Custom Funnels in Google Analytics Premium

ScottGoogle Analytics Premium0 Comments

One of the coolest functions available to google analytics premium users are custom funnels. Although still a beta feature, Custom Funnels are most definitely functional, useable and most importantly useful! So what makes Custom funnels different from normal goal funnels in Google Analytics?

Regular Goal Funnels

Regular goals funnels in Google Analytics (GA) are based around pages/destinations. They are set up in the Admin>Views>Goals section – similar to below.

goal setup

Note these type of goals must be destination or pageview goals ie events cannot be used (although there is a way around this with virtual pageviews :-)).

Traditional goal funnels are displayed in the Funnel Visualisation Report. The greyed out areas below show the individual page names that people entered this step of the funnel from. Note: in this case users are allowed to enter the funnel after the first step.


funnel visualization

All interesting and useful stuff. However – what do we do if we want to remarket to people who dropped out at step 2? Or what if we wanted to include an event such as a video play as part of the funnel? The Funnel Visualisation report has no functionality to create a segment of users who didn’t complete a step in the funnel. And as we have seen above… each step can only be a page/screen view – not an event. That was until GA Premium introduced custom funnels..

Custom Funnels

Custom Funnels answer both of the question above: they allow you to create segments based off how users interacted with the funnel AND allow you to add in events to the funnel. The really amazing part is that custom funnels are applied historically!! You don’t have to wait around for data to slowly start accumulating in your funnel (which is the case for the regular goal funnels in GA). Instead they will populate instantly, based off the historical data you already have. The possibilities for going back and testing theories or hypothesis are endless. A really interesting bit of functionality that will no doubt see some very interesting solutions by users.

Below I show a custom funnel I setup for all video plays on a site (clearly you would rather look at individual videos here not all videos – but this is just an example – it is easy to set up the below for individual videos or groups of videos…)


Clicking on the red arrows below each step in the funnel allows you to create a segment which you can then use to create a remarketing list.

segment funnel1crop

Remarketing lists are created in the audiences section of the Admin tab in GA. It is extremely easy to create one from a segment you have created and then choose which of your Adwords accounts to link to.

So how do you create a custom funnel? Well its actually very easy. Google has again made things very simple indeed… go to the customisation tab, click on add new custom report – and you will see a new report type option for Funnel (BETA). Click on this option and the funnel layout is presented like below. In order to setup each step of the funnel – you will have to choose a dimension and a value for each dimension in each step of the funnel. For example, below we have chosen Event Action = “Started Watching Video”. Its as simple as that!

setup1 blurred

Fill in each step of the funnel till you get to the last step (Step 5). Yes, there are only five steps available and yes this is a slight downer. but I’m sure everyone can create some interesting results using 5 steps for now. See below for the end of this setup process.

setup2 blurred

And that’s it – you are good to go! I’m really interested to see what custom funnels users come up with in the the next few months.


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