(2015) Navigation summary report explained!

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:

Explorer tab

Explorer and Navigation Summary tabs

Let’s get the main numbers first:

Pageviews and % Exits

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.

Navigation Summary

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)

Navigation Summary report

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):

Custom Next Page Path report

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.

is a Google Analytics fan, who also loves SEO, conversion optimization, online marketing and social media. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

18 thoughts on “(2015) Navigation summary report explained!

  1. Thanks for this. Cleared up a few questions I had. However, it also shows (entrance) under Previous Page Path. What could that be? Does it mean landing page, home page? I’m not sure. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks again!

      • Hi Margarita,

        I have a question: Do you know how Google Analytics understands the ” Next Page”. When I view the “Navigation Summary” includes pages that don´t know how my users arrive, that it´s to say that there are no buttons or links on the previous page that are leading to the next page.

        Thanks very much!

        • Hey Natalia,

          Are these pages completely unrelated / not linked in any way? Maybe looking at the User Explorer report and segmenting for this specific combination of pages can give you some idea why they appear one after the other in the Navigation summary.

          • I am seeing the same issue.

            In Navigation Summary, many URLs showing up in the Next Page Path list don’t appear anywhere in the page they’re supposedly coming from.

            Is it also possible that the visitor has multiple tabs opened and some of those pages might count as “Next Pages”?

    • Ken – did you ever get your question answered? I am finding that some reports and tabs people reference don’t show in mine, including “pages” and “Navigation’

      • I think I may have been looking at the wrong section, i do see the navigation summary under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

  2. Hi Margarita,

    Thanks for the useful explanation on navigation summary. I have a question for you, which is why is there a different between the data being captured on navigation summary and funnel visualization?

    For example:-
    On navigation summary, 28.01.2016
    Page A ( previous page) has 120 pageviews
    Page B ( main ) has 80 pageviews
    Page C (next page) has 50 pageviews

    I used exactly the same URLs for page A, B and C and created a goal so that i can obtain the completion rate and monitor users activities. However, numbers/ percentages showing on funnel visualization do not match what s on navigation summary page. Even though the discrepancies were not a big, roughly 20-30 pageviews different. Is it normal? or i missed something?
    Thank you for your precious time and help in advance.

    Kind regards,

    Davide

  3. Wow, really helpful. This is exactly what I was looking for. My percentages on the Navigation Summary weren’t adding up at all either and I couldn’t figure out why. Thanks

  4. Dear Margarita,

    Am I correct to understand/read your report as:
    1164 pageviews to the page onestoryhouse happened from index page
    1002 pageviews to pricing page happened from index page
    and so on…

    Correct me if wrong.

    Thanks
    Nik

  5. Margarita, thanks for your response the other day.

    I’m looking at a specific page and the numbers appear to be way off. Is there anything I’m not counting?

    Here’s what I’m seeing specifically. The page in question received 55,654 pageviews and a 90.47% exit rate over a period of time. This view is not filtered by any segment: http://www.screencast.com/t/dfUMt5ctvg

    This hypothetically should mean there’d be (55,654 * 9.53%) or 5,304 next page views. The navigation summary is only showing 1,505 next page views.

    I can’t imagine that that many people are refreshing the source page.

    Moreover, of the 1,505 next page views, I’ve counted 79 as pageviews that aren’t coming from the source page. I’m assuming these are happening when a user is browsing in an alternate tab after viewing the source page: http://www.screencast.com/t/bTdXEOe37uDU

    Do you have any idea what might be happening here?

    • Hey Scott, can you try creating the custom report with dimensions previous page path and page, and metric pageviews, and then filter for your page as previous page path. I just tested it on the Google Demo account and it shows again a high number of people staying on the same page (I’m testing with /home): http://prntscr.com/ddhxpz

Leave a Reply to Margarita Evtimova Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *