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Explorations in GA4: Funnel Exploration

Khyati Agarwal
Reading Time: 11 minutes
Funnel Exploration in GA

Funnel exploration report is one of the most useful reports in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). It gives us valuable insights into how users interact with your website, be it accomplishing a task like adding a product to a cart, filling out a form, or completing a purchase. 

Insights from GA4 funnel exploration help you map user journeys from once they land on your website to the moment when they complete a desired action. It also reveals opportunities to optimize these journeys by removing unnecessary steps and broken website functionalities. That makes GA4 funnel exploration a must-have report for your marketing analytics.

So, let’s understand exactly what funnel exploration is and explore different types of funnel explorations in GA4. We’ll also walk you through steps to create custom funnel exploration. Read on.

What Is Funnel Exploration in GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) funnel reports are used to track and analyze the conversion process on a website or app. They help us map the steps users take to complete an action on a website. Funnels are essential tools for businesses and website owners to understand user behavior and identify areas for improvement in their online conversion paths.

GA4 has two prebuilt funnel exploration reports: Purchase Journey and Checkout Journey. They are available in the Reports section under Monetization Reports. Besides, you can also create custom funnel explorations.

This is what a funnel exploration report in GA4 looks like:


The above report is a purchase journey exploration. As you can see, the report uses bar graphs to visualize the number of users who perform a particular step. It tells us that out of the total users who started a session, how many viewed a product, added a product to the cart, and completed the purchase. 

You can also see the device category dimension, which shows the type of device visitors use to visit your website. You can select more dimensions such as country, browser, language, etc.

Similarly, checkout journey exploration maps steps users take after initiating the checkout process till the completion of the purchase. Below is the snapshot of the GA4 checkout journey report.


Additional Read: A Complete Guide to Explorations in GA4

What Makes GA4 Funnel Exploration Reports Important

Funnel exploration is mostly used by marketers who manage an e-commerce website and want to map their users’ purchase journeys. But there’s more to funnel exploration. Let’s have a detailed look at how you can use the GA4 funnel exploration report to your advantage.

1. Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking is essential to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. And funnel exploration helps you with conversion tracking. You can use it to map steps users take to complete a conversion, be it signing up for a newsletter, completing a purchase, filling a form, downloading a file, etc.

2. Identify Abandonment Points in Conversion Paths

Not all users who visit your website convert. Few drop off the conversion journey at some point before converting. The journey abandonment point could be a web page, a form, a button, etc. And GA4’s funnel exploration report reveals these drop-off points. 

Equipped with this valuable insight, you can review these points and identify what issues cause users to bounce. Whether it is a poorly designed web page, broken link, or confusing checkout process, you can take steps to fix them.

3. Optimize User Journeys

Funnel exploration visualizes all steps users take to complete a conversion. You get exact numbers for each successful movement to consecutive steps. It allows you to review your conversion path, identify issues with the path, and optimize it to reduce friction in the conversion journey. 

4. A/B Test Your Website Structure

Marketers generally have multiple website designs in their mind. So, they A/B test them on various parameters to pick the one that performs the best. You can use funnel exploration to test different designs and structures to see which generates more conversion. So, instead of relying on intuition, you have data to back your decision.

Additional Read: Everything You Need to Know About Data Sampling in GA4

Creating a Funnel Exploration Report in GA4

Let’s create a custom funnel exploration in GA4 from scratch. We want to make a funnel exploration that will show us the count of users who started a session and viewed a product and went on to purchase it. 

Our funnel will have four steps tracking an event corresponding to each step, like session_start, item_viewed, add_to_cart, and purchase. So, let’s begin.

Step 1. Log in to your Google Analytics 4 property.

Step 2. Head over to the navigation menu on the left side of your screen and click Explore.


Step 3. Now click on the Funnel exploration template. 


Step 4. You should see a screen with three tabs – Variables, Settings, and Report tab.

  • The variables tab is where you’ll select your report’s date range, segments, dimensions, and metrics. 
  • The settings tab lets you pick the steps of the funnel, create segments, and use dimensions to break down your report further.
  • The tab on the right-hand side of the screen is your funnel exploration report.

Step 5. The report we are seeing is the default funnel exploration template. However, we want to create a custom report to track different steps and events. For that, we’ll head over to the Steps section in the Settings tab and remove every existing step by clicking x icon.


Step 6. Now that we have a clean slate, let’s create a custom funnel exploration. Click the Pen icon in front of the Steps section and move on to the next step.

Step 7. In the Edit funnel steps overlay, we’ll name the first step as Session Started. Then, click Add new condition > Events > session_start


Step 8. Now, to add the next step of the funnel, i.e., Item Viewed, click the Add step option. Then, name the step and click Add new condition > Events > item_viewed.

Similarly, add the last two steps. For the third step, pick the add_to_cart event. And for the fourth step, select the purchase event. 


Step 9. You must have noticed the little clock icon in each step. Click it, and you get a toggle to enable the Time Constraint option. 


Here, you can set the time period within which the next step must take place for it to be included in your funnel.


Step 10. Once you have configured all the steps and set the time constraint. Click Apply and your GA4 funnel exploration report is ready.


We can see that around 99,725 users started a new session, out of which only 3,046 reached the end of our funnel, i.e., completed a purchase. You can also see that the report uncovers metrics like:

  • Users, i.e., the exact count of users at each step. In brackets, they are also conveyed as percent of step 1.
  • Abandonment rate, i.e., percentage of users who dropped off the funnel at a given step.
  • Abandonments, i.e., the exact number of abandonments at each step.
  • Completion rate, i.e., percentage of users who complete a given step.

A key takeaway from this report is that the third step in our funnel, i.e., Add to Cart, has the highest abandonment rate. It shows that many customers drop off the funnel at this step. It is a sign for us to review our checkout page and see if it has any issues like poor design, complicated forms, etc.

Additional Read: Learn to Use Standard Reports of GA4

Funnel Exploration: Use Cases

We can further tweak the settings of our funnel exploration to gain more granular insights. Let’s have a look at some settings for GA4 funnel exploration.

1. Visualization

The funnel exploration report we created so far uses the standard funnel visualization. It uses a bar graph to visualize the total number of active users at each step. But we also have an alternate visualization for our exploration. 

Head over to the Settings tab, click the drop-down menu for Visualization, and select Trended funnel. The trended funnel uses a line graph to visualize active users’ data for each step.


Trended funnel report has multiple sections. The All section is where you see multiple line graphs for every step in the user journey. Apart from that, each step you add to your funnel gets a separate section where you only see a line chart for that very step.


2. Segment Comparisons

We can also segment data for users at every step using segments. By default, you’ll see segments like country name and traffic type in the Segments section of the Variables tab. 


Drag the desired option and drop to the Segment Comparisons section of the Settings tab. Here, we have created a segment showing users who either brought organic traffic or paid traffic.


We can see that the report now has two bar graphs for each step. The blue one shows direct traffic, while the violet bar shows paid traffic. We can also see metrics like abandonments, abandonment rate, etc., for these traffic types.

You can also build new segments other than the default options. Click the + icon next to the Segments section of the Variables tab. 


It will open an overlay called Build New Segment. Here, you can either create a custom segment or pick one from the categories like General, Shopping, Templates, and Predictive.


3. Breakdown

As the name suggests, the breakdown option in GA4 reports breaks down the data into subgroups. All you have to do is pick a dimension from the Dimensions section of the Variables tab and drop it in the Breakdown section of the Settings tab.


Here, we have used the Device category dimension to break down active users’ data based on their device type. 


You can see that most visitors use the desktop to visit our website. We can also see that most abandonments are from users on mobile devices, tablets, and smart TVs. It may be a sign that the website isn’t optimized for these devices, which hinders user experience and forces them to drop off their purchase journey. 

4. Filters

We can also filter data of our funnel exploration report. Again, we’ll use a dimension to create a filter. Click the + icon below Filters, and pick a dimension. 

We want to filter data for American visitors. We will pick the Country dimension, specify the filter’s condition as Exactly matches, and set United States as the expression. Hit Apply, and we’ll have data for visitors from United States in our funnel.


5. Open Funnel

The funnel report that we have created is a closed funnel. What does it mean? A closed funnel only shows users who enter at the first step in the funnel. 

Suppose your funnel has three steps – 1, 2, and 3. A closed funnel will only include users who start at Step 1. They won’t be counted if they enter the funnel at step 2 or 3. This type of funnel is helpful when you want users to not only accomplish a task but also use the specified path to accomplish it.

On the contrary, an open funnel shows data for users who enter at any step in the funnel. Let’s again take the example of a 3-step funnel with steps 1, 2, and 3. An open funnel will also include users entering the funnel at steps 2 and 3, not just step 1. 

It helps us analyze data for even those users who may skip a step in our funnel. Closed funnel exploration should be used when task completion takes precedence, regardless of users’ path.

Simply toggle the Make Open Funnel button in the Settings tab of your funnel exploration, and your open funnel report will be ready. Your report will now divide the user count into new funnel entries and continuing funnel entries.


New funnel entries are the users who enter at that step, skipping the previous steps. However, the continuing funnel entries are users who arrive at a particular step after completing the previous step. 

6. Show Elapsed Time

The Time Elapsed setting in GA4 funnel exploration is a function that allows you to show the average time elapsed between funnel steps. 

While Universal Analytics calculated the time between page views, GA4 lets you see the time elapsed between user actions on your site. This can help you understand how long it takes for users to complete a task or goal and where they might experience delays or difficulties.

You can enable the Show elapsed time option in the Settings tab of your report. Once enabled, your report will add a column for elapsed time below the visualization.


Additional Read: 10 Ways GA4 is Better than UA

Wrapping Up

Funnel exploration report in GA4 lets you map how users interact with your website. You can visualize the steps users take toward a conversion. The report also shows how many users abandon their conversion journey and how many users complete it. 

The insights from this report also help you identify issues with your website that may force users to bounce, be it design, structure, or any technical issue. That makes GA4 funnel exploration an essential report for your marketing analytics.

A serious marketing analytics workflow needs few tools other than Google Analytics. One such tool is EasyInsights, a complete no-code marketing analytics platform.

EasyInsights allows you to automate data collection from over 50 sources, including CRMs, email automation tools, data analytics tools, etc., under one roof. You can clean and transform this data and export it to any BI tool for visualization.

Visit the EasyInsights website and book a demo today!

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