Ask DN: Best way to visualize traffic funnels?

6 years ago from , UX Designer

Hey DN!

We're currently improving the way we measure traffic in the project I'm working on, and want better funnel visualization.

Any suggestions on the best tools for this? Google Analytics is a mess, and Hotjar doesn't work the way it should (at least for me)...

Happy to hear how you folks do these kind of measurements :)


Just discovered that Google Analytics offers a better funnel visualization... in their paid (and pricy) Analytics360


  • James FutheyJames Futhey, 6 years ago

    I designed funnels for an enterprise-analytics product earlier this year. I was quite dissatisfied with most of the visualizations in most of the tools I used (even though most tools are really good). However, Amplitude had pretty good visualization of discrete event funnels (and, they have flows and pathfinder analysis as well).

    The left -> right visualization is important for two reasons:

    1. Data scientists usually use a line chart to plot a retention cohort or a linear representation of data points over time. So a technical audience is already conditioned to this.
    2. Most people are looking for “dropoff”, which is only visually present in a left->right bar chart visualization (it's in the negative space above each bar).

    TLDR; I would recommend giving Amplitude a try!

    3 points
  • Jack HallahanJack Hallahan, 6 years ago

    I'm not a data expert but I have some thoughts on this.

    If you're looking to affect change rather than just report on what's happening, try to reduce down the raw numbers down to a more useful metric.

    The raw numbers can be a vanity metric, or even worse, they can give a sense of overall success while masking problems such as:

    • haemorrhaging users at a problematic step in the funnel

    • a slowing rate of growth

    • a decreasing overall completion rate – growth at the top of the funnel is faster than growth at the bottom (this can be a sign of marketing reaching a poor audience)

    For example, if you want to increase the conversion between particular steps in the funnel, show the calculated conversion rate and its change over time (or a comparison to a previous period).

    If the number of users completing the funnel is growing, and you want to achieve a "hockey stick"/exponential growth curve, plot the growth rate and change over time.

    If the funnel is experienced over a longer timespan (eg product onboarding and activation), compare cohorts of users to help pinpoint which product changes impacted the conversion rates.

    Most of all, avoid the traditional funnel-shaped visualisation. The weird shapes obscure a viewer's ability to understand the data at a glance. Stick to bar charts to show discrete steps, numbers to show important values, and line charts to show values changing over time. And remember to add goals or thresholds to give the numbers meaning.

    2 points
    • Daniel Fosco, 6 years ago

      These are really good points! This is particular is something that never occurred me before:

      • a decreasing overall completion rate – growth at the top of the funnel is faster than growth at the bottom (this can be a sign of marketing reaching a poor audience)

      More than the funnel “shape”, though, I'm looking for a way to clearly visualize drop-offs in each point of our main flow. Will take all of these in consideration while building our dashboards, thanks a lot!

      0 points
  • Bruno MarinhoBruno Marinho, 6 years ago

    Most important thing on funnel visualization is to correctly track things that you want to measure.

    https://mixpanel.com/funnels/ seems more optimized to visualize funnels than GA but ultimately you could just grab the raw data (assuming that you track it) and plot it into a spreadsheet for visualization.

    1 point
    • Daniel Fosco, 6 years ago

      Tracking with Google Analytics is OK enough for me, only the visualization that is still subpar for some things. I've looked into MixPanel, but have been avoiding it because I know it's really huge and I want to reduce the amount of tools we're interacting with.

      Thanks for the tips :)

      0 points
  • Surjith S MSurjith S M, 6 years ago


    0 points