Google recently introduced a new search algorithm that favors mobile-friendly websites. Given this change, marketers are focused on best practices related to analytics and how they can help to ensure that their websites are mobile ready.
Here’s an important question: Does your company’s website adhere to Google’s latest algorithm change, which gives ranking prominence to mobile-friendly websites? You can check it here: Mobile-Friendly Test. If not, it’s time that you do.
This latest update from Google may seem frustrating to some marketers, but it’s an important one given that mobile web visits continue to increase. In fact, mobile platforms (smartphones or tablets) account for 60 percent of total digital media time spent.
So whether you’re concerned with Google rankings or not (though, aren’t we all?), you must take the time to ensure your website is mobile-user friendly and ultimately achieving your business goals – whether that’s increasing sales, building brand awareness, or driving downloads.
With the help of Google Analytics, you can gain a better understanding of how mobile visitors are finding your site, what their goals are, and what content they’re engaging with. You can then utilize this information to make tweaks to your site that will improve its user experience (UX) and eventually lead to more conversions.
Overview Of Mobile Engagement
Before making any updates to your site, you want to get a better understanding of how mobile visitors are engaging with the website. The Mobile Overview report in Google Analytics will give you an idea of mobile users’ activity on your site. Also within this report, you can utilize the “Plot Rows” options to highlight how mobile and tablet traffic have changed over time vs. desktop.
With a broad understanding of how mobile visitors are engaging with your website, you can then dig deeper if you notice any red flags. For example, if any page has a high Bounce Rate percentage, then you should try to discover why people are leaving from that page:
- Is it not loading fast enough on mobile?
- Is the text too small to read on a phone?
- Is it too much content to read on the go?
In the example below, you can see that mobile traffic shows the highest Bounce Rate, shortest Average Session Duration, and lowest Conversion Rate. These statistics should prompt a detailed assessment of how the site appears and performs on a mobile device.
Acquisition Of Mobile Traffic
In order to help you understand where mobile visitors are coming from, Google Analytics offers the Channels report (Audience > All Traffic . Channels). Using this report you can apply the “Mobile Traffic” segment and study whether mobile users are finding you through email, social, organic search, etc.
For example, the report below shows that display drives the most mobile traffic, followed by organic search, direct, and paid search. We also see that organic search shows the lowest bounce rate and most pages per session, with these visitors more likely to browse through the site beyond the first point of contact. In this case, you may want to develop a marketing approach that balances display and organic Search to maintain the volume of mobile traffic, while shifting the mix to the more-engaged organic search visitors.
You can dig deeper into the data by clicking on a particular channel (e.g., social). This will show you what specific social networks are bringing the most visitors to your mobile site. With this information you can then strategically alternate any marketing efforts to target the networks that are driving quality traffic.
For example, below you can see that Facebook, by far, drives the most visitors via mobile. However, you can also see that Pinterest generates a much higher percentage of new sessions, showing its value in bringing in people otherwise unfamiliar with the site.
Behavior Of Mobile Traffic
As you likely visit sites on mobile on a daily basis yourself, think about what frustrates you most about these platforms.
- Is it the load time?
- Is it inactive buttons or links?
- Maybe it’s too-persistent pop-up ads?
Whatever it is, these annoyances may also be bothering the users of your brand’s website.
To get a better understanding of what your mobile users’ annoyances might be, and where they are dropping off your website, review the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics with the “Mobile Traffic” segment applied. This report shows how traffic flows through a site.
Reading the example below from left to right, you can see that mobile visitors are most likely to enter the site via blog posts (interesting, as the home page is the top landing page for desktop), moving on to view the Recipes section or other blog posts.
In order to keep these visitors engaged beyond the first blog post, you may want to take a look at your blog to evaluate ways to keep them on the website. Perhaps that includes adding a “suggested posts” section, including banner ads to your home page, providing a newsletter signup – something that makes sense for your website that will encourage further engagement.
By 2017, the number of smartphone users in the U.S. is expected to surpass 200 million, nearly 65 percent of the population. Although the immediate need for your mobile site may be to adhere to Google’s new search ranking standards, you should also invest in improving the overall appeal to mobile users.
The various Google Analytics reports discussed here offer a good starting point to better understand your mobile traffic and identify site weaknesses. With regular check-ins and reports, you can consistently update and improve the UX for your mobile traffic, which will ultimately lead to more engagement and conversions.
What mobile metrics do you find most valuable?