Leverage GA Custom Reporting To Understand Mobile User Behaviors
Mobile Web Browsing Is On The Rise… Ya Heard?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, I’m sure you’ve heard this factual snippet too many times to count. If you need a refresher, you may like to check out Dan Chung’s post on why your business needs a mobile site.
For a much wider view of how mobile browsing stacks up in the overall picture, I highly suggest taking a look at Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends presentation. Since this is a bit lengthy, I’ll just give you a few key takeaways regarding the point we’ve been trying to make here for a while now.
- As of Q1 2012, global mobile traffic is now 10% of all internet traffic.
- As of Q1 2012, mobile users are 8% of all USA eCommerce.
- In May 2012, India mobile internet use surpassed that of its desktop counterpart and many markets are predicted to follow suit in the next 5 years.
Okay, enough of all this data touting from other people. Today is the day when you no longer have to take our (or anyone else’s) word for it. Today is the day you can learn to actually find the data yourself and join the mobile revolution!
Mobile Users and Your Desktop Site
In my last blog post, I outlined my first journey into the world of Google Analytics Custom Reporting. What initially drove me to take the plunge was hitting a wall with the standard reports while trying to create a large number of filters. Well just like every great rush of adventure, you can’t stay away for long, and so I’m back again to outline my second experience with custom reporting. This time it’s to find out how mobile users are reaching and interacting with your desktop site, a statistic that is often overlooked but extremely useful for a variety of reasons. Whether you are still on the fence about making a mobile counterpart to your main site, or you already have a mobile site in place, this post has a lot of value for everyone and so I will do my best to guide you along the way.
How Many Visitors To Your Site Are Using A Mobile Device?
As you probably already know, this one is straightforward and can be found by going to GA and opening the report under Audience -> Mobile -> Overview. Everything in the “Yes” category was counted as a mobile visit. If you already have a mobile site in place and this number is still higher, it may be a good time to investigate further as to why the users are still visiting the main site. If the bounce rate is much higher than the site average, it may be time to make a mobile site that is far more user friendly for a mobile user. We also have access to several other metrics like % new visits, average visit duration, pages per visit, etc., but where is all the other data? What if I want to get more granular? Come with me…
Google Analytics Custom Reporting Round 2
My initial response to this question was to try and filter by “Medium” to only see the organic results. Of course, two seconds later, I realized that I only have one filter dimension option, “Mobile”. This simply won’t do, which means it’s time for custom reports. The great thing here is that GA has made it really easy to customize any report derived from the “Audience” section. See the little “Customize” button in between “Advanced Segments” (also super-cool) and “Email”? Click it! You are given exactly what was being shown in the standard report but awaiting further customization. Awesome! You can update or remove anything you see under “Metric Groups” to your liking, but for larger reports, I recommend removing anything that isn’t needed to speed up the processing and keep GA stable. You can see how I set mine up in the screenshot below.
The important thing to note here is in the “Dimension Drilldowns” section. If you would like to see any extra data beyond the top metrics (non-branded keywords in organic search is always a favorite), these dimensions need to be added here. If you’d like to add any extra filters, you can do so in the “Filters” section (obviously), but you can also do this in the report itself after the fact. The only filter I have in place here is to only include mobile data which can be found under “Visitors”, and just like in the standard report, should match the data “Yes”. This way we are only working with the visitor data from mobile devices.
Once the report is saved and run, you can see exactly how these mobile users are reaching your site. Interestingly enough, this example site’s mobile visits are 10.86% of the total visits to the site! Essentially right on point with the global statistic mentioned earlier. If you’re one of those folks on the fence about making a mobile site, this may be that extra push you needed. I’m sure these 175,915 mobile visitors would greatly appreciate a mobile-user friendly site. You may have realized by now that UX is king when it comes to satisfying customers.
To get a little more focused, all you need is a few extra filters. If you plan on filtering out the non-branded keywords as previously suggested, you have to first go to the “Secondary Dimension” button and click on Advertising -> Keywords to add this to the available filter choices. Then you can set up a filter similar to mine seen below.
The resulting report (with “brand name” substituted with your brand name) will give you the non-branded organic search volumes all SEO’s pine over, but only for the mobile users visiting your main site. This is invaluable information for kick-starting your mobile site and respective SEO campaign. It can also be a very good first step for those who already have a mobile site and need to find out why there are still so many mobile visits to the main site. At this point, I would like to leave the rest of the exploration up to you, adding more metrics, dimensions, and filters as you see fit.
Key Takeaways / tl;dr Version
If you haven’t jumped on the mobile site bandwagon yet, you’re missing out on catering to roughly 10% of your market, and this will continue to grow at blinding speeds. Don’t take my word for it though, you can see for yourself. Google Analytics Custom Reporting can be leveraged to dig deep and find out how mobile users are reaching and interacting with your site. Though it may not always be straightforward getting the data you need in custom reports, anything you see in a standard report can be replicated and customized. The perfect example here is that although I would never guess that what I wanted was a filter that includes mobile exactly matching “Yes”. By taking note of how GA represented this data in the standard reports it was easy to figure out.
Hopefully this post has given you some good insight into how important it is to build a mobile site. If you’ve made it this far and are seeing smaller percentages than the statistics mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Statistics are only as good as the sample size anyways, right?