Mobile Analytics with Google Analytics

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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