Can I use events to set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics?

The short answer to this question is NO, unfortunately, but we’ll show you how it’s possible to work around this below!

Conversions funnels within Google Analytics can be an extremely useful tool to identify where the biggest friction points in your funnel are. If you run an e-commerce site this would likely be within your checkout funnel, or this could be used even just for lead generation funnels.

Further, the nice thing about creating your funnel tracking in Google Analytics is the fact that you can break down this performance by all the dimensions Google Analytics has out of the box. The most obvious ones are traffic source, but you could also break things down by geography, devices, or demographic data. If you notice, for instance, that you are losing a bunch of people on the payment page of your funnel, you can also look at your conversion funnel by device and discover that your mobile conversion loss on that step is much higher than desktop. Then you may decide to add Apple Pay or PayPal to improve the payment conversion for mobile users.

Now that we’ve established the value of setting up these funnels within Google Analytics, let’s talk about how to get it done. The most basic implementation of these funnels is using the url slug for each step in the funnel. So let’s say you have a /cart page, a /checkout page, a /shipping page, and a /payment page. If you have your site set up this way it will be super easy to set up your funnels simply by adding those URLs into the goal set up within the admin section of Google Analytics.

To get there, just navigate to admin in Google Analyitcs, then click Goals and start to create your Goal. You will have to set the goal “Type” to “Destination” if you want to build a funnel. Unfortunately Google Analytics does not support building a funnel around an event as a goal type.

set up goal funnels in google analytics

Once you select destination, you would be able to to turn on the “Funnel” toggle (seen below) and you can enter your url steps one by one to build out your funnel.

assign your funnel steps to url slugs

Once you set this up, your funnel data should start to appear in the “Funnel Visualization” option in the side nav under Conversions > Goals in Google Analytics.

Unfortunately setting up your analytics is rarely this straightforward and Google Analytics is surprisingly not flexible around letting you set up these funnels based on the events you are passing into their platform. However, if you are firing events into Google Analytics for certain steps in your funnel, we use a super simple hack to visualize this funnel outside of Google Analytics.

Simply pick a date range you want to look at, and export all the events you want to see into a CSV. Then you can filter out the events you don’t care about and you can create a calculation in Excel or Google Sheets to see how much you are losing at each step. It’s not the ideal way to use events to create a funnel in Google Analytics, but it should give you the data you need.

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