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I have a problem with the funnels in Google Analytics.

So I have a e-commerce website that I want to track the user path to a purchase. I want GA to track if a user goes trough these steps [Item page][Purchase][Checkout].

I thought this could be done by funnels and my setup currently now consist of:
Step 1: [Item page] (Required)
Step 2: [Purchase]
Goal: [Checkout]

But when I go to the "Funnel Visualization Report" the following shows.
[Item page] Visits: 150
[Purchase page] Visits: 170
[Checkout] Visits: 32

How can the [Purchase page] be higher than the [Item page]?

I searched the internet over, and found something called Horizontal Funnels but this doesn't show the correct numbers, again the purchase and checkout steps are higher than the item page.

So somehow it doesn't need step 1, to fulfill the funnels/goals.

What am I doing wrong?

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Could people be clicking back from the checkout page? Maybe try looking at the server logs stats or another tool to verify the numbers are wrong. –  John C Jun 20 '13 at 9:50
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migrated from webapps.stackexchange.com Jun 28 '13 at 20:40

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2 Answers

You are looking at visits, so consider this case:

[Item Page] -> [Purchase] -> [Purchase] -> [Checkout]

i.e. the user got some sort of error on the purchase page, refreshes the page etc., which will count the a second visit on this page, but the entire funnel is still valid.

You have to look really careful about what is tracked and what are the possible routes. You can see for example in analytics Behavior flow

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The purchase page calculates visits from all items, not just the particular item you specified in the funnel, making the first step required does not change that (it just adds visit to the first step even if a visitor landed directly in step 2).

I am guessing you misconfigured the first step. If your items pages look like this (for example):

/items/product1.html
/items/product2.html

You need to use a regular expression for the first step to catch all visits to all items pages, not just one specific item, probably something like that:

/items/(.*)
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