How to use GA4 Funnels
Why purchases are missing from the funnel
Funnel explorations in GA4 are a new feature for most users. Funnels provide a flexible approach to building customer journeys across your site or application. Configured using any GA dimension available in your reporting setup, making analysis by channel or device simple to set up.
Funnels come in a couple of visualisation methods, first is your standard funnel bar.
We also can see the funnel in a trended view, great for spotting issues as they start to degrade conversion from step to step over time.
Open vs Closed Funnels
A closed funnel means users have to see step 1 of the funnel to be included in the funnel. If a user enters at another step they are not included in your report. The Purchase Journey report (in the standard reports) is a closed funnel, likely, the purchase totals you see here do not add up to the total orders for the period.
You can create an open funnel, in this type of funnel users can enter the funnel at any step and you should see an increase in users through the funnel (including orders) by creating an open version of the purchase journey in Explore.
Why are conversions missing from the report
A persistent question I receive is why some orders remain missing from the report. Does it mean the tagging is incorrect? To answer this we have to first understand one important rule relating to GA4 funnels. Users can not skip any steps in the funnel. Regardless of whether you are looking at an open or closed funnel, users can not skip steps. So if in the example above users add to a basket from a list page and head to checkout they will not reappear as an entrance on the basket or checkout. Once a user has been seen in the funnel they must hit each of the following steps otherwise they are considered an abandonment.
The solution to gaining visibility of this behavior and its impact on your funnel numbers is to create shorter step funnels and use both in
conjunction to understand behaviors. If your funnel is non-linear you will need
to consider this.