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We've been getting a ton of questions about mobile sites these days:

  • Should my company build a mobile site?
  • Are many people using smart phones to conduct online business?
  • Are my customers using their phones to view my site?

Well, hopefully you have Google Analytics installed on your web site to help you figure out how your visitors are using your site. If so, we can help you answer the above questions and more. If you don't have it installed, you should consider it. It's free and gives you a lot of very useful information. If you'd like help or advice about getting Google Analytics or another web metrics package installed, give us a shout and we can help.

Back to the topic at hand, up until a few months ago, isolating mobile visits in a Google Analytics report was a bit trickier. However, about six months ago (at the end of 2009) the Google folks rolled out a new set of reports dedicated to tracking mobile visitors to your site. I'll show you how to run those reports and, more importantly, what you should be looking for. Let's get started:

  1. Step 1: Login to your Google Analytics account with your Google account user name and password. After logging in, you should be on the "dashboard" screen of your web site.
  2. Step 2: In the upper right area of the dashboard you'll see a date range, and to the right of the ending date, you'll see a small arrow pointing down, click on that arrow and you can change the date range.
  3. Step 3: Select a start date of 01/01/2010; an end date of the most recent Saturday and click the "apply" button. You should now have a date range from the beginning of this year through the most recent full week. This should provide us with enough data to help us answer our original questions above. Select a timeframe of at least five or six months, that will give you a decent trend for growth.


  1. Step 4: Immediately below the date range, you can choose whether you want to graph by daily, weekly or monthly segments; select "weekly" to give us the best view of the data for trending. (If you're reading the blog post some time in 2011 or beyond, you can select "monthly" if you prefer.)
  2. Step 5: Now, let's navigate to the Mobile report. In the upper left corner of the dashboard, you'll see the main navigation. Click on the "Visitors" link to expand a list of all available visitor reports.
  3. Step 6: There should be a link near the bottom of the choices called "Mobile". Click on that link and you get two sub-reports, click on the one that says "Mobile Devices".
  4. Step 7: This is our report.


What are we looking for?

  • Growth - Look at the trend line (chart above) to see how rapidly your audience is adopting mobile technology into their web-viewing habits.
  • Percentage of Overall Site Traffic - Growth is great, but if you are experiencing 4x growth by going from one mobile visitor a month to four, you can probably put mobile initiatives behind other site needs.
  • Mobile Visitor Activities - Look at your bounce rates, pages per visit, time on site, etc. If these are lower than your site average, it could mean that mobile users don't fing your site to be as usable on a phone as on a desk top. If you do decide to build a mobile site, use these numbers as a before-and-after benchmark.

Before making any key changes to your web site, look at your analytics. Nine times out of 10, the data is there to help you make the best decision possible.

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