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This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would.
Hey, Kooz fans, I’m Graeme. I’m going to be talking to you today about how you can try and answer some questions about mobile search using Google Analytics. There’s no doubt about it. Mobile search is something that pretty much every business needs to be well aware of. The opportunity there is massive. We’re now seeing the data come out saying that mobile devices are now starting to take the lion’s share of all searches that are being performed, specifically with Google.
So, with that in mind, we should start to treat mobile and desktop not so much separately, but we shouldn’t just absorb everything within one overall kind of view of how the site performs. So what I wanted to do today was kind of think about how you can analyse the opportunity that mobile offers you. Also, look at what you can do within Google Analytics to help you uncover some of those insight, and then push you towards considering what solution it is that you decide to offer to your mobile viewers.
So, with this in mind, where I’ll start is really at the top, basically having a look at your site and what it gets as far as user sessions for mobile devices and for non-mobile devices. I’m quite a big fan of looking for trends as it can tend to help back up some of either preconceived notions or present completely new findings. Data tells a different story to gut feeling. Sometimes it’s worth backing up gut feeling with data or looking to see if the data can just basically destroy those kind of preconceived notions.
So I’m focusing on Google Analytics here. Where I’m going is into the technology report and looking at mobile, the mobile report within that. I think looking at the 3-month period, so looking at the current 3-month period you’re in, comparing that to the previous 3-month period, doing likewise for the current 6-month period, comparing that to the previous 6-month period and doing the same for a 12-month period as well, you’ll start to see a rate of not so much adoption, but it will show you the change in behaviour of the audience that comes to your site, how it’s behaving differently, so using the different mobile devices to access your site.
My gut feeling is that you will probably see an increase in mobile device usage and obviously a slight decrease in the desktop usage of the site. The rate of that will probably define how quickly you need to move to adapt your site structure and content to capitalise on that. And that’s where you then kind of look at what the user behaviour is telling you.
I think it’s well worth and there’s plenty that already kind of exist if you look at the Google Analytics gallery, the assets that are in there, you want to have an advanced segment that isolates just mobile user sessions, mobile and tablets together, another one that excludes mobile and tablet sessions as well so that you can compare and contrast the two different data sets throughout the Google Analytics reports that you can access.
So get yourself one of those. Get yourself on of those as well. I think if mobile is a big consideration to you, it will be well worth considering setting up a view within Analytics that’s just dedicated to mobile traffic. Effectively, you then get a version of Google Analytics that’s solely focused to mobile user data. You don’t run into the issues of data sampling that you do using an advanced segment.
The downside is obviously that you’ll only start collecting data from the moment that you set up the view. You can’t look back historically, which is what an advanced segment can give you. If you apply a segment, it will look at the whole data range that you are applying it to. So those two things are a great asset. They both have pros and cons that you need to be aware of as well.
Now, looking at user behaviour, Google Analytics has a wealth of information that drills down device types so you can start to see the popular devices that are accessing your site. This, I think, will help to inform your strategy moving forward when we’re kind of considering how we’re serving content to the mobile, the non-desktop users.
It might well be that you’ve got a broad range of devices that are commonly accessing the site. There might be stranger cases where there’s a very fixed small set of devices that are regularly driving traffic or using your site. That’s going to be quite interesting, because you have a lot of pros and cons with the three main ways of serving content to mobile users, being responsive design, dynamic serving, or using a parallel solution. So this type of analysis will help to kind of give you a leeway into what solution you want to be offering to your regular users.
The other types of things to look at is you’ll have your money pages. You’ll have the pages that you know are very popular on the site. Is that true with mobile devices? Is it true that there are no other pages that are randomly getting lots and lots of interaction? The rule of thumb really for this is not to assume anything, because until you’ve got the data to back it up, it’s just a gut feeling and you’re potentially going to be missing out on either extra user sessions or, even worse, conversions as well.
So I think looking at the content that’s consumed by mobile users versus desktop, so having a mobile advanced segment and an exclude mobile segment, will show you the same data set but with the two audiences there, looking at the content that’s being consumed, pulling in conversion behaviour as well, which assets are converting better on mobile devices than desktops and conversely the same, because that will pinpoint the areas on the site or at page level that you can make incremental improvements to, which tend to translate to incremental gains.
I should stress as well this type of analysis should be done at page level, all the way through looking at page level so that you’re not having figures over-inflated based on using an average, because an average will dumb down the really bad performers, and it will also not show you the really high performers as well. So it’s worth keeping that in mind.
Things like bounce rate, average duration, the average number of pages that are consumed as well, how does mobile compare to desktop? Those insights will, again, start to tell you where you should be spending your time. For instance, if your mobile traffic converts way better than your desktop traffic, even though it gets, I don’t know, half as much of the amount of sessions, then there’s a real opportunity there to either learn from mobile users using the site or trying to apply the things that you’ve found out there across the board to increase conversions as well.
With that in mind, you’ll then start to look at moving out of Google Analytics and perhaps looking at the SERPs overall, the mobile one versus the desktop one, to understand if there’s any kind of change in what a user is kind of looking for. This can produce difficulties when you’re trying to decide what you’re going to target, identifying keywords, for instance. This will then kind of start to inform, again, how you’re going to serve up content to the people on different devices.
For instance, with responsive design, it’s a great way of obviously having one solution that adapts your pages’ content to the user’s device. However, with a dynamic serving, you can select for a particular device type or screen resolution exactly what content you want to serve up on there, which gives you a bit more flexibility in being able to target different things as well.
Then you’ve also got having a parallel solution, like using a mobile domain, m.domain.com, etc., which helps you have something completely different for your mobile users but throws up the potential issue of duplicating content.
So this is a whole video that’s worth doing all by itself. But it’s easy to see how this type of analysis will start to move people towards identifying what is the best solution for their site’s users.
So that’s been my view on how you can get started slicing and dicing the data that you’ve got in Google Analytics to find some answers about mobile search and where the opportunities are for you. Any questions, let me know in the comments at the end of the video. Also if you want to get in touch, our social profiles are there at the end of the video as well. Thanks very much.