Conversion Path Analysis: Why Do You Need It & How to Set It Up

Conversion Path Analysis: Why Do You Need It & How to Set It Up

In this article, we’ll explain what conversion path analytics is, how this analytics can help you create effective conversion paths, describe some common conversion paths, and ultimately why they matter.

Let’s get to it!


  • A conversion path is a guided journey that a potential customer follows, all the way from a first-time visitor to your website through to their final conversion to paying customers.
  • Not all conversion paths are the same. There are three main types of conversion paths to consider: the path to acquisition, to activation, and to growth.
  • Why should you analyze conversion paths in the first place? Successful conversion paths will help you figure out the ‘happy path‘ so you can apply it to other users. You can use them to optimize customer acquisition. Finally, conversion path analysis can show you how to dramatically improve user onboarding.
  • You can use an assisted conversions report in Google Analytics to figure out which of your conversion paths (i.e. different sequences of channel interactions) led to the most conversions in your app.
  • Analyzing conversion paths based on activation and adoption requires a different tactic: here, you want to figure out which of your conversion paths lead to drop-off points, and which perform the best (i.e. in driving assisted conversions) so you can optimize them.
  • The final type of conversion path analysis is growth-based. Your best tool here is analyzing the end point of your most successful conversion paths (i.e. a user clicking on the “Upgrade” button in your product) and reverse engineering the process from there to generate more upgrades.
  • Of course, you’ll need the right tool for the job to help you conduct this sort of analysis and optimize your conversion paths. Userpilot offers path and funnel analysis that can help you identify drop-offs in the customer journey and optimize those paths. Book a demo to learn more!

Analyze Conversion Paths In-App with Userpilot

What is a conversion path in analytics?

A SaaS conversion path is the guided journey that a potential customer follows from an anonymous website visitor to potential customers and eventually creates fully fledged, loyal subscribers to a product or service.

In a nutshell, a conversion path is a step-by-step process that turns qualified website visitors, first into leads, and then into the final interaction before they become paying customers.

Why are conversion paths important?

Analyzing different paths helps you understand your customers’ paths to purchase revenue and conversion, and how different attribution models distribute credit on those paths. Besides that, here are a few key reasons why tracking conversion paths is important:

  • Help to identify the happy path. By successfully understanding and mapping out how users achieve value in your product, you are well-positioned to optimize the experience and drastically reduce the time lag to value.
  • Optimize acquisition. Use default channel grouping to figure out the most effective ways to acquire new users.
  • Improve your onboarding. Conversion path analysis can show you how to tweak your onboarding flows so free trial users get off to a fast start (i.e. monitoring which desired action has the best response).

Understanding conversion paths at different stages of the customer journey

Different stages of the customer journey warrant different conversion paths. You have essentially three main starting points:

  • Path to acquisition. This unique conversion path is primarily about acquiring and retaining new customers. One of the most popular referral paths here is transforming website visitors into free trial users.
  • Path to activation and adoption. Next up, it’s about demonstrating value to your users and helping them reach the activation point (i.e. therefore bumping up trial-to-paid conversion rates). There are many important conversion events you need to fold in at this stage.
  • Growth path (upgrades). You need to effectively market new features, sell the customer experience, and upsell to your target audience.

How to analyze conversions path to acquisition

You know what a conversion path is, and how identifying them can help. Now, we’ll break down how you can use them to create content and boost acquisition.

Identify top conversion paths with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful, universal analytics tool that makes it simple to identify your top conversion paths in Google Analytics.

The ‘Top Conversion Path reports show all of the unique conversion paths (i.e. different sequences of channel interactions) that led to conversions in your app, alongside the number of conversions from each conversion path report, and the value of those conversions.

Each path populates a data table of the channels through which a user arrived before each completed conversion.

Taken as a whole, those pieces of information can help you build a picture of how customers interact with each of your conversion paths.

Screenshot of Google Analytics

Filter by your top conversion paths using Google Analytics.

Determine conversion path length with Time Lag report in Google Analytics

The Time Lag report shows how many conversions resulted from conversion paths organized by date range (from 0 to 12+ days). This sort of data visualization can give you a huge amount of insight into the overall length of your online sales cycle and if there are any important trends in conversions.

Screenshot of Google Analytics

Path length report in Google Analytics.

Use conversion path length report to monitor how many clicks users take to complete conversions

The Path Length report takes a different approach. Rather than displaying data across time, this report looks at the overall volume of channel interactions. A path length report sets out how many conversions resulted from conversion paths containing a given number of channel interactions.

Screenshot of Google Analytics

Looking at click volume helps you identify how onerous given journeys are.

How to analyze conversion paths to activation and adoption

Next up, we’ll look at a different category of conversion path: those that help you focus on how you take users from signup to paid conversion. These paths should help drive increased usage and adoption of the features that drive customer value.

Nail these, and you’ll easily maximize the number of conversions in the activation and adoption stages.

Use a tool to perform in-app path analysis

You could build a customer report to identify where customers are converting. That will typically involve:

  • Setting out where your conversion path starts, finishes, and corresponding events in the path.
  • Defining clear conversion criteria.
  • Identifying how many specific conversion paths result in retention.
  • Nailing down the paths users take after signing in (i.e. specifying their entry point).
  • Working to clarify which points in the journey drive value.

Identify which path leads to drop-offs in the customer journey

Just as important as identifying the most valuable points is figuring out which path is causing users to ‘drop off’ or ‘drop-out’ of the customer journey. These typically correlate with friction points and pain points, and help you identify where your greatest opportunities for improvement can be found.

A visual indicator of conversion paths with Userpilot’s Paths feature.

A visual indicator of conversion rates and paths with Userpilot’s Paths feature.

Determine the top conversion path and optimize it

Rather than spreading your efforts too thin, you need to prioritize your efforts.

You can improve your chance of converting the most users by choosing the most successful conversion path and exploring how you can optimize them (i.e. making them more mobile-friendly, tweaking copy to improve the buyer’s journey to completion and generate more leads).

A deep dive into your most successful conversion paths.

A deep dive into your most successful conversion paths.

Track Conversions & Drop-Offs with Userpilot’s Analytics

How to analyze conversion paths to growth

We’ve covered conversion paths for acquisition, activation, and adoption. But what about continuous improvement, growth, and evolving the product?

Let’s look at how conversion paths can be used to drive growth.

Identify which conversion path leads to upgrades

“Begin with the end in mind.”

Start by looking at the end of a successful conversion path (i.e. a user clicking on the “Upgrade” button in your product). You know that’s where you want to end up. Then it’s a case of looking into your conversion paths report and working backwards from that end state to identify the 10 steps prior.

Easily track what steps users took to reach a certain conversion event with Userpilot

Track the steps users took to reach a conversion event with Userpilot

For example, step one might be looking at how a user navigates from a landing page, interacts with key features, engages with dynamic elements, and more.

How to perform path analysis and optimize conversion paths with Userpilot

Performing path analysis with Userpilot involves several key steps:

  • Set Up Conversion Events: Define conversion events for different user segments, establishing clear goals for each segment.
  • Track Conversion Events via Funnel Analysis: Monitor user behavior along conversion paths, identifying drop-off points and gaining insights into user progression.
  • Compare Conversion Paths: Analyze the performance of different conversion paths, comparing user progress and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Identify Drop-off Rates: Look for patterns or bottlenecks causing users to abandon the conversion process, using Userpilot’s tools to track drop-off rates and identify issues.
  • Conduct Exit Surveys: Use churn surveys to understand why users abandon your product, addressing identified issues to improve the customer experience and conversions.

Let’s go over the process in more detail:

Set up conversion events to see how customers progress

Create clear goals for your different user segments. For each segment, there should be a defined path to conversion and clarity on what defines success at each stage.

What constitutes a target conversion event (goal) may differ based on your identified user personas, industry, or conversion path.

Tracking these conversion events via funnel analysis will grant you insights into users’ behavior along each conversion path and monitor where they are dropping off.

Funnel analysis in Userpilot

Funnel analysis in Userpilot

Compare how different conversion paths perform

Next, you need to track and analyze the performance of each conversion path. How many users are completing the required steps in the path? How many are converting at the different stages?

More importantly, though, you need to compare how users progress through the different conversion paths. What are the touchpoints for the conversion metric search path? What determines conversion in each path?

Essentially, you want to choose one of the starting points in your product and see how users progress from there. This comparison will make it easier to identify areas for improvement within each path.

Path analysis in Userpilot

Path analysis in Userpilot

Identify drop-off rates of different conversion points

As you analyze the various conversion paths, look out for areas where users drop off and abandon the process. Try to identify the patterns or bottlenecks in these areas that hinder progress.

For instance, users who follow a path may drop off when they interact with a particular feature. A little investigation will tell you whether this is a bad UI issue with a simple fix or whether the feature doesn’t work as expected.

Finding the users who dropped off from the conversion path is no difficult job when using Userpilot. Not only does Userpilot let you conduct path analysis no-code, but you’re also shown the drop-off, conversion rate, and total number at each step.

Drop-off rate in Userpilot's path analysis

Drop-off rate in Userpilot’s path analysis

Identify reasons behind customer churn with exit surveys

By the time a user decides to unsubscribe from your product, it’s often already too late. While you may not be able to save these users, though, you can learn from them.

Use churn surveys to identify the most common reasons why users abandon your product. Are there too many bugs? Is the product difficult to use? Do they prefer your competition?

Churn survey created in Userpilot

Churn survey created in Userpilot

Fixing the issues you identify will improve the customer experience and, ultimately, improve your conversions.


We’ve covered a lot of ground.

Hopefully, you now have a far better grasp of exactly what a conversion path is, how different reports and attribution models distribute credit to different elements in an onboarding path, and how you can utilize them to meet a range of strategic goals in your SaaS.

Want to get started with analyzing and improving conversion paths in your SaaS? Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can get started today.

Analyze Conversion Paths with Userpilot

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