The ideal customer is someone who moves through the conversion funnel with little friction–they view your website, click on your CTAs, and dive head-first into your desired action. Done!

Unfortunately, real-world customers aren’t like that. Sure, some may convert into repeat customers without much pushing, but most will need convincing that you are the #1 solution to their problem.

Conversion funnel analysis is all about identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your conversion funnel. It’s the backbone of optimization, which is what you need to do to turn every lead into the ideal customer.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about conversion funnel analysis, the steps involved, key metrics to track, best practices to follow, and much more.

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What is a Conversion Funnel and Why is it Important?

A conversion funnel maps out the journey a potential customer goes through, from becoming aware of your product or service to making a purchase or completing a desired action. It’s typically visualized as a funnel because, at each stage, some users drop off, leaving a smaller, more interested group moving closer to conversion.

Why Are Conversion Funnels Important?

The conversion funnel is crucial in any business because it helps you understand how effectively you’re turning prospects into paying customers. More specifically, the conversion funnel:

  • Identifies Bottlenecks: Analyzing where potential customers drop off can help you identify and address the obstacles or bottlenecks that prevent conversions, improving the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
  • Improves Customer Experience: Having a deeper understanding of the conversion funnel allows you to optimize each stage of the customer journey, ensuring a smoother and more engaging experience that can lead to higher satisfaction and sales conversion rates.
  • Increases ROI on Marketing Spend: By focusing efforts on the most impactful areas of the funnel, your business can allocate its marketing budget more efficiently, achieving better results for the same or lower investment.
  • Helps in Segmenting and Targeting: Conversion funnel analysis can reveal insights about different customer segments and related user behavior, allowing for more targeted and personalized marketing strategies.
  • Drives Strategic Decisions: You can use insights from conversion funnel analysis for wider business and marketing strategies, leading to more informed decisions that align with customer needs and preferences.

The Elements of a Conversion Funnel

The traditional conversion funnel can be divided into several stages, including awareness, interest, desire, and action (or conversion), also known as the AIDA funnel. Here’s a summary of each stage in the traditional sales funnel:

Awareness Stage

This is where potential customers first learn about your product or service. They might stumble upon your brand through search engines, social media, or word of mouth. Think of it as casting a wide net to capture as much attention as possible.

Interest Stage

Now that you’ve got their attention, it’s time to pique their interest. Through engaging content, targeted ads, and compelling storytelling, you start to nurture a relationship with your audience, encouraging them to learn more about what you offer.

Desire Stage

Interest evolves into desire when customers start to see your product or service as a solution to their problem. Also known as the consideration phase, this stage is all about convincing them that what you offer is not just desirable but also superior to your competitors.

Conversion

The final leap — conversion. This is where interested parties become paying customers or take the desired action, such as subscribing to a newsletter or making a purchase. The key here is to make this step as seamless and frictionless as possible.

AIDA marketing model

What is Conversion Funnel Analysis?

Conversion funnel analysis is a detailed examination of the steps a potential customer takes from the interest stage down to the last stage—action.

It’s like putting the customer journey under a microscope to understand where, why, and how prospects move through each phase of the conversion funnel, as well as where they might drop off without converting.

How to Conduct Conversion Funnel Analysis

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Conversion funnels are invaluable tools in any type of business, but their functionality only truly comes out when you analyze and optimize them. Let’s take a look at a standard flow of conversion funnel analysis:

Track the customer journey and identify touchpoints

First, map out the path potential customers take from the moment they spot your brand until they either buy something or drop off the funnel. Then, identify the touchpoints or specific interactions site visitors make in each funnel stage.

Let’s use Company X as a conversion funnel analysis example. Company X is a typical e-commerce site that sells eco-friendly cleaning products, targeting middle-class households that want more sustainable options for household goods.

Company X’s marketers review the customer journey and identify the following key touchpoints:

  • Landing page
  • Product page
  • Shopping cart
  • Checkout page

To keep this simple, we’ll say that 1,000 people visited Company X’s website. Of those 1,000:

  • 500 people viewed a product (50%)
  • 250 of those 500 people added an item to their shopping cart (25% of all visitors)
  • Of those 250 people, only 50 made a purchase (5% of all visitors)

In this example, the analysis revealed that the company’s conversion rate is only 5%. Now, where are most of the prospective customers dropping off?

Look at the first touchpoint: the landing page. Company X is losing 50% of its total visitors at this first stage. They’re aware of the brand but are not interested enough to explore further.

Pinpoint friction points

Now that we know which stage of the funnel has the highest drop-off rate, the next step is to dive deeper into the details. This is where web analytics tools come in.

Using analytics tools to track how users interact with your website or app, you can identify stages in the funnel where significant drop-offs occur. Users dropping off may indicate areas where they encounter confusion, dissatisfaction, or other barriers to conversion.

Let’s go back to Company X. The marketers use heat maps and session recordings to figure out why potential customers are exiting the website before viewing the product page. They find the following data:

  • Of the 500 people who did not click on the product page, 200 clicked out before the page could load (the loading time was more than 2.5 seconds, based on session recordings)
  • 100 of those people were on mobile devices and showed frustration navigating the mobile version of the website
  • 100 clicked other pages (About, Blog, etc.) but exited after viewing one page

From this data, we can identify potential frustration points:

  • Slow loading times
  • Lack of mobile device optimization
  • Poor engagement, lack of valuable content, bland CTAs

Segment customers based on how and where they convert

Segmenting customers based on how and where they convert is a strategy that involves analyzing the different pathways customers take throughout your company’s conversion funnel.

This approach acknowledges that not all customers progress on the same journey to conversion. Some might discover your product through social media ads and make a purchase directly from those ads, while others might prefer to engage with your content through newsletters before deciding to buy.

By identifying these patterns, you can categorize customers into distinct groups according to their preferred conversion channels and consumer behaviors. This allows for more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

Going back to our sales funnel example: After figuring out frustration points that are causing 50% of web visitors to bounce after only viewing the landing page, Company X looks at the customers they do convert with their current sales cycle:

Using funnel analysis tools, the marketers determine their key traffic sources:

  • 50% of converted customers came from social media
  • 40% came from a cold email marketing campaign
  • 10% came from organic searches

From this data, Company X tailors its marketing efforts to:

  • Improve SEO to encourage more traffic through organic searches
  • Maintain the strength and further optimize social media and email campaign strategies

Visualize the flow of customers in all funnel stages

This step involves creating a visual representation or diagram that tracks the customer journey. It allows you to see not just the path customers take but also how they progress through all the conversion funnel stages.

To do this effectively, you might use flowcharts, diagrams, or digital analytics tools that can map customer journeys. These visual tools help you identify where the majority of potential buyers enter the funnel, the steps they take as they move through it, and crucially, where you might be losing them along the way.

Company X does just that by creating a flowchart of their customer journey based on conversion funnel analysis. The marketers then use this flowchart as a bird’s eye view of the entire conversion funnel, making it easier to strategize their optimization efforts.

Perform funnel optimization

After conversion funnel analysis, the next step is optimization. Performing funnel optimization involves a series of strategic actions aimed at improving the flow of customers through your conversion funnel, enhancing their experience at each stage, and ultimately increasing the number of conversions.

In other words, conversion funnel optimization is all about making it as easy and appealing as possible for potential customers to move from initial awareness to taking a desired action. In a way, this step is also conversion rate optimization, since it aims to convert as many potential buyers as possible.

5 Best Practices for Funnel Optimization

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Conducting conversion funnel analysis would be a waste without following it with optimization strategies. Different businesses have varying methods of optimizing their conversion funnels, but here’s a general guide that should apply to most companies:

1. Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs)

Before diving into conversion funnel optimization, you need to know what success looks like. KPIs are your compass here. These may include:

  • Conversion Rate: Perhaps the most direct measure of your funnel’s effectiveness, conversion rates track the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action out of the total number of visitors. It gives a clear picture of how well your funnel is performing at turning visitors into customers.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): This measures how often people who see your ad or email actually click on it. A high CTR indicates that your messages are compelling and relevant to your audience, driving them further down the funnel.
  • Bounce Rate: The bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate could indicate that your landing pages are not engaging or relevant enough to encourage further exploration of your site.
  • Average Order Value (AOV): For e-commerce sites, AOV tracks the average amount spent each time a customer places an order. By increasing this value, you’re not just converting users; you’re maximizing the revenue from each conversion.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV predicts the total value your business can expect from a single customer throughout their relationship with you. It helps you understand how valuable different customer segments are and how much you can afford to spend to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
  • Lead-to-Customer Ratio: This KPI measures the efficiency of your conversion process by comparing the number of leads to the number of actual customers. It can help identify how effective your nurturing strategies are in moving leads through the funnel.
  • Cart Abandonment Rate: Particularly important for e-commerce sites, this metric measures the percentage of shoppers who add items to their cart but leave without completing the purchase. It can highlight issues in the checkout process that need to be addressed.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): CPA calculates the cost of acquiring a new customer, taking into account all the marketing and advertising expenses. It’s crucial for understanding the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts.
  • Pageviews Per Visit: This indicates the number of pages a visitor views during a single session. More pageviews can suggest higher user engagement and interest in your content, which could lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Time on Site: The average amount of time visitors spend on your site. Longer times can indicate more engaging content or more interest in your product, both of which are positive signs for potential conversion.

Note that some KPIs may not apply to companies in all life stages. For example, startups might want to focus on pageviews per visit or time on site to understand their target audience better, while more mature companies may prioritize cost per acquisition.

Plus, different types of companies may follow different sales funnels, e.g., SaaS funnels vs. e-commerce conversion funnels.

2. Set clear goals for each conversion funnel stage

Different stages of your marketing funnel have certain purposes. By setting specific, measurable goals for each stage, you can tailor your strategies to guide customers smoothly from one stage to the next.

For example, your goal for the awareness stage might be to increase website traffic by 20%, while for the conversion stage, it might be to improve the checkout process to boost conversions by 15%.

3. Use data to improve marketing strategies

What is your conversion funnel analysis telling you? Dive into the numbers to understand how users are interacting with your funnel. Are there particular pages where visitors drop off? Are some marketing channels bringing in more qualified leads than others? Perhaps a conversion point you’re missing?

By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions to tweak your customer journey map, content, design, and marketing tactics to better meet your audience’s needs.

4. Leverage web analytics for conversion funnel optimization

Tools like FullSession offer a wealth of information about how users navigate your site. Use these insights to identify bottlenecks in your funnel and make targeted improvements to enhance the user experience and increase conversions.

5. Re-analyze and reiterate

Conversion funnel optimization isn’t a one-time deal. Consumer behavior changes, new trends emerge, and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly review your funnel’s performance, re-analyze your data, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

This ongoing process ensures that your funnel stays as efficient and effective as possible, helping you to continuously improve your conversion rates over time.

Grow Your Conversion Rates with FullSession

Creating an effective conversion funnel is the best way to turn even the coldest lead into a paying customer. However, with the steps we’ve outlined above, the process can seem overwhelming.

The fact is, that conversion funnel analysis and optimization is a complicated process. The good news is that there are plenty of tools that can help you analyze the user journey and conversion path.

Start with the best of the best: FullSession. FullSession is a web and funnel analysis tool that provides valuable insights into your target audience and existing visitors. It gives you the perfect toolbelt for maximizing your conversion rate, including tools like:

FullSession Pricing Plans

FullSession pricing plan

The FullSession platform offers a 14-day free trial. It provides two paid plans—Basic and Business. Here are more details on each plan.

  1. The Basic plan costs $39/month and allows you to monitor up to 5,000 monthly sessions.
  2. The Business plan costs $149/month and helps you to track and analyze up to 25,000 monthly sessions.
  3. The Enterprise plan starts from 100,000 monthly sessions and has custom pricing.

If you need more information, you can get a demo.

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FAQs About Conversion Funnel Analysis

How often should I analyze my conversion funnel?

Regular analysis is key. Aim for at least quarterly reviews, or more frequently if you’re actively testing new strategies. You can even conduct micro-conversion funnel analysis in more frequent intervals.

Can conversion funnel analysis be applied to any business?

Absolutely! Any business that benefits from understanding customer behavior and optimizing conversions can leverage conversion funnel analysis.

What tools are essential for conversion funnel analysis?

Web analytics tools like FullSession are fundamental. FullSession has heat mapping tools and customer feedback platforms that can also provide invaluable insights.

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