Something Not Right with the Google Analytics Navigation Summary Report? This post will give you a comprehensive understanding of the Navigation Summary report. Points covered include:
- What is the “Navigation Summary” Report in Google Analaytics?
- What Insights Does the Navigation Summary Report Provide?
- Why Don’t the Percentages Add up to 100%?
- How to VIEW ALL the Previous and Next Page Views
- What is “&limit=”
- Export the Navigation Summary Report
- Turn the Percentages into Page Views
- Important Note about Calculating Next Pageviews
- Redundant Issues with the Google Analytics Navigation Summary Report
The Navigation Summary report shows you which Pages Visitors were on prior to arriving on a certain Page and where they went afterwards. Additionally, the Navigation Summary report shows you – for what percentage of your Visitors that Page was a Landing or Exit Page.
The Navigation Summary report can identify;
- if visitors are reaching a page the way you would expect them to
- for how many visitors this page was an Entrance point to your website
- if visitors are going where you would expect them to
- if something is unnecessarily distracting them from the purchase funnel
This report is extremely useful for observing the effectiveness of your landing pages. I recommend printing out a copy of the Navigation Summary report for your landing page; look at the report and look at your actual landing page. Take note of where people went, are there unnecessary links, ads or images on your landing page? Are they taking your visitor away from the desired action (purchase, subscribe, download, view more, etc)? Maybe changing the order of the links will increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) to your desired goal. Use your intuition and inquisitiveness to figure out why people do certain things on your website, and whether it’s of benefit to you to change things around. I’ll focus on this topic at a later date… For now I want you to know interpret the Navigation Summary report correctly. Below is an example of what the navigation summary report looks like.
If you look at the screenshot above:
- The total sum of the Previous Pages + Entrances only adds up to 55%
- The total sum of the Next Pages + Exits only adds up to 35%
If you’ve noticed the same issue in your reports, the good news is that you’re not going crazy… by default Google Analytics doesn’t report all the Previous and Next pages, because it could literally display up to thousands of pages. For many Google Analytics users, all that information is unnecessary and distracting, if however that information is necessary for you – read on
How to View ALL the Previous and Next Pages in the Navigation Summary report
First click on the URL and go to the very end, you will see something similar to the following:
Secondly, delete the #lts1234567890987 (whatever number the number is) and replace it with &limit=1000 so it looks a little something like this:
Hit enter and wait for the page to reload
What is this “&limit=1000” stuff? When you export the Navigation Report into a spreadsheet (explained shortly), it will display up to 1000 Previous and Next Pages. If you have more than 1000 pages to look at, you can change that number to 2000, 5000, etc. This will then display up to 2000, 5000, etc, Previous and Next Pages
After you hit Enter and the page has reloaded, you will still see the same report you saw previously. Next Click on ‘Export’ and then ‘CSV’, NOT ‘CSV for Excel’.
Open the file and behold all the missing Previous and Next Pages
Want to know exactly how many people came from or went to a certain page, instead of just the percentages? We know there were a total of 3363 page views in our example. The numbers in column B represent a percentage. For example, 0.01553 = 1.55%. In column C multiply the percentage by the Total Page Views. In the example below, 0.01553 x 3363 to calculate Entrances.
If you don’t see a whole number for your visits, don’t worry about it. To simplify things… round the numbers up/down to nearest whole.
Yes. Entrances + Previous Pages = Total Page Views. Exits + Next Pages = Total Page Views. -
In the screenshot above, you can see in Column C I have multiplied the Percentage figure in column B by Total Page Views. Additionally I’ve rounded everything into whole numbers. When I go to the end of Previous Page summary and do a total count of the visits, the number adds up to 3311 which is exactly what it is in the overview of the Navigation Summary (see screenshot above). In other words, things add up perfectly. -
When calculating Next Page visits, DO NOT multiply the percentages in column by total page views. Instead multiply them by total Next Pages (Total Page Views minus Exits). See the screenshot below for an example.
Below is a list of a some known issues with the Navigational Summary in Google Analytics that are no longer an issue. I thought it was worthwhile to mention these, just in case you’re pulling your hair out.
In the Navigation Summary, why does it show 0% for Exits
For a little while, you may have noticed that in the Navigation Summary, Exits were always 0%. However, when looking at the Content Detail it was something different. This was simply a bug and the issue is now resolved.
Why does the Same Page show up as the Previous and Next Pages?
Of late, I noticed these occurrences to be interpreted as Entrance (when looking at the Navigation Summary report). In other words, reloading the page = Entrance, when looking at the Navigational Summary. When you look at the Top Landing Pages (A.K.A a list of top Entrance points for your website), don’t be surprised if the number of Entrances in this report is less than what is displayed in the Navigational Summary. I know, I know… Mind bending stuff. But that’s what Google had to do, to avoid the same page being displayed as the Previous and Next Page.
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