing to view fall-out reports by Cam­paign, Visit Num­ber, City, Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel, etc… but Con­ver­sion Fun­nels come with a built-in abil­ity to fil­ter by any avail­able eVar:

Fil­ter­ing is sim­ply a way for you to tell Site­Cat­a­lyst to show you a dif­fer­ent view of the Con­ver­sion Fun­nel that only shows met­ric counts where the selected eVar con­tained the spec­i­fied value at the time the suc­cess event was set.  The best part of this fea­ture is that you can apply a fil­ter and the book­mark the report or add it to a dash­board and com­pare Con­ver­sion Fun­nels side-by-side.  For exam­ple, you can fil­ter a Con­ver­sion Fun­nel by Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel and see a Paid Search Con­ver­sion Fun­nel next to a Dis­play Ad Con­ver­sion Fun­nel in a dash­board.  Finally, Con­ver­sion Fun­nel reports also pro­vide a slew of con­ver­sion met­rics at the bot­tom of the report which can also be added to dashboards.

Impor­tant Things To Know About Con­ver­sion Fun­nels
The fol­low­ing are some impor­tant things to know about Con­ver­sion Funnels:

  1. You can use the Com­pare to Site fea­ture to see two dif­fer­ent report suite Con­ver­sion Fun­nels side-by-side or two dif­fer­ent date ranges side-by-side
  2. Cal­cu­lated Met­rics can­not be added to Con­ver­sion Fun­nel reports
  3. Con­ver­sion Vari­able (eVar) fil­ter­ing will only apply if the Con­ver­sion Vari­able (eVar) is set before or at the same time as the suc­cess events in the funnel

Have a ques­tion about any­thing related to Omni­ture Site­Cat­a­lyst?  Is there some­thing on your web­site that you would like to report on, but don’t know how?  Do you have any tips or best prac­tices you want to share?  If so, please leave a com­ment here or send me an e-mail at insidesitecatalyst@​omniture.​com and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so every­one can learn! (Don’t worry — I won’t use your name or com­pany name!).  If you are on Twit­ter, you can fol­low me at http://​twit​ter​.com/​O​m​n​i​_​man.

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Hi Adam, thanks for highlighting these reports however, I can't help but think the only real benefit of this report is to display data in a different format than if you went to the individual Conversion Variable report itself. In your example, it seems to me like you would achieve just about the same information by going to your Campaign Type report and adding in the success events "Customer Info", "Billing Info", "Orders" & "Revenue". All that would be missing is the % calculations. What I think would make this report really useful is if it did in fact take into account that the "Billing Info" event occurred after the "Customer Info" event. So it would effectively become a version of the Pathing Fallout report but with filtering options and be based on events rather than pages. Regards, Aaron

Liz Nakamoto
Liz Nakamoto

Hey Adam, I just put a bunch of these reports into a dashboard for my marketing channel managers, and they are going to go bananas!! Per Michael's post above, I used SAINT to classify my campaign tracking codes into channels and it's AWESOME. As always, thanks for the rockin' blog--you and Ben G definitely rank on my list of top-10 reasons not to switch to Google Analytics :) Liz

Sushant Ajmani
Sushant Ajmani

Hi Adam, Thanks for providing your perspective on this topic but, I am not completely convinced with the value prop. Let me explain. Whenever I think about the term conversion funnel, it reminds me of Napolean Russia Tour where, he started with millions of soldeirs and by the time he came back, he left with few thousands. At each stage of the war, he lost a great chunk. Now, if I apply the same analogy to our conversion report, I don't get the same picture because, the 2 checkpoints that you are choosing for your conversion funnel are mutually exclusive. For e.g. Product Views, Cart Open and Checkout Initiation are not getting triggered at the same time. When you choose Product View followe by Cart Open, you expect the adjusted Cart Open number depending on the previous selected checkpoint. Now, take a typical retailer site which recieves 30-35% of traffic from their repeat visitors, and a decent % of these visitors have a non-empty shopping cart which they abandoned in their first visit. At the same time, their is a decent % of traffic on the site comes from Comparison Engines and Affiliate Sites which takes the visitor directly to the Product Pages. I have always seen, a great difference between Product Views and Cart Open and if you are not introducing the pathing component in the funnel, you might be misleading the audience with an overstated or an understated conversion number because, every business is different and especially in this Web 2.0 world where, features like MIni Cart, Quick Lookup, Cross Sells and Product Finders reduces the Product View count in the spirit of faster checkout, you would find business scratching their head. Please correct me on my perception because, I believe if their is no FALLOUT and ADJUSTED numbers at the consecutive checkpoints then, it's not a conversion funnel. I will cover more on this on my blog i.e.

Michael Feiner
Michael Feiner

Hi Adam, Great post. I find the filtering feature in the conversion funnels report extremely valuable when combined with SAINT classifications. It could give a whole new dimension to your analysis. Thanks, Michael