What Is A Funnel Diagram (or Funnel Chart)?

What Is A Funnel Diagram (or Funnel Chart) – Use Cases & Best Practices [2024]

Tracking the overall performance of your marketing funnel is crucial for your business growth. It’s much easier to monitor progress toward your goals when you can visualize the data effectively. A great way to turn complex data into insightful graphics is by using a funnel diagram, also called a funnel chart.

Today’s buyers take more independent control of researching and engaging with brands on their terms, through various channels. So, a funnel chart is essential for you to divide your disqualified and qualified data.

Today you will get a quick guide on what a funnel chart is and how to use it to analyze your data properly.

After reading this article, you will learn,

  • a basic understanding of funnel diagrams.
  • their use cases.
  • benefits of using a funnel chart,
  • best practices to optimize a funnel, and
  • tools to prepare a funnel diagram.

Let’s begin

What Is A Funnel Diagram or Funnel Chart?

A funnel diagram is a visual representation of the sequential flow of customers or data through stages.

Funnel Diagram Example
Source: ClusterDesign

It shows the progress of leads or data entering the topmost funnel stage, through intermediate stages, with some dropping out along the way, and finally, the customers left on the bottom stage.

The narrowing flow symbolizes a key metric like customer count, conversion rate, or revenue, decreasing through each phase due to leads out or being disqualified.

The entire visualization forms the shape of a funnel with a wider opening on top and a narrower exit at the bottom. And that’s how the popular term comes up “funnel chart”.

Funnel charts provide valuable analytics into conversion and attrition rates when applied as sales funnels, marketing funnels, or any other processes involving multi-step workflows.

This funnel chart enables you to pinpoint problem areas so that you can find the solution to them. When regularly updated, funnel diagrams offer easy tracking of your business goal over time.

Components and Structure Of A Funnel Chart

Let’s look at the basic components and structure you need to know of a funnel chart

i. Funnel Segments and Representation

The most identifying aspect of a funnel diagram is of course the funnel-shaped stage partitions that visually break up the workflow or sales process into logical phases. Typically about 5 stages provide clarity without overcomplicating things.

The five stages of the funnel usually are Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, and Sale. With each segment, the funnel chart decreases wide due to the reduced number of customers/leads.

The largest width is at the entry stage with a maximum number of mixed leads, tapering down gradually towards the exits or conversions. The structure instantly gives perspective on where most data are falling out.

ii. Data Values and Progression

Within each funnel segment, You can track the actual data value – customer count, conversion percentage, etc.

The metric trends down the funnel stages sequentially. The funnel chart tracks the flow as leads transfer from one phase to the next. You can summarize customer values at this point to avoid clutter.

Tracking how fast the numbers are declining provides analytics on conversion performance. Faster drops indicate inefficient lead nurturing or qualification criteria, while steady rates imply an effective workflow.

iii. Entry and Exit Points

The funnel opening represents the entering customer/prospect count at the start of the process or campaign being analyzed.

The size directly impacts volumes throughout the sequence and sets expectations on conversion ratios. The closing bottom depicts the conversions or outcomes after passing through the complete workflow.

Setting defined campaign targets on entry volumes and conversion rates lets you gauge actuals against goals. Plotting attrition via intermediate dropoffs also helps identify priority areas for troubleshooting.

Maintaining consistent sizing and scale between stages of funnel charts is crucial for accurate analysis.

Use Cases of Funnel Diagrams

Now that you’re familiar with what a funnel chart is, Let’s go through some applications sectors :

1. Sales and Marketing

Funnel analysis forms the pillar of sales and marketing analytics given the multi-touch nature of consumer journeys. Some major metrics are lead volumes, prospects contacted, MQLs, SQLs, opportunities, and customer conversions. Different sales funnels by channel, campaign, and product lines help segment data for the targeted stage.

Your Marketing teams can disqualify underperforming leads by comparing response rates across channels like email, social, SEM, content, and referrals.

You can analyze sales velocity from leads to customers and increase qualified traffic on your website.

2. Website Analytics

You can easily examine website traffic with a funnel diagram as visitors flow from awareness to conversions.

Early exit points show bounce issues while falling engagement at research phases highlights ineffective content. Comparative assessment of visitor segments can chart different behavior patterns.

Measuring participation levels across lead gen forms, newsletters, demos, and webinars spot engagement bottlenecks. Periodic refresh of web funnel metrics provides ongoing optimization insights to keep fine-tuning commercial outcomes from digital experiences.

3. Recruitment

A recruitment funnel refers to the staged process companies or mainly HR use to attract and hire top talent.

You may start by sourcing a wide range of candidates from the talent pool before narrowing down to the best fit through screening, interviews, and assessments.

The aim is to capture a high volume of prospects at the initial stage, and then systematically filter applicants based on qualifications, experience, and organizational fit. Many small, medium and large size companies use high volume recruiting software to run recruitment process smoothly.

This will ultimately leave your company with a targeted few excellent candidates to choose from at the narrow end of the funnel. This way you can efficiently onboard the very best person.

Following this recruitment funnel methodology helps organizations systematically hire ideal employees.

4. E-Commerce and Conversion Rates

E-commerce platforms use funnel tracking across store visits, product page views, cart additions, checkout steps, and order conversions.

Visitor segmentation helps characterize behavioral personas to customize on-site triggers for promotion views, cart recovery, email follow-ups, etc.

E-commerce marketers gather historical purchase patterns using funnel charts and then personalize upsell and cross-sell opportunities. They also make additional sales from existing high LTV clients have greater ROI than fresh ones. Ongoing funnel analysis provides E-commerce marketers with regular reality checks on actual conversions to marketing costs.

5. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is an invaluable process for understanding the complete experience customers have with a brand.

Good Marketing Makes the Company Look Smart, Great Marketing Makes the Customer Feel Smart – Joe Chernov

Using a funnel chart is extremely helpful for mapping customer journeys in a clear, organized way. The awareness stage refers to when customers are introduced to your brand. As the funnel narrows, it visually tracks how some prospects drop off along the way while others continue engaging with your brand.

6. Event Management

Right from planning to drawing registrations to the event end, many event owners use a funnel to increase participant engagement at every phase.

Pre-event promotion initiatives can also be sent by analyzing sign-up rates across social campaigns, email outreach, website banners, etc.

The increased movement of funnels helps event managers upgrade options or external venue bookings to accommodate the extra attendees.

Post-event funnel reporting delivers Crystal clear conversion metrics from participants to social platforms and referrals attendees for the next events.

7. Healthcare, Financial Services, Education, Nonprofit Organizations

Healthcare providers use patient journey analysis with clinical funnel diagrams tracking visits, diagnoses, admissions, treatments, discharges, and post-care.

Banks apply sales funnels monitoring account openings, initial deposits, fixed deposits, loan uptake, cross-sells, and portfolio sizes to increase customer lifetime value. Wealth managers use investment funnels to advise portfolio adjustments based on capital gains/losses.

Educational institutions track inquiry, application, admission rates, and class sizes across programs to guide curriculum planning. Using funnels, they also track internships, placements, and alumni donations measuring academic quality.

Nonprofits solve complex donor journeys through awareness, donations, fundraising participation, volunteer hours, social sharing, retention, and reactivation events. Analyzing funnel charts guides them to support sustainable giving.

Advantages and Benefits Of Using A Funnel Chart

Now that you’ve seen applications, let’s discuss what benefits you can get using a funnel chart

i. Clarity and Simplicity

Funnel charts turn complex multi-parameter data into simple visualizable matrics. With the chart, you can highlight net conversions, and reveal performance gaps without needing statistical complexity. Such clarity and simplicity of insights maximize your marketing efforts.

ii. Visual Impact and Bottleneck Identification

Funnel diagrams provide visual cues for rapid pattern recognition across workflow stages. The narrowed sections suggest bottlenecks. It can happen due to inadequate leads, weak nurturing, or proposal fallout. It helps you to pinpoint the root causes of leads falling so that you can solve and increase your quality leads.

iii. Decision-Making and Accountability

Funnel diagrams divide the potential leads and nurturing leads. Due to this, It became really easy to make certain business decisions. Analyzing conversion rates and drop-offs by funnel stage sets a predictive baseline for future performance.

Best Practices and Tips To Optimize A Funnel Diagram

Here are some best practices that should be kept in mind when designing and maintaining funnels :

1. Optimal Structure and Stage Count

Ideally, 5 to 7 stages offer the best balance of detailing key phases without overcomplicating analysis. Too few stages will mask crucial nuances while tracking every micro-step obscures the bigger picture. Select stages depicting important actions aligned to core goals.

For example, signing up for a free trial, adding to a cart, and making payment represent key milestones.

Ensure consistent stage counts across comparison funnels to enable accurate measurement. Maintain funnels long-term instead of rebuilding the funnel every single time.

2. Design and Labeling

Funnel shapes must denote visual narrowing via proportional depictions. Employ color coding to distinguish between stages. Effective labels clarify the exact meaning of each phase at a glance. Position them directly within funnel segments for intuitive understanding. Include contextual annotations like stage

Use minimalist and bold graphics for maximum visual impact. Employ contrasting color schemes so the tapered funnel segments stand out clearly. Include summative labels with key data points at each stage instead of cluttering them with too many data sets. Give clear headings for the overall process being depicted as well as individual stages to provide context on what each section represents.

3. Common Mistakes and Pitfalls To Avoid

Here are some common mistakes that can make funnel charts confusing instead of clarifying :

4. Scaling and Context Issues

Many funnel diagrams get scaling completely awry showing misleading trends on account of improper axis scaling or inconsistent ranges between instances. Always maintain fixed scales to allow accurate comparison – whether across periods, campaigns, product lines, etc. Failing to label stages, metrics, and contexts around the funnel leaves too much ambiguity around what’s being depicted.

5. Consistency and Data Integrity

Ensure consistency in structure, labeling conventions, and metrics definition across recurring diagrams for reliable trend analysis. The analytics are only as good as the underlying data, so validate the accuracy of all captured figures showing up in the visualized funnel. Even minor data discrepancies can undermine the reliability of derived insights.

6. Mobile-Friendly Design Neglect

With much reporting being consumed on mobile devices, responsive visualization is key. Failing to test funnel charts on mobile screens often leaves cramped rendering with unreadable labels and overlapping stage boundaries – completely losing clarity. Consider mobile-first design for seamless visibility.

Tools To Prepare A Funnel Diagram

Now that you know how to conceptualize an insightful funnel analysis, Here are some tools that you can use to ease the funnel creation process :

i. Collect Funnel Analytics

Dedicated marketing funnel builders like WPFunnels along with Google Analytics, MixPanel, and Heap provide the analytics foundation to quantify sales funnel pipeline stages. Facebook Analytics and CRMs like HubSpot also contain built-in funnel reporting capabilities.

ii. Data Tracking Tools

Install marketing trackers like Google Tag Manager, Segment, and HotJar to capture micro-conversion events at each interaction point within your website or campaigns. This facilitates granular staging of the complete journey.

iii. Funnel Chart Visualization Tools

Visualization tools like Google Data Studio, Klipfolio, Tableau, and Domo provide intuitive interfaces to transform pipeline data into interactive funnel diagrams without complex chart configuration. Drag-drop workflow expedites flexible charting.


Maintaining insightful funnel diagrams is crucial for sustained optimization across your business processes and initiatives through clearer visibility of efficiency gaps impacting your outcomes. Using the tools and best practices outlined here, you can unlock more impactful data that can double your sales.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How many stages are ideal for a funnel diagram?

Ideally, aim for 5 stages in your funnel chart to cover end-to-end flow without excessive granularity and losing context.

2. Should funnel chart scales remain consistent across reports?

Yes, maintain fixed scaling across comparison reports allowing accurate trend analysis between periods, campaigns, etc.

3. Is funnel visualization effective for physical product models?

Absolutely – it applies equally effectively to map physical product journeys via retail, distribution, and support funnels along with digital experiences.

4. How frequently should I update the funnel charts?

Refresh your funnel diagrams at least monthly, if not weekly to enable responsive optimization of underperforming workflow stages highlighted.

5. Can funnel analysis apply to internal workflows beyond customer journeys?

Yes, funnel principles work equally effectively to map any business process flows – manufacturing, case management, product development, etc. to diagnose efficiency gaps.

Samiha Nawar

Works as a technical content writer at Get WPFunnels.

Samiha Nawar

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