Mobile Analytics with Google Analytics

posted February 21st, 2009

This great tip for using Google Analytics for mobile analytics was first brought to my attention by Craig Hordlow of Red Bricks Media in iMedia Connection. Instead of using filters and creating a separate profile, I’ve set up custom segments in the latest version of Google Analytics in order to compare mobile traffic to desktop traffic or smartphone traffic to mobile traffic easily. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Advanced Segments on the left hand side
  2. Select create new custom segment at the top right
  3. Select Systems on the left nav under Dimensions and drill down to screen resolution. Drag and drop the screen resolution box into the box that says dimension or metric.
  4. For the condition drop down, select “Matches regular expression” and enter value (^[1-2]?[0-9]?[0-9]|^3[0-1][0-9]|^320)x([1-3]?[0-9]?[0-9]$|4[0-7][0-9]$|480$)
  5. Name the segment Mobile Screen Resolution or Mobile Visitors or similar
  6. Select Create Segment.

This will cover common mobile screen resolutions and should give you some sense of what visitors are coming to your site from mobile devices. Using it, you can start to compare mobile versus desktop users or mobile versus iPhone users, get an idea of mobile specific keywords used in search engines on mobile devices, and have an idea of conversion rate from mobile users. If you’re already using Google Analytics for your web analytics package, this is a good way to start to understand mobile users to your desktop or mobile properties.


A word of caution, however: don’t expect an accurate count from Google Analytics or other JavaScript-based web analytics when it comes to tracking mobile users. I did a small-scale two week test on my homepage of Google Analytics relative to Bango Analytics for desktop sites and found that Google Analytics only tracked 12% of the pageviews caught by Bango (see below for details). Until Google Analytics and other JavaScript-based web analytics offer mobile-specific tracking, the only accurate method for tracking mobile users is to install mobile analytics.

.

Device Bango Pageviews GA Pageviews Percentage

.

Apple iPhone 18 0 0%

.

Opera Mini 8 0 0%

.

PalmUnclassified 3 0 0%

.

Blackberry 9530 2 0 0%

.

HTC P3650 2 0 0%

.

Blackberry 8310 2 0 0%

.

Blackberry 8330 1 0 0%

.

Blackberry 8830 1 0 0%

.

IEMobile 1 0 0%

.

iPod Touch 0 5

.

Samsung A707 1 0 0%

.

SonyEricsson W200i 1 0 0%

.

SonyEricsson W910i 1 0 0%

.

Nokia N96-1 1 0 0%

.

42 5 12%

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Tags: mobile_seo

Leave a Reply

20 Responses to “Mobile Analytics with Google Analytics”

  1. Interesting comparison Bryson, the team here at Bango spend a lot of time focused on collecting the best possible real-time data about mobile visitors to websites, so it’s good to see our product living up to expectation.

    I just wanted to thank you for pointing out the iPod Touch anomaly and let you know that the cause of this has now been located and corrected. Feel free to confirm this via http://bango.com.

    Regards

    Andy.

  2. [...] Natural Search and Mobile SEO Blogin Bryson Meunier vertasi mobiiliselaajien sivunlatauksia Google Analytics ja Bango Analytics -ohjelmistoilla. [...]

  3. [...] utile allargare la base del segmento e includere tutte le tipologie di cellulari. Per fare questo Bryson Meunier propone una super espressione regolare da inserire all’interno di un segmento basato sulla [...]

  4. [...] a better sense of which of your users is visiting on the go. If you want to see more mobile users, use this regular expression to filter by screen resolution. Not an ideal solution for mobile analytics, but a simple one that [...]

  5. [...] Google Analytics provides a segment for iPhone users, but a broader mobile segment for analysing this traffic would be preferential. The most obvious way to construct this segment is by grouping together the different types of mobile browsers currently on offer, but this list is ever-changing and many of these browsers are poor at executing JavaScript: mobile data will be missed altogether and the segment will be less accurate. [ more info here] [...]

  6. Thanks for the work. I’ve found a few of your posts quite useful. However, I have a bit of a hard time believing the GA numbers. In particular, the iPhone vs. the iPod Touch. The browser/cookie/JavaScript support is identical between the two, so there is no reason that GA shouldn’t count both of them. Perhaps it has something to do with the Advanced Segment regular expression rather than GA not recognizing them? I’m not sure how the phone vs. iPod touch reports screen size, especially in landscape vs. portrait mode? I know there are plenty of feature-phones that don’t get counted in GA due to lack of JS/Cookies, but I don’t believe the iPhone is one of them.

  7. SEOLion says:

    This segment is not taking care of 360×640 and 640×360 screen resolutions (it’s on Nokia 5800), it would be great if you could update your regex.

  8. [...] to Bryson Meunier for his advanced segment using screen resolutions, read the post at http://www.brysonmeunier.com/mobile-analytics-with-google-analytics/ .  I have modified his segment to include devices with higher screen resolutions and you can [...]

  9. SEOLion says:

    Okay, I have modified your segment a bit to include devices mentioned above. Please read about it at

    http://www.seolion.com/google-analytics-advanced-segment-for-mobile-device-traffic/

    Looking for bug reports and suggestions to modify these segments ;)

  10. [...] only tracked 12% of the mobile page views to a website that Bango Analytics identified (see http://www.brysonmeunier.com/mobile-analytics-with-google-analytics for details). So after much waiting and unknown quantities of inaccurate analytics reports later, [...]

  11. O says:

    Hello,

    Have you tried the new Google Anaytics for Mobile?

    Do you think it is a workable solution compared to Bango?

    Best regards,

    O

  12. I think excluding browsers is a better method than screen resolution.

  13. I used Operating System, excluded Windows, Mac, Not Set. It seems better suited.

  14. Regarding the new Google Analytics for Mobile, we constantly run the latest versions of both Bango Analytics and Google Analytics on http://mobislim.com. At the moment Google has not improved the accuracy of their mobile data recording. Their new additions do help with mobile as their old JavaScript centric code failed on most mobile devices and actually prevented sites displaying on some mobile browsers. But even though they now support image tags they don’t get visitor identity from mobile partnerships in the same way as Bango.

    Go grab a free Bango trial from http://bango.com/analytics and check it out for yourself.

  15. [...] Mobile Analytics with Google Analytics Bryson Meunier | 2/21/09 [...]

  16. Jorgen says:

    Get a quick installation guide on Google Analytics for mobile xhtml sites here: http://tips4php.net/2010/05/finally-statistics-for-your-mobile-site-in-google-analytics/

  17. PULSA says:

    I’ve seen this Bango tool as a powerful one. Google has to learn from this tool, huh

  18. This is an old article, I’m afraid, and Google Analytics now has a powerful mobile solution for those who have cared to implement it. To your point I would say that they have learned from Bango and others who have provided world class mobile analytics and used their learnings to improve the tool.

  19. Pablo Diaz says:

    Hi, great post. I just wanted to contribute the little tweak I had to make to the regular expression in order to include ipads and other larger sort-of-mobile devices.

    (^[1-7]?[0-9]?[0-9])x([1-9]?[0-9]?[0-9]$|10[0-2][0-9]$)

  20. Google Analytics provides a segment for iPhone users, but a broader mobile segment for analysing this traffic would be preferential, Google should benchmark bango system






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