Google Analytics: Tracking Mobile Use

Let’s face it –everywhere you turn there’s someone with a smartphone.

More and more people are turning to their mobile devices to access the internet. In fact, in 2015, mobile devices overtook desktops as the primary devices that people are using to go online. Last year, mobile devices accounted for 52.7 percent of internet users –a number that’s expected to grow to 63.4 percent by 2017.

Since more and more people are visiting websites with their smartphones, it makes sense for your town website to be optimized for these visitors. Having a responsive website, one that’s designed to load properly and quickly on smartphones is important. In addition to optimizing your website, there’s another change that the rise in mobile browsers has brought: the importance of tracking mobile users through Google Analytics, or another analytics program.

While it’s no secret that companies have been tracking their visitors for years, determining where they are coming from, the bounce rate, and search terms that they used to find the website, today it’s important to look at your visitor data separately: and see how it pertains to both desktop and mobile visitors. Looking at the data on your mobile visitors will provide you with valuable insight into these visitors, which you can use to optimize your website, to better reach them.

If you have a website for your town, here are a few reasons you may want to start tracking the data on both desktop –and mobile visitors.

Bounce Rate

One important metric to look at, is the bounce rate as it pertains to each device. How long your visitors spend on your website can indicate that your website may need to be optimized for a specific visitor segment. For instance, if visitors using iPhones tend to click away faster than desktop visitors, you will want to test your website out in an iPhone, to make sure there isn’t an issue with the page loading on that specific operating system.


You’ll also want to look at engagement, and see what desktop and mobile users are doing on each page. With most pages, there will be a goal outcome –whether it’s to download a form, click the “contact us” button, or view the agenda. Pay close attention to goal fulfillment, and see if users from a specific device are clicking away more than desktop visitors. If mobile visitors aren’t following through with your goal outcomes, it could be that your website’s structure could be preventing, or making it difficult for them to do so.

Organic Keywords

You should also look at keywords that visitors are using to find you via organic search. Pay close attention to which keywords mobile visitors are using, compared to the ones that desktop users are searching out. In many cases, they will be different. This could give you an idea about which keywords you may want to use to optimize your site in order to draw in more mobile visitors.

Site Speed

Another metric that you can check is website load speed. Google Analytics will let you see how quickly your website is loading on different devices. Again, if you notice a discrepancy, and see, for instance that your website is loading considerably slower on one specific device, it’s a good idea to look a bit deeper. While it could be an indicator of an unusually long load time for one specific visitor, in some cases, it could mean that it’s an issue loading on a specific operating system. If this is the case, it’s important to look for ways to optimize it, to help it load faster.

Google Analytics is a great way to see what your visitors are doing, which in turn will give you the clues that you need to optimize your website so that it does its job, and performs well for your visitors.

Does your town need a website or redesign? At Town Web Design, we provide web design for small to medium-sized municipalities, and would be happy to build a responsive website for you. Visit us today to learn more.

Image: Maurizio Pesce

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