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March 28, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

How To: Monitor Mobile Traffic Using Google Analytics

How To Monitor Mobile Traffic Using Google Analytics

The convergence of the mobile phone and the Internet has promised to change our lives forever.  We are now able to access the Internet anywhere we go and many companies are beginning to offer mobile payment options.  Most Canadians own a mobile device, and they're using them daily to access information, news and entertainment.  This change in technology has truly changed our lives, and the way in which we communicate and interact with the outside world. 

Renters are among those Canadians that have adopted this technology.  In the last year we've seen growth in the number of renters who are accessing rental websites via mobile devices.  This increase makes sense, as the cost of owning these devices has fallen, and availability of the devices has increased.

As a rental website owner, wouldn’t it be nice to know if these mobile users are visiting your website?  Even better, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see what they're doing when they get there?  Well you can, and all you need to do is register for Google Analytics.

Google Analytic – a free, web-based analytics solution that allows you to gather insight on your website’s traffic.  If you haven’t already installed Google Analytics then you’ll need to create an account before you proceed.  Read this article on, “How To Sign Up For A Google Analytics Account” or visit the Google Analytics page at www.google.ca/analytics.  If you already have an analytics account then continue reading. 

 

Step 1: Log Into Your Google Analytics Account

Log into your Google account on Google's search page at the top right corner of the screen.  Once you're signed in to your account then you'll be re-directed to Google's main search screen.  To access your analytics account you'll need to click on “Google Account Settings” at the top right hand corner of the screen.  From there you can then select Google Analytics from your list of products.

Once you arrive on the overview screen, you can select the account that you’re interested in viewing using the drop-down box entitled, “My Analytics Accounts”.  Once that is completed then you can select the report you’re interested in by clicking on the drop-down box marked, “View Reports”. 

(Note: If you only have one analytics account then disregard selecting an account and go right to view reports.)

You will then be directed to the dashboard screen by default, as shown below in Figure 1.  From there you will navigate to find your mobile visitor data.

 

Figure 1.

 

 

Step 2: Locate Your Mobile Visitor Data

In the left hand navigation bar select “Visitors” then “Mobile” and then “Devices”.  The page that is now displayed will show you which mobile devices are being used to access your website and how many mobile users are visiting your site.  

Figure 2 below shows a screenshot of this page.  Overall we see that 214 mobile users accessed the website, via 6 different operating systems, from February 25th to March 27th, 2011.  We can also see the breakdown of those visitors, their page views, the time they spent on the site and their bounce rates.  But we can dive even deeper into the report and see further statistics about this group of visitors.  Let's see how.

 

Figure 2.

 

 

Step 3: Dive Deeper Into The Data

Sometimes we want to look at more than just the basic information that this report provides.  Although knowing that some of our traffic derives from mobile devices is beneficial, we may also want to know more about the mobile users device, their behaviour and their specific location. To do so we need to drill down in the report.

Take a look at Figure 3.  This screenshot illustrates what happens when you click on the drop-down arrow next to the box located above the operating systems report.  Each of the variables listed in this drop-down menu contain links to additional information about your mobile visitors. 

For example, if you click on the city link you will see a breakdown of which cities those mobile visitors are in.  The keyword link will show you what keywords they typed in to find your website and the source link will show you who referred that traffic to your site.  Each of these variables will give you further in-sight into your mobile web traffic.

 

Figure 3.