Conversion Funnel Leaks: Types + Ways to Identify And Fix Them

Conversion Funnel Leaks: Types + Ways to Identify And Fix Them cover

Are conversion funnel leaks sabotaging your product and marketing efforts while leaving money on the table?

This article reveals the major causes of funnel leaks at each customer journey stage and how to fix them. You’ll get actionable strategies and examples to help you deliver memorable product experiences, driving engagement and long-term retention.


  • A conversion funnel leak is a point in the customer journey where potential customers drop out of the process before taking the desired action.
  • Sales funnel leaks happen at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. The conversion rate typically decreases as users go deeper into the sales process.

Reasons for funnel leaks at the top:

Reasons for funnel leaks in the middle:

  • Friction in the sign-up process.
  • Complicated product.
  • Lack of lead nurturing efforts.
  • Slow response to customer queries.

Reasons for funnel leaks at the bottom:

How to identify a conversion funnel leak: Conduct feedback surveys and pair the results with actionable data from session replays, funnel, path, and heatmap analysis.

Repair tips for top-of-the-funnel leaks:

  1. Identify your best marketing channels with web analytics tools.
  2. Use social proof to build brand authority.
  3. Run landing page tests to improve marketing funnel conversion.

Repair tips for middle-of-the-funnel leaks:

  1. Reduce sign-up form length.
  2. Use lead scoring to identify high-quality leads.
  3. Use email nurture campaigns to prevent sales funnel leakage.

Repair tips for bottom-of-the-funnel leaks:

  1. Use interactive onboarding to guide new users.
  2. Encourage activation with an onboarding checklist.
  3. Improve in-app flows with A/B testing.
  4. Offer self-service support with a resource center.
  5. Implement app usage analysis and convert new users to repeat buyers.

Ready to fix your leaky sales funnel? Userpilot can help. Book a demo now to begin.

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What is a conversion funnel leak?

A conversion funnel leak is a point in the customer journey where potential customers drop out of the process before taking the desired action.

Conversion funnels typically start with marketing efforts focused on awareness and extend all the way to building loyalty. Leakages occur at different funnel stages for various reasons (more on that in the next section).

Customer journey stages.

Types of leaks across the entire customer journey

It’s normal for drop-offs to happen as users move through your conversion funnel. Understanding the reasons for these helps you understand how to fix them.

1. Leaks at the top

The top of the funnel is the widest with the most users entering and often the leakiest part of the conversion funnel. Here are the common reasons behind top-of-the-funnel leaks:

  • Wrong target audience: Your marketing might be visible to many people, but the visitors won’t convert if they don’t need what your product offers. For example, if you’re strictly an enterprise SaaS, targeting individual users or small businesses will result in a lack of action.
  • Poor product-market fit: Potential users are likely to drop off early in the sales funnel if there’s a mismatch between their needs and what your product offers; a classic sign of poor product-market fit. Upon reviewing your feature pages, many website visitors will realize the product doesn’t align with their expectations.
  • Ineffective marketing: From wrong messaging to low brand awareness, ineffective marketing affects your conversion funnel in many ways. Potential leads in the awareness and consideration stages won’t proceed if your marketing strategy doesn’t clearly explain what you offer and why it matters to your audience.
  • Wrong acquisition channels: Utilizing acquisition channels your target audience does not actively use or engage with results in wasted efforts and resources. Case in point: You’ll attract the wrong leads if your ads focus heavily on Facebook while your potential users mostly use LinkedIn.

2. Leaks in the middle

People in the middle of the funnel have enough interest in your product to sign up for demos or free trials. Leaks in this stage result from the following reasons:

  • Friction in the sign-up process: People bounce off if signing up feels like too much work. Long and complicated forms and even the fear of hidden charges lead to friction in the sign-up process.
  • Complicated product: Leaks will happen when your value proposition is unclear, or users struggle to understand what your product does. Even if you have a complex product with different target audiences, potential users need to know why they should invest in it.
  • Lack of lead nurturing efforts: Just because a lead shows interest in your tool doesn’t mean they’ll automatically progress through the user journey. Without targeted content, follow-ups, and engagement strategies, a poor user experience might cause you to lose them.
  • Slow response to customer queries: Customer support is a major part of successful user acquisition. Delaying to reply to user queries (or not answering at all) creates the impression that you don’t care, leading to lost conversions.

3. Leaks at the bottom

If users sign up for your product and become activated but aren’t converting to paid users, or renewing their accounts, that’s a sign of leaks at the bottom of the funnel. Here are the typical culprits:

  • Insufficient in-app guidance: New users need clear onboarding to understand how to get the most out of your product. Without proper in-app guidance, they might miss key features, become frustrated, and abandon the product.
  • Features with usability issues: Clunky navigation, bugs, and confusing design all damage usability, directly impacting a user’s willingness to pay or continue using your product.
  • Lack of help resources: Users will inevitably have questions or hit roadblocks while using your product. In-app support resources empower them to solve issues independently, improving customer satisfaction. The absence of it leads to user frustration and churn.

How to identify leaks in the sales funnel

Implement the following tools to understand where users are leaving your sales funnel and why.

1. Funnel analysis

This classic approach examines how many people move from one step of your conversion funnel to the next. High drop-offs between stages indicate funnel leaks.

For example, if new users sign up for your tool and 50% don’t perform any in-app action, something is stopping them from progressing from the decision stage to the activation stage. By conducting funnel analysis and pairing the funnel data with other behavior reports, you can pinpoint the exact factors responsible for the funnel drop.

Conversion funnel analysis conducted with Userpilot.

2. Path analysis

Path analysis goes a step further by not only looking at the predefined funnel stages but also analyzing the actual user flow through your app and web pages.

This method can reveal unexpected behavior patterns, such as common detours or roadblocks that are not part of the intended funnel but may affect conversion rates. It also shows you which of your customer acquisition channels leak the most.

For example, imagine multiple users signed up for your demo through various campaigns tracked by UTM parameters. If you observe that 80% of all users from PPC campaigns drop off before completing the sign-up process, that’s a good indication of a leaky marketing funnel.

Path analysis generated with Userpilot.

3. Heatmaps

Heatmaps provide a visual representation of user engagement. You’re able to see where users click, hover, or scroll on a page, highlighting areas of high and low engagement.

Generate feature heatmaps for each customer journey stage with tools such as Userpilot. Compare the heatmap report with how you expect users to behave based on your ideal user journey map. You can identify conversion funnel leaks if most users don’t click on the features you expect them to interact with.

Features heatmap created with Userpilot.

4. User feedback surveys

Implement customer experience surveys to gather insights directly from your customers. Ask open-ended questions that aim to understand their pain points, motivations, and struggles encountered while navigating your tool. The responses will help you identify gaps you might have overlooked.

Ensure you survey customers at various points in your sales funnel so no insight is left out. For example, ask users who just signed up how easy they found the process or what convinced them to register; consult paying customers and power users to understand what drives product adoption and retention, and so on.

Create and trigger customer surveys code-free with Userpilot.

5. Session replays

Session replays are recordings of user sessions that show exactly how visitors interact with your website or application.

Watching session replays allows you to understand behavior patterns and spot features users avoid or areas of your customer journey that cause confusion.

Tracking user behavior patterns with session recording.

How to fix funnel leaks for funnel optimization

We’ve seen the various types of funnel leaks and ways to identify leaks in your sales funnel. This section shows you strategies to repair leaks at different levels.

Repair tips for top-of-the-funnel leaks

Follow these steps to attract the right audience and prevent top-of-the-sales-funnel-leak:

1. Identify your best marketing channels with Google Analytics

Extract funnel visualization reports from your Google Analytics dashboard. Then, analyze metrics like user engagement, website traffic, page conversion rates, and behavior flow of visitors from different sources.

Once you identify channels that bring the most quality leads, focus your efforts and resources on those. For example, if you find that a significant portion of your engaged audience comes from organic search, invest more in SEO and content marketing.

2. Use social proof to build brand authority

Social proof, such as customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies, can significantly enhance your brand’s credibility and authority. When potential customers read about positive experiences with your brand, they’re more likely to trust and engage with your content.

Display social proof prominently on your website, landing pages, social media, and other marketing materials to help visitors see the value you provide, encouraging them to explore your offerings further.

3. Run landing page tests to improve marketing funnel conversion

Landing pages are often the first significant interaction potential customers have with your brand. Hence, optimizing them is key to improving your conversions.

Iteratively test your landing page copy, design, navigation, CTA, and other vital elements influencing your product messaging. Identify and stick to the versions that resonate with users and boost conversion across your marketing funnels.

Repair tips for middle-of-the-funnel leaks

People in the MOFU level are comparison shopping and looking for the best fit. So, while they demonstrate interest in your tool, they can drop off at any point. Here’s how to avoid conversion funnel leaks at this stage:

1. Reduce sign-up form length

Long and complex sign-up pages are a common drop-off point. Aim to collect only the absolute minimum information needed to get started, reducing friction for potential leads.

For example, consider Userpilot’s sign-up form below. Notice how it only asks users for their name and work email. You can implement this for easy sign-up and collect more details later.

Userpilot’s simple sign-up page.

2. Use lead scoring to identify high-quality leads

Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale representing each lead’s perceived value to a business.

By assigning scores based on various criteria, such as engagement level, behavior on your website, and demographic information, you can segment and prioritize leads that are more likely to convert.

This allows you to focus on nurturing high-quality leads through personalized approaches, increasing efficiency, and improving conversion rates.

3. Use email nurture campaigns to prevent sales funnel leakage

Use email drip campaigns to nurture leads based on their activity on your website and app. For example, you can send automated emails to trial users and leads who have finished watching your product demo.

Additionally, schedule data-driven follow-up emails for leads that drop off to help remind them about your product and offer incentives to try your app.

Welcome email example from Todoist.

Repair tips for bottom-of-the-funnel leaks

The bottom of the funnel generally has the lowest volume and highest conversion—most leaks here could have been avoided because users already have a vested interest in your product.

Think you’re experiencing BOFU drop-offs? Here’s how to fix your leaky sales funnel:

1. Use interactive onboarding to guide new users

Allowing new users to figure out your tool on their own can lead to frustration and drop-offs, especially when the product has a learning curve. Interactive onboarding takes users by the hand, showing them the step-by-step process of deriving value from your tool.

This kind of guide improves the user experience and boosts your activation and adoption rates.

Interactive onboarding example from Kommunicate.

2. Encourage activation with an onboarding checklist

Create an onboarding checklist that provides new users with a clear set of actions to complete as they familiarize themselves with your product.

This gamified element not only makes the onboarding process more engaging but also ensures users explore features that are critical to their success with your product.

Proof that this works: Attention Insight struggled to get new users to complete key activation steps. However, by utilizing Userpilot to implement onboarding checklists and interactive guides, the company increased user activation by 47% in no time.

Onboarding checklist created with Userpilot.

3. Improve in-app flows with A/B testing

Implement A/B tests for the following onboarding processes:

Identify and implement the flows that drive the most adoption. For example, you can test whether a video tutorial or an interactive checklist leads to higher feature adoption rates and implement what works best for your audience.

A/B test conducted with Userpilot.

4. Offer self-service support with a resource center

A well-organized resource center allows users to get instant answers and learn more about your platform at their own pace.

Make your self-serve support center rich and engaging by adding different content formats, including links to your knowledge base, video library, chatbot, an option to connect with human support agents, and so on.

Checklist built with Userpilot.

5. Find retention drivers with app usage analysis

Use data analysis reports such as path, trend, and cohort analysis to identify features or strategies that turn new users into repeat customers.

For example, a cohort analysis report shows you the retention rate for each user cohort. You can use it to track how well your retention strategies are working and which user types are converting the most.

Cohort analysis generated with Userpilot.


It’s unrealistic to expect 0% sales funnel leaks. People will always drop off as they move from one journey stage to the next—and this is a good thing because not everyone is your customer.

However, you want to ensure you don’t miss leads that fit your target audience and can afford to pay for your tool. Implement the repair tips you’ve learned and regularly analyze your funnels for improvement opportunities.

Ready to begin tracking and fixing conversion funnel leaks? Userpilot can help. Book a demo to see how you can analyze funnel performance and trigger in-app experiences to improve retention.

Try Userpilot and Take Your In-App Experience to the Next Level

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