Paths

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A path is a behavioral reporting tool that allows you to pull the common behavior patterns out of all of your usage data and see how visitors are using your app. This helps you understand how users naturally navigate your app.

Understand paths

A path shows the sequence of actions that visitors took before or after interacting with a specific part of your product, such as a Page, Feature, or Track Event. Each step shows the other Pages, Features, or Track Events visitors in the segment used before or after the one you selected. The actions they performed at each step are grouped together and represented with the total percentage of events and number of events relative to the previous step. Each action can be followed by any other user behavior in the app.

As user behavior diverges, each step includes more and more actions with a smaller share of total actions taken. To help make sense of this diverging behavior, the actions with the highest percentage of events are sorted to the top of the step, while staying inline with actions in other steps that they preceded or followed. The most common sequence of user actions is sorted to the top of the path.

With segments, you can measure if visitors are following recommended processes or if they've diverted to other behavior. If you're thinking about deprecating a page or feature, a path can show all the ways users are accessing it currently; you can then place targeted guides in those areas notifying users of the change.

Create a path

  1. To create a new path, open the Behavior menu from the left-side menu, and then select Create report > Path.

    Behavior_CreateReport_Path.png

    Alternatively, you can navigate to Behavior > Paths to view all existing funnels in your subscription, and then select Create path in the top-right corner of the page.
  2. From the first dropdown menu, choose whether you want to view the path Starting from or Leading to a specific event.
    • Starting from creates a forward path and shows all of the actions a visitor took after the selected event.
    • Leading to creates a reverse path and shows all of the actions a visitor took before the selected event.
  3. Choose the appropriate event selections related to the action you want to measure behavior to or from. This includes whether it is a Page, Feature, or Track Event; the relevant app; and the specific event.

    Engage_Paths_Select_Events.png

  4. If you have a multi-app subscription, select Follow paths across apps if you'd like the path to track user behavior between apps. This shows sequential behavior in apps other than the app that contains the target action.
  5. Select the appropriate Date Range from the dropdown menu. This restricts the path to events that occurred within the selected date range. If you don't select a date range, this value defaults to Last 30 days. Custom date ranges are limited to 90 days.
  6. Select the appropriate Segment from the dropdown menu. You can search your existing segments, edit a segment, or create a new segment; new segments are visible for anyone in the subscription, and changes to existing segments impact reports and guides using that segment. If you don't select a segment, this value defaults to Everyone.
  7. By default, paths collapse repeating steps and stop at 10 steps. If you want to update these configurations, select the Advanced Options dropdown list. Each setting is reviewed in the table below.
    Setting Description
    Show Pages, Features, or Track Events

    The path only shows the selected event types and ignores other types of events.

    Collapse Repeating Steps

    The path combines repeated actions into a single step instead of counting each sequential event as a new step. This can reduce the length and complexity of a path by removing redundant actions or mis-clicks.

    For example, if the user behavior is Page A > Page Page B > Page C, the collapsed path shows Page A > Page B > Page C.

    Remove Duplicate Visitor Paths

    If a user performs the exact same sequence of actions multiple times, the path removes duplicates and only shows a single occurrence.

    For example, if the user behavior is Page A > Page B > Page C > Page A > Page B > Page C > Page A > Page B > Page D, the path shows Page A > Page B > Page C > Page A > Page B > Page D after the duplicate is removed.

    Maximum Path Length

    This limits the number of steps in a path. Longer paths may show more detail but can get unnecessarily complex and increase loading times with large data sets.

  8. Once you're finished building your query, select Save & Run to open the Save Report dialog.
  9. Enter a Report Name, then update the Visibility to Everyone if you want other users in your subscription to view and edit the path.
  10. Select Save Report to create the path. You can now access the path through Behavior > Paths or Behavior > View all reports.

    Path_SaveReport.png

Interpret your path

Once you run and save your report, the chart shows all of the events starting with or leading to the target event and groups each event into steps. Within each step, you can see the individual paths that visitors take from that target event (or to that target event if you generate a reverse path).

Individual paths

The chart always sorts events with the most clicks or views at the top. That means the top path is always the most common route among your segment, while the less common routes display at the bottom of the path. 

The example below shows a path starting from a Page called Opportunities. Every event in the second step occurred immediately after a visitor viewed Opportunities, and each event is the second step of a new path. Each path branches out by the order of events that took place. This pattern continues at every step until the maximum number of steps has been reached or there is no user action, indicated by "No Next Step" or "No Previous Step".

Engage_Paths_Chart.png

You can understand the order of events by paying attention to the visual alignment with the previous step. For instance, in this example, the first and most commonly taken path from the Opportunities page is as follows: Details Pages > Notes Entry Field > Notes Submit Button > Dashboard > Other. 

Engage_Paths_Chart1.png

Note: If Pages and Features have overlapping tagging rules, all matching Pages and Features are shown within the same event group. The first path in the example above shows that the Details Page - Any overlaps with Details Page - Opportunities in the second step. These two Pages share the same rule; Details Page - Any contains rules to capture all detail-related pages, while Details Page - Opportunities is set up to only capture page views for the Opportunities Details page.

The second most common path in this example is Add New Button > Add New - Type SELECT > Add New Form "OK" Button > Other.

Engage_Paths_Chart2.png

Non-events

Sometimes paths can show steps that aren't associated to an event. These include the following:

  • No Next/Previous Step. At least one visitor left your app, interacted with an untagged Page or Feature, or interacted with the first event in the path more than once, ending their initial path. Forward paths say "No Next Step", while reverse paths say "No Previous Step".
  • Other. A low percentage of visitors took another step.
  • Trimmed. The path has a large number of remaining steps and an insignificant number of visitors compared to other paths.
  • Unknown. The tagged Page or Feature was deleted since the path was last generated. Re-run the report to view the updated path.
  • Untagged. An untagged Page was viewed. When this appears in a path, the table contains an Untagged Pages column that shows which URLs aren't tagged.

Percentages

Each event within each step is sorted by the percentage of clicks or views it received relative to the other events in that step.

Since all events in Step 2 occur immediately after Step 1, Step 2 collectively represents a single step within the overarching path and totals 100%.

However, each event in Step 2 also marks the beginning of individual paths that branch out into further steps. The events within these individual path steps show the percentage of events that occurred for each action in that specific sequence, and the total percentage for all actions within each individual path step resets to 100%. In other words, the steps preceding or following an event within an individual path always equal 100% of the previous or next step.

Zoom

PathZoom.gif

Select an event to zoom in and focus the path on that specific event. This shows all of the subsequent steps in greater detail and reveals additional steps and statistics that aren't visible in an expanded view.

You can also select additional steps to zoom in further or select the step hidden in the margin to zoom out to that step.

Select the Zoom Out button in the top-left corner of the chart to reset your view of the paths.

PathZoomOut.png

Modified URLs

Applications that modify the URL during page navigation could result in muddied path data. This could happen for several reasons, including URL redirects or anchor tags.

For example, if a visitor navigates from the "Home" page to the "About" page with a navigation button click, Pendo sees three different URLs. The extra URL in the middle occurs because there's a URL redirect when the app moves from the Home page to the About page:

site.com/homepage → site.com/homepage/# → site.com/aboutpage

The visitor would tell you that they only saw two pages in your app, the Home and About pages. However, Pendo sees three different URLs and counts each URL as a separate Page view, and the path would look as follows:

  • Page view: Home (matches the URL site.com/homepage)

  • Feature click: Navigation button

  • Page view: Home (matches the URL site.com/homepage/# since the Page rules match the URL of site.com/homepage)

  • Page view: About (matches the URL site.com/aboutpage)

This could result in potential confusion if you aren't aware of the URL direct, which explains why the Home page appears a second time.

View table summary

The table underneath the chart shows the data for the currently selected action, indicated by being the largest action in the path on the far-left side of the path (or the far-right side if you're looking at a reverse path). The table shows the following data:

  • Date and time of the event
  • Visitor ID who generated the event
  • Event name of the next step (or previous step for a reverse path)
  • Time it took to advance to the next step (or from the previous step for a reverse path)

Engage_Paths_Table.png

You can also download the currently displayed table as a CSV. This means that if you select a specific event in the path to change the data in the table, the data you see in the table at that moment is the data that appears in the CSV. If you want to instead download all paths as a CSV, select the Download icon located in the action bar at the top-right corner of the page.

Manage and share your path

The action bar located in the top-right corner of the page provides access to several features used to manage your path.

 PathActionBar.png

  • Delete path. Select the Delete icon if you want to permanently delete the path for all users in your subscription.
  • Duplicate path. Select the Copy icon if you want to create a new path that's identical to this one. A new path populates with "Copy of" in front of the path name you just duplicated. This is helpful for editing or experimenting with an existing path without changing the original query, particularly if the path is visible to everyone in your subscription.
  • Share path. Select the Share icon to toggle visibility between Only Me and Everyone. If you chose the Everyone visibility when you saved the path, all Pendo users in your subscription can access the report through Behavior > Saved Reports.
  • Download path. Select the Download icon if you want to export all data in the path. This is the same data that appears in the table but for all events in the path, not just the selected event. The CSV file has a 10,000 row limit.
  • Save changes. If you made changes to the path, select Save Changes to save the current query to the report. This button only appears if there are unsaved changes in the report.

Frequently asked questions

How much time can a visitor take between steps?

A visitor's path times out after 60 minutes of inactivity. Inactivity occurs when no raw events are collected for a Visitor ID. When the visitor becomes active again, the new events could start a new path.

For example, if you create a path starting from an Add New Account button, you may expect to see Page and Feature usage for the Add New Account form that follows. If a visitor clicked on the button and entered the path, then worked in a different application, attended a meeting, and went to lunch before finally returning to finish the form, the new activity wouldn't be tracked as a continuation of the path. In the chart, it would appear that the visitor had dropped off. If they clicked the Add New Account button again, they would restart the path and it would track usage as expected.

This scenario is a normal anomaly when analyzing large amounts of user data. It's unlikely to be noticeable or statistically significant given the large volume of data in most paths. Noticing this behavior typically only occurs when viewing paths with an extremely small sample size.

Why don't the number of clicks and views on the path match my tagged Features and Pages?

Paths have additional logic that removes duplication and filters out events that aren't part of the defined path. For instance:

  • Collapsing repeating steps and removing duplicate visitor paths under Advanced Options can filter out events from the displayed totals.
  • Back-to-back actions are deduplicated so that only one of the same event appears in the path.
  • Paths recognize repeat clicks on the same Feature, views of the same Page, or generating the same Track Event during a process. When a visitor repeats these actions, it's considered both the end of the previous path and the beginning of a new path, as the visitor has restarted the process.

Paths are intended to visualize sequences of user behavior, rather than provide gross totals for usage. You can find total usage of a Feature, Page, or Track Event without filters or conditional logic on their respective details pages.

Why don't the numbers on my current path match a previously ran version of the path?

There are many settings that can influence the data used to generate a path. The parameters in the query and Advanced Options significantly influence the values in the path and how data is visualized. Verify that all settings are exactly the same with special emphasis on date range and Advanced Options.

If the previous or current version of the path included data from "Today", expect that data to be dynamic, as visitors are continuing to use your app and Pendo is receiving and processing new usage data in real time.

Paths are generated by querying all of your Feature, Page, and Track Event usage data filtered by a segment that looks at all of your visitor and account data. Any changes to tags, metadata, or identified users can change the associated usage. Since the path is looking at patterns of sequential usage behavior, any changes to underlying data has a noticeable impact on the path.

Changing a Feature tag identifies different raw events with different dates, times, and visitors tied to them. Changing visitor or account metadata can identify a different segment of users who performed the actions. Pendo's retroactive analytics allow you to query all of your usage data since the time of install, but that also means adding, removing, and changing tagged Features, Pages, and Track Events can influence the results of a sensitive, dynamic report like a path.

The results of a path were accurate at the time it ran, but with any report, it can only be as consistent as the data used to generate it. We recommend monitoring and maintaining your Pendo tags as you change your application to ensure clean, consistent data for reporting.

 

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