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Show actor paths using flows

A flow is a visual representation of a path of actions taken by an actor, an intuitive graph plotting an actor's journey. You can view the discovery paths of all actors simultaneously, and study the events of an individual path. You can also analyze a sequence of events for a particular actor at a granular level. Flows let you track trends and project user behaviors over time.


This article demonstrates how to create a flow showing users who completed a set of steps over a specified period of time. Then how to use the flow to show actor paths and determine:

  • the users who completed each step,
  • the users who dropped off, and
  • the steps completed by a single user.

Creating a flow

Flows provide the ability to analyze actor engagement, conversion, and path discovery. This section demonstrates how to create a flow that shows the paths for users who purchased a movie. 

To create a flow, do the following:
  1. Click the Flows icon in the left navigation bar.


  1. Choose a dataset from the drop-down list at the top of the window. We chose the usage dataset for our example. The options available to you will reflect your data.


  1. In the upper right corner of the window, click New Flow.


  1. Click the Definition tab, and then select an Actor from the drop-down list. We chose user for our example.


  1. Enter a descriptive name for Step 1 and select a filter from the drop-down menu. We entered Anything for the name and accepted the default filter all events


  1. Enter a descriptive name for Step 2 and select the appropriate filter options from the drop-down lists. We entered Purchase Movie and selected events with action that matches purchase_movie.


  1. Optional: Add another step, entering a name, and selecting filter options.
  2. Click inside Flow ends after inactivity of and enter or select a time interval, then enter or select a Flow ends after total time option, and select Restart, End flow, and First step conditions as necessary. The selections for our example are shown in the following screenshot.


  1. Specify Filtered to values or accept all events as we did for our example, then click GO to generate the flow.


The results appear in the window on the right. We received the following results for our flow.


Showing actor paths

This section utilizes the flow you created, and demonstrates how to show:

  • the users who completed each step,
  • the users who dropped off, and
  • the steps completed by a single user.
To show actor paths in a flow, do the following:
  1. Hover the cursor over the step for conversion, to show the users who successfully completed the flow. In our example, purchasing a movie is the final step for conversion.


  1. Hover the cursor over the final drop-off step, to show all users who dropped off before conversion. 


  1. Hover the cursor over an individual path, to show the users who dropped off after completing that step.


  1. For a granular view of events leading up to a movie purchase, click Explore in the left menu bar, choose the flow from the drop-down menu (in the first line of the query). In our example, we chose Path discovery to movie purchase.
  2. Adjust the Start and Ending times as necessary, and click the Sankey view icon at the top of the page. 
  3. Select the step in the flow diagram and choose See events leading up to this state from the drop-down list. The diagram changes to display a granular view of all the events leading up to that step.


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