Sam RoshanApril 05,2014

Design A More Intelligent Mobile Site Using Google Analytics

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When you’re trying to convince your clients that they need a mobile friendly site, there’s a ton of evidence you can present to them to support your case. For example, more than half of all Australian adults own a smartphone. Nevertheless, while general data is helpful for establishing the value of having a mobile friendly site, this data won’t give you any insights into comprehending exactly how visitors will interact with a unique brand on their mobile device.

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Commonly, designers will get requests to redesign outdated sites, so they are responsive. Examining existing analytics data will provide vital insights into how content should be presented to mobile users. Google Analytics provides several features that give detailed information on mobile activity, along with the ability to compare mobile to desktop activity.

Using Reports To Analyse Mobile Visits

Most people look at the standard reports provided by GA. We’ll examine the reports that are most important for mobile.

Overview

In order to see the types of devices your visitors are using view the report at Audience→Mobile→Overview. In this report you can see high level stats like the proportion of your visits that are using mobile devices.

Overview

Just showing your customers the number of mobile visits they are receiving is frequently enough to convince them that they need a responsive site. In most cases, desktop visits will comprise about 60% of visitors, with the remainder coming from tablets and smartphones.

But, the design team should examine mobile data more deeply than a simple overview.

Devices

Use this report to get data regarding the exact devices that are used to access a site. Go to Audience→Mobile→Devices to get this report. This information can help you to identify usability problems on a specific device or OS. For instance, if the iPhone shows a higher bounce rate than other types of devices you may want to examine the behaviour of your site on an iPhone.

Device

As an example, you may discover that conversions are higher on tablets rather than smartphones. This will indicate that a site is not usable on smartphones and that tablets may be large enough to accommodate users.

However, this report will give you more data than a simple device list. You can also choose varying screen dimensions to look at factors like operating system and screen resolution. By examining the screen resolutions that are most commonly used you can determine the breakpoints used in your responsive design. You will also be able to determine the screen resolutions that have a higher bounce rate or minimal site time. This may result from content being cut-off at those resolutions.

Operating System And Browser

You can use this report to display the browsers being used to access a site and it will also show trends. To view this report go to Audience→Technology→Browser&OS. For instance, you can tell wither Firefox or a default browser is utilised more frequently on Android devices. You will also have the ability to view OS statistics and you can add another column for OS versions.

Operating System and Browser

This report may also tell you the amount of time and effort you should exert to make a site compatible with older browsers. If a significant number of users are still accessing your site from older browser versions, it may be worthwhile to make it backward compatible.

Advanced Segment Creation

The main reports provided in analytics give a good amount of useful information, while advanced segments will allow you to obtain more granular data on mobile users. Segments can be used to make a distinction between desktop, mobile, and tablet users and even to segment between devices and screen resolutions.

In order to see advanced segments first go the GA’s reporting tab. Then you should click on the drop-down next to “All Visits”. You will them have access to a menu that permits you to look at segments that already exist and to create new segments. There will be two segments that already exist namely “tablet traffic” and “mobile traffic”. You should create an additional segment for desktops because the existing segment will lump tablets and desktops together.

Advanced segments can be applied to reports throughout GA’s interface. These segments can be used when you are examining data since mobile user behaviour is normally quite different from desktop and tablet user behaviour. When you are trying to determine why there has been a sharp jump in bounce rate or other difficulties, these segments will often help you determine if this issue is related to a specific type of device. When examining mobile visitors, you may want to review the following helpful reports.

Pages

You can use this report to determine the pages that are most frequently viewed by mobile users. Go to Behavior→Site Content→All Pages to see this report. This report is helpful in planning the type of navigation to use for mobile visitors and identifying pages that are not being found by mobile visitors. A comparison of the most visited pages by mobile and desktop visitors will give you insights into the goals of each type of visitor.

All Pages

Exit Pages

This report will tell you the last pages your visitors view prior to exiting your site. Go to Behavior→Site Content→Exit Pages to view this report. When you are examining your mobile visitors look at the pages that are exited most often to identify issues that may be stopping users from completing their goals.

Visitors Flow

This report will show the paths that users take through a site most often. Go to Audience→Visitors Flow to see this report. A comparison of desktop and mobile behaviour will assist you in determining the pages that should be most prominent for each type of user.

Traffic Sources

Use this report to see the primary sources through which your users arrive on your site. Go to Acquisition→All Traffic to view this report. By viewing desktop and mobile segments you will be able to see if your mobile visitors are arriving on your site from a particular source. For instance, we have noticed that a significant proportion of mobile traffic comes from Facebook, since many users gain access to Facebook from a mobile app. This type of data can assist you in altering your mobile messaging to accommodate people visiting you from social media platforms.

Traffic Source

This can also help you to identify issues with mobile search engine indexing. If your mobile organic traffic is significantly less than on desktops, you may want to identify factors that are causing you to be penalized on mobile searches.

Conclusion – Take Action

If you are re-designing a site and have access to GA data, then you will have plenty of data to use in directing your design decisions. Be sure you take advantage of this data.

If you need to convince a client that they need a mobile-friendly site, begin by identifying the proportion of users that are coming from tablets and smartphones. Then look at the browsers, screen resolutions and devices to determine the elements that should be included in mobile navigation. Then use traffic sources, visitor flows, and most frequently viewed pages to find out the content which should be made most prominent and the manner in which users should be guided for each type of device.

When designing any site ignoring audience data will lead to an ineffective design. If you fail to provide a mobile-friendly site for your visitors, you are likely to lose customers to your competition. Designers need to use all the data that is at their disposal to make their designs useful for their mobile audience.

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Author: Sam Roshan Sam Roshan has been working in the Digital Marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked for multiple companies ranging from corporates to boutique agencies encompassing his unique skill set to ensure businesses of all sizes can compete and grow their business using Online marketing strategies.

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