What Google Analytics Tells You About Your Mobile Visitors

How do mobile vis­i­tors find your site? What are their goals? And what con­tent are they engag­ing with?

Mark Hansen By Mark Hansen from Megalytic. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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?

Mark Hansen

Written by Mark Hansen

Founder and President, Megalytic

Mark Hansen is the Founder and President of Megalytic , the leading tool for building web analytics marketing reports. Megalytic is used by digital agencies, marketers, and business owners for faster, more insightful and better looking analytics reports. Mark writes a regular blog about Google Analytics best practices, and now provides insight on Google AdWords following Megalytic's latest integration with the tool.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

Discover why brands and agencies choose Linkdex

  • Get started fast with easy onboarding & training
  • Import and connect data from other platforms
  • Scale with your business, websites and markets
  • Up-skill teams with training & accreditation
  • Build workflows with tasks, reporting and alerts

Get a free induction and experience of Linkdex.

Just fill out this form, and one of our team members will get in touch to arrange your own, personalized demo.