As smartphone sales boom and mobile traffic is on the rise, marketers are starting to get more and more interested in their mobile visitor performance. Important is to make sure that you are not one of those that is making decisions about creating mobile apps, mobile websites, transforming content, etc. without analyzing mobile traffic as it is simply too dangerous to make business decisions based on opinion and not data.

So, if you are wondering how your mobile traffic compares to your desktop/laptop traffic, then this article is for you, as it provides a quick and easy way to use the new Google Analytics to understand top-level mobile performance.

Gaining a mobile baseline

In order to make smart and informed decisions about mobile strategy, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how your current mobile traffic is performing. In addition, it’s a wise move to have data points handy when asked how your current site handles mobile visitors. For example, if your CEO suddenly wants to know the percentage of revenue or conversion coming from mobile visitors, you can give hard numbers immediately.

Using the methods listed below, you can fire up Google Analytics, access just a handful of reports, and view performance data for mobile visitors, since the latest version of Google Analytics provides mobile reports that contain all these information. Using this data, you can quickly understand if mobile visitors are having problems when visiting your site, if they are bouncing, not converting, etc. After you run this top-level reporting, you can choose to dig deeper, identify changes to make, and form a stronger mobile strategy. In addition, you can view mobile performance by operating system (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry, etc.), since we know that’s the next logical question your CEO/CMO will ask.

Quick methods for viewing top-level mobile performance

There are two quick methods for accessing mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Both reports are contained in the Mobile reporting tab within the Visitors section of Google Analytics. The first will enable you to see a top-level report for desktop and mobile visitors, while the second report will enable you to view mobile visitors by operating system.

Accessing Mobile Reporting in Google Analytics

google1In the new Google Analytics, you can access mobile reporting in the Audience section of the UI. Click Audience, and then Mobile to reveal two reports (Overview and Devices). Note, Google Analytics has updated the interface, and the tab used to be named Visitors.

The first report we are going to access is the “Overview” report. This report simply shows mobile visitors versus non-mobile visitors. Although this looks like a simple report, it can show you the overall performance difference between the two segments of traffic (mobile and desktop visitors). Once you access the report, you’ll see two rows of data, one labeled “Yes” for mobile visitors, and the other “No” for non-mobile visitors.

View the screenshot:


At this point, all of your mobile traffic is lumped into the “Yes” row. You can quickly view top-level metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages per Visit, Average Time on Site, etc.

After taking a quick look at the report, how does the Bounce Rate look for mobile visitors? If you see a much higher bounce rate with your mobile traffic, it could obviously mean they are not having a great experience on your site. You might start asking some questions at this point… Does your current site render ok for mobile visitors? Is your navigation missing or broken on mobile devices? Can users convert and complete a transaction, etc.?

Checking Conversion for Mobile Visitors

If you have set up multiple conversion goals, then click the Goal Set tabs.


Now you can see the difference between desktop and mobile visitors with regard to conversion. If you run an e-commerce site, you can view revenue numbers for each segment, as well. Again, we are just looking at a top-level view right now. Based on what you find, you will probably want to dig much deeper into traffic sources, campaigns, keywords, content, etc., later on.

By the way, notice the process you are going through to analyze mobile traffic in Google Analytics is quick and easy, but also very powerful. Many companies aren’t armed with even the most basic data regarding mobile performance. By quickly going through this process, you will have a top-level view of mobile performance based on data. This will enable you to make informed decisions about how to best move forward with your site content, how to drive conversion via mobile visitors, etc.  - basically, you’ll have data backing your case.

Viewing mobile traffic by operating system

Let’s say that mobile traffic has a high bounce rate and low conversion (obviously). Your next question might be, “which mobile operating systems perform best or worst on my site – e.g. Android vs. iPhone vs.  Blackberry vs. iPad”? The good news is that you can quickly see the breakdown via the “Devices” report in the Mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Once you click the “Devices” report, you can dimension the report by mobile operating system by clicking the “Operating System” link (which is located horizontally at the top of the report.)

See screenshot below:


Once you click the operating system dimension, you will see all of your mobile visits broken down by mobile operating system. Then you can go through the same process we used above to view bounce rate, conversion, revenue, etc. You might find that certain OS’s have more problems than others. For example, maybe iPad traffic has a 92% bounce rate and very low conversion rates, where Android phones have a 42% bounce rate and decent conversion rates. You won’t know until you run the reporting. And again, you will probably want to dig deeper later on, once you get a top-level view by OS.

The next time you’re in a meeting and someone asks how mobile visitors perform on your website, you can now be armed with data. As mentioned before, don’t base decisions on opinion when you can analyze hard data via Google Analytics reporting. In just minutes, you can gain a top-level view of mobile visitor performance, and then dig deeper to view performance by mobile operating system.

Source: G-Squared Interactive (GSQi)