I was having difficulties understanding some of the changes that were made to the Navigation Summary report in Google Analytics lately, specifically the numbers in the Next Page Path section. So here’s the explanation of all the numbers there:
Let’s get the main numbers first:
The home page of our sample website received a total of 8,817 pageviews and 40.08% Exit rate (3,534 exits). We’re not interested in the bounce rate, as the bounces are included in the exits number.
We can switch to the Navigation Summary tab now, and let’s say we’re interested in understanding what % of the people on the home page continued to the Pricing page (/pricing.html)
If we want to calculate how many visitors continued to another page and not exited the site, we’ll get it from 8,817 pageviews – 3,534 exits = 5,283 pageviews to a second page. So 1,002 pageviews to the /pricing.html page will be 19%, but the % Pageviews in the Next Page Path column shows 20.33%. Where’s the difference coming from?
If you export this report to csv you’ll see 4,928 total pageviews for all Next Page Path pages (you can use the Show rows drop down to select up to 500 pages). And this is exactly 20.33% for the /pricing.html page.
But our calculations showed 5,283 pageviews – so where are the missing 355 pageviews? Please note that the difference here is not that big, but it depends on the website and this number can be much higher.
Let’s build a custom report, combining previous page path and next page path, with metric Pageviews (HT to Analytics Edge):
You can save the custom report template and use the filter to select the page you want to analyze.
What do you notice here? Our missing 355 pageviews are coming from the cases where the next page path is the same as the page we’re analyzing. This was explained by visitors hitting reload, having images that open in the same window or something else causing the page to reload (generating “self referring” hits).
I’m not sure at what point GA made this change in the Navigation Summary report and started “hiding” the same-page pageviews, but it’s good to know everything adds up.
And to answer my question: 20.33% of visitors to the homepage who continued to another page viewed the Pricing page, so next time I’ll just take the % Pageviews number in the Next Page Path column and won’t think about it.
P.S. Got a Google Analytics question? Send it to me and I’ll try to answer it on the blog.