Getting to Know Custom Funnels | DMA

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Getting to Know Custom Funnels


For those who have Google Analytics Premium accounts, or those interested in signing up for Premium, this Premium-only beta feature from Google allows you to include different types of hit data in the same funnel. Analysing pageviews, events, and transactions all in one place is now easier than ever before!

The Fundamentals of Custom Funnels

First and foremost, Custom Funnels enable you to visualise the steps your users take to complete a task and quickly gauge how and where they are succeeding, or failing, at each step in your process.

Be warned though, Custom Funnels are currently only available in Google Analytics Premium for users who have signed up to, and been approved for, the beta. I’m afraid if you don’t have Google Analytics Premium, or have no interest in signing up for Premium, then this feature is currently unavailable to you. If this ever gets released outside of Premium, we’ll be sure to write about it!

The Custom Funnel integration is activated at the property level, however Custom Funnels themselves are created at, and use data from, the view level. This means you only have to submit one beta request in order to use the full range of data across all of your views under that individual property. You cannot however, use different datasets from different views in the same funnel.

In order to sign up for the beta, please speak to your Google Analytics Premium reseller, which may very well be us, or speak to your Premium relationship manager at Google directly.

What's So Good About Custom Funnels?

Flexibility and efficiency!

Custom Funnels allow users to dig deeper into processes taking place on their website, gain clearer, more actionable insights, and achieve a new level of granularity that previously would have been much harder and more time consuming to obtain. As a basic example, we can take a look at the flow between Home Page pageviews, Thank You pages, and Thank You events in the following funnel. In this instance, the Thank You pages and the Thank You events are used in two separate goals and as such we want to analyse the discrepancy between the two.

Periscopix Custom Funnel

The funnel now gives us the number of sessions with a Thank You page pageview and the number of sessions with a Thank You event. We can of course obtain these numbers by using the number of Unique Pageviews or Unique Events that are available to us in the Reporting section of Google Analytics, however we now have these side by side, and can add even more!

Analysing the Funnel

The first thing to be aware of when analysing a Custom Funnel is that the date range applied is retrospective, meaning that the funnel configuration is applied to data that has already been collected by your tracking and processed in GA.

We can apply segments to our Custom Funnels to return something akin to the following. Just note that the Segment acts as a filter for the first stage of the funnel.

Periscopix Custom Funnel New Users Segment

Once you’ve set your date range correctly, and applied any segments you might wish to use, you can now analyse and digest the performance of the process set out in the funnel: highlighting overachieving areas; further investigating underperformers; analysing an ecommerce checkout, or anything else you may desire.

So now we can also take it one step further and use a great feature of Custom Funnels, which is to create Segments or Remarketing Audiences with one click! Simply hover over the area of the funnel you wish to segment or remarket to, and then click on either Create new segment or Create new segment and remarket. Simple! Using this, we can create a segment of sessions who saw a Thank You page, but didn’t trigger the Thank You event, apply that segment in other reports in Google Analytics and decipher where those sessions went to instead of triggering the event.

Periscopix Custom Funnel One Click Segments

A great use case for Custom Funnels is for ecommerce websites where the URL doesn’t contain information on the product(s) purchased. In these instances we can use Custom Dimensions in the Custom Funnel report to look at differences in funnel behaviour between sessions that purchased different products.

All we do to set this up is to set a session level cookie to describe the product name when a user adds to basket. Then, when the user navigates to the basket page or payment details page, we do a look up against the cookie value and set it as a Custom Dimension to match what is in the basket.

We can then use that Custom Dimension in the Custom Funnel to describe the checkout process for a user who bought product A rather than product B. We could use the exact same process to also check that the Custom Dimension is being set correctly, and at the right stage of the checkout journey.


1. We can finally include events and other non-pageview hits, as funnel steps!

2. We can instantly segment or remarket to users we lose from the funnel.

3. We can create up to 100 custom reports, which gives us more room to play with than the 20 goals per view Google Analytics provides.

4. We can apply segments to a Custom Funnel, meaning we no longer have to use the Goal Flow report, which usually incurs a high level of sampling.


1. Custom Funnels is only available to Google Analytics Premium accounts.

2. We are unable to see where users exited the funnel to in the same report. To see this we can one-click create a segment and apply it to another report in Google Analytics.

3. We cannot compare against previous date ranges.

4. Custom Funnels are limited to 5 rules per stage, and 5 stages per funnel.

5. DoubleClick data cannot be split into post-click and post-view.

6. No email/export functionality – however there is a shareable link option available.

7. Custom Funnels are subject to the same data sampling rules as other custom reports.

Periscopix are a Google Analytics Certified Partner and a Google Analytics Premium Authorised Reseller, offering expertise across the entire Google Analytics 360 suite. To read this blog written by Jamie Cluett on the Periscopix website, please click here.

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