What Are the Best Practices for Setting Up and Interpreting Funnels in Google Analytics to Understand How Exit Pages Affect Conversion Rates?


Setting up and interpreting funnels in Google Analytics requires careful configuration and analysis to understand how exit pages impact conversion rates. The process involves defining conversion goals, creating and visualizing funnel steps, analyzing exit rates, and taking action based on data insights. Follow these best practices to ensure accurate data and actionable insights.

Defining Conversion Goals

The first step in setting up funnels in Google Analytics is defining clear and actionable conversion goals. Goals can range from completing a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

To define goals in Google Analytics:

  • Navigate to the Admin panel.
  • Select the desired account and view.
  • Go to Goals under the View column.
  • Click + New Goal.
  • Follow the setup steps and specify the goal details.

These goals will be fundamental in creating your funnels and understanding user behavior on your website.

Creating and Visualizing Funnels

Funnels are a series of web pages or steps that you expect users to follow to complete a goal. Setting up a funnel helps to identify where users drop off before completing the conversion.

To create a funnel:

  • While setting up a goal, enable the Funnel option.
  • Add the URL path for each step of the funnel.
  • Ensure the sequence of steps matches the user journey.

Once the funnel is created, visualize it through the Funnel Visualization report. This can be accessed via Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization.

Analyzing Exit Rates

Analyzing exit rates is crucial to understanding where users are leaving the funnel and not completing conversions. An exit rate indicates the percentage of users who leave your site from a particular page.

To analyze exit rates:

  • Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages.
  • Look for pages with high exit rates.
  • Compare these pages to the steps in your funnel to see if they correspond to high drop-off points.

High exit rates on key funnel steps can indicate user experience issues, content gaps, or barriers to conversion.

Taking Action Based on Data

After identifying high-exit pages, take actionable steps to optimize these points in the funnel. This can include:

Use A/B testing to validate changes and see which adjustments lead to improved conversion rates.

Specific Examples

Example 1: E-commerce Site

For an e-commerce site, a funnel might include:

  1. Product Page
  2. Add to Cart
  3. Checkout
  4. Payment
  5. Order Confirmation

By tracking this funnel, you can identify if users are exiting at the checkout stage due to complicated forms or unexpected costs.

Example 2: SaaS Application

For a SaaS application, a funnel might include:

  1. Homepage
  2. Product Features Page
  3. Pricing Page
  4. Sign-Up Form
  5. Thank You Page

Analyzing this funnel can help identify if users are exiting on the Pricing Page and might indicate a need to clarify pricing models or offer a trial period.


Setting up and interpreting funnels in Google Analytics is essential for understanding user behavior and optimizing conversion rates. By defining clear goals, creating structured funnels, analyzing exit rates, and making data-driven changes, businesses can effectively reduce drop-offs and improve overall performance.