Google Analytics: May not seem worth your time and resources, but… it’s a must!
You’ve likely heard that Google recently updated its search-ranking algorithm to favor mobile-friendly websites. If you’re an entrepreneur or employee at a startup that’s busy pursuing new ideas, funds and success, this change may not seem worth your time and resources, but… it’s a must.
According to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users in the U.S. is expected to surpass 200 million in 2017, accounting for nearly 65% of the population. These people are using their phones to find products and services like yours. And if they aren’t finding you, they’re probably finding your competition.
You wouldn’t consider referring a majority of your customers to your competition, would you? Well, if you aren’t optimizing your website for mobile, that’s essentially what you’re doing to your mobile audience – including potential customers, funders, business partners, etc.
Time is of the essence. Luckily, Google Analytics offers a number of reports that help entrepreneurs understand what they should do to create the best user experience, as well as attract and engage more mobile users.
We’ve outlined four Google Analytics reports that will help get you started.
Mobile Overview (Audience > Mobile > Overview)
First, we use the Mobile Overview chart in Google Analytics to see what portion of your website visitors are using mobile devices to access your site. Armed with information such as how many Sessions are started by Users on mobile devices, how long they stay on site (Avg. Session Duration), and how the Bounce Rate compares to those on mobile and tablet, you can begin to have an idea of whether or not the mobile experience is as effective as the experience on desktops.
For example, below we see that mobile traffic has increased year-over-year by nearly 84%, while desktop traffic has increased by only 23%. This significant increase reinforces the need to cater to mobile users on the site, and proves that people are looking for this brand’s product or service via mobile.
However, in the Avg. Session Duration column, we also note that mobile users spend significantly less time on the site (33 seconds vs. over a minute for desktop), which may imply that mobile users find what they’re looking for, such as phone number or location, more quickly, while desktop visitors spend more time reading on-site content.
Unfortunately, a short Avg. Session Duration can also indicate that the mobile experience is poor, and people aren’t sticking around to find what they need. Further evaluation is necessary to understand the meaning of the short Avg. Session Duration for mobile.
This information within the Mobile Overview report will be a helpful benchmark as you begin to analyze what content or pages mobile users are engaging with, and sometimes more importantly – what pages they’re not engaging with.
Devices Report (Audience > Mobile > Devices)
When you’re making updates to your mobile site, you don’t want to waste time optimizing each page for use on a device that none of your mobile visitors are using. Review the Devices Report in Google Analytics beforehand to focus on the most commonly used devices.
In the example above, we see that the iPhone and iPad top the list of devices. However, note that Android devices are broken into more specific categories with many more phone models available. In addition, notice that a number of the Samsung Galaxy S5 users appear to spend more time on the site and convert at a higher rate. This implies either a better user experience, or a more favorable demographic of user.
Channels Report (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels)
The Channels Report will provide you with more detailed information on where your mobile traffic is coming from – whether Social, Direct, Organic Search, etc. This information is helpful when you’re crafting campaigns to target these users.
To customize this report to show only mobile users, you need to apply the Mobile Traffic Segment (see: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3123951?hl=en). For example, here Social tops the list of channels driving traffic, with Organic Search second.
Of course, it’s never as simple as targeting the platforms that bring in the most Sessions. You want to review engagement rates, like Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, and Avg. Session Duration. In the example above, Social may drive the most traffic, but Organic Search drives in people likely to stay on the site longer, based on Avg. Session Duration. Therefore, you’ll want to develop a campaign that balances both Social and Organic Search to target both of these audiences.
Behavior Flow (Behavior > Behavior Flow)
The Behavior Flow chart report shows you how traffic is flowing through your website. Read this report from left to right to see what pages users are visiting and in what order. As with the Channels Report, apply the Mobile Traffic segment to see the behavior of mobile users. This will give you an idea of what specific pages mobile visitors are choosing to exit the site after reading; or that the landing page you created is not pushing traffic to the main site (this may or may not be what you intended). With this information, you can make updates to specific pages to try and improve traffic flow for mobile users.
For example, this Behavior Flow report shows data from a local Chamber of Commerce site. You can immediately see that people are most interested in finding out about events. Based on this data, the Chamber staff may want to promote events as the most prominent item on the homepage, if not already present.
As a new business, you’re constantly fighting to get noticed, be understood and be taken seriously. That’s why you have to ensure that your online presence is supporting your mission and speaking to your audience, whichever devices they’re on. Not only will this help with your Google search rankings, but your visitors (and bottom line) will thank you.