How to Use Path Explorations in GA4

If you’re used to using the Behavior Flow report in Google’s Universal Analytics, then you may have wondered where you can report on how users are moving through a website in GA4. You might think of this as the user journey — how can GA4 tell me how users are moving through my website?

GA4 Path Explorations have essentially replaced the Behavior Flow report in Universal Analytics. With this feature, you can analyze top paths through your site, construct converse flow reports, and more.

Like all our GA4 Tutorials, in the video and the steps below, we’ll show you some tips and tricks so that you can get back most of the functionality that you had in Universal Analytics, plus a few nifty new features in GA4.

This walkthrough uses the Google Merchandise Store’s GA4, which is publicly available and a great place to work with data that you can be confident is set up correctly in GA4.

Create a Path Exploration in GA4

Visualize users’ page-to-page flow within your website in four steps.

  1. Click “Explore” in GA4’s left menu to go to Explorations
    select explore in menu
  2. Select “Path Exploration”.
    select path
  3. In the path exploration visualization on the right half of the screen, select the drop-down under Step +1 to change the node type from “Event name” to “Page path and screen class”.
    step plus1 select page path screen class
  4. Expand the number of steps shown by clicking on a node. For example, click on the “/” (the homepage) to see where people go after that page. 
    expand steps by clicking node 1

Investigate paths that aren’t the start of the session

You can delve into users’ paths beyond a single page, whether or not that page is the start of their session.

  1. Use the “Start Over” button.
    start over your path exploration
  2. Click on “Starting Point”, and select “Page path and screen class”.
    starting point page path
  3. Select any page to start with.
    select page as starting point

Investigate Paths from a Landing Page in GA4

See how users move through your website from a particular landing page with this exploration in GA4. 

  1. Use the “Start Over” button.
    start over your path exploration
  2. Click “Starting Point” and select “Event name”.
    starting point event name
  3. Select “session_start.”
    select session start
  4. Change the second node type, under Step +1, to “Page path and screen class”.
    step one select page path and screen class
  5. Modify which pages are shown in the first step by clicking on the pencil icon above Step +1.
    select pencil to edit pages shown
  6. Deselect any pages you’re not interested in so that the landing page you want is the only one clicked. Click “Apply”.
    deselect to show one landing page1
  7. After the data updates, it will show a single page. Click on the page to see the next steps in the path. 
    click the page to see next steps
  8. You can edit the pages shown in the next step by clicking the pencil icon. GA4 shows the top five pages by default — you can add more if you want to.
    select pencil to edit pages shown2

Reverse-Path Explorations in GA4

You can also investigate paths from finish to start — what are people doing before they end up at a page or event? You’ll see a previous page path or previous event path that users took to lead up to your endpoint.

As an example, let’s look at what pages people are most likely to add to cart from.

  1. Use the “Start Over” button.
    start over your path
  2. Click “Ending Point” and select “Event name”. Scroll down until you find “add_to_cart”. You may need to click “Load More” to see the “add_to_cart” event.
    ending point event name1
  3. Change the Step -1 node type by clicking on the drop-down menu under Step -1 and selecting “Page path and screen class”. 
    step neg 1 select page path
  4. Add another step, if you’d like, by clicking on the page you’re interested in.
    add another step reverse

Additional Features of GA4 Path Explorations

  • Name your current tab, and create a new tab to analyze something different.
    name path exploration and add tab
  • Apply segments to path explorations by selecting the segment from the menu at the left.
    add segment to path exploration report


How do I find my user journey in GA4?

User journeys are shown in the Path Explorations report in GA4. 

  1. Click “Explore” in GA4’s left menu to go to Explorations.
    select explore in menu
  2. Select “Path Exploration”.
    select path exploration

Where can you find the conversion paths report in your Google Analytics 4 property?

Universal Analyics’ Top Conversion Paths report is a great way to see what sources of traffic contribute to conversions (like purchases or lead forms) on your website. GA4 has a similar report — you can find it in Advertising > Attribution > Conversion paths.

gold lines expanding outward

There you have it! Don’t cry because the Behavior Flow report is over, smile because Path Explorations happened. 

Feeling stumped in GA4? We help teams use marketing analytics data to build better marketing programs and grow businesses. Reach out to discuss an analytics project or training.

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