As of March 2018, Google officially announced that the roll out of a mobile-first index has started after a year and a half of testing.

This means that now, more than ever, your site needs to provide a good user experience on mobile.

Most sites should already be mobile responsive by now – BUT, there is a difference between a site being simply mobile responsive and a site that has the same, if not a better ability to convert and engage target audiences on mobile than it does on desktop.

Let me ask you this…

  • Do you know how long on average mobile users spend on your site?
  • Are users able to navigate from page to page easily despite the small screen?
  • On average, what percentage of total conversions come from mobile traffic?
  • Are you aware of how long it takes on average to load a page in mobile?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then rest assured, this guide will have you monitoring mobile performance in Google Analytics in just a few short steps.

How to compare mobile, desktop and tablet site engagement

Under the audience section of the left navigation, click on mobile > overview.

How to Track Your Sites Mobile Performance in Google Analytics

You can see mobile engagement metrics by looking at the bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration.

User behaviour metrics

If these levels are significantly different to desktop, particularly when it comes to bounce rate, then this can be a strong indication that your users are not sharing the same experience on different screen sizes and improvements may need to be made.

In the case above, users are spending half the amount of time on mobile than on desktop, they are viewing on average less pages and have a higher bounce rate, which means more users are exiting the site after having only viewed one page as well as not engaging with any contact forms.

Each of these engagement factors (bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration) are taken into account when it comes to SEO, as they are a good indication of whether your content is taking an interest. Start to improve these metrics over time, and you could see a positive change in rankings.

Why is my bounce rate higher on mobile than desktop?

There are a number of reasons why a bounce rate can be higher in mobile, but the following tend to be the main factors:

Your site speed – it’s likely that mobile users are using 3G or 4G, pair this with a site that’s not optimised for speed regularly, and the result can be a very slow experience.

Placement of ads – your ads may not look too obtrusive on desktop, but on mobile they can be very irritating if not placed well, causing users to prematurely leave the site.

Is it always a bad thing that mobile users are spending less time on mobile?

Not always, it’s important to consider the fact that there may be some positive reasons why people are spending less time on your site from a mobile device.

Do you have a site search that is taking users directly to relevant pages? Is there a short conversion funnel, such as a click to call phone number in the header and prominent call to action buttons? How about an express checkout service?

If users are spending less time on the mobile version of your site, but are converting just as much, if not more than on desktop, then this is an indication that your site is well optimised for mobile users.

How to compare mobile, desktop and tablet conversions

Conversions are in the same area as engagement metrics, in the audience section of the left navigation, click on mobile > overview.

Conversions in analytics

If there are no conversions at all, it is likely that you don’t have goals set up, in which case you will need to do this in the admin area.

In the above example, the conversion rate is slightly lower for mobile, but interestingly, tablet conversions are the highest. If this organisation has PPC campaigns running, then they might want to consider adjusting bids for tablet users.

How to discover which landing pages perform best in mobile

In the behaviour section of the left navigation, click on site content > landing pages.

landing pages in Google Analytics

We need to filter results by mobile, so next click on the all users box.

top landing pages in mobile

You should see three buttons pop down, click on new segment.

top landing pages in mobile google analytics

In the technology tab, ensure that the device category box exactly matches mobile. Finally, name your new segment and click save.

mobile segment

Now you should be able to see landing page metrics for mobile.

top landing pages in mobile

As we can see, in the example above, in the last week, none of the landing pages have converted in mobile.

It’s important to look at the nature of these landing pages, are they your top service pages or are they blog posts? Consider what types of actions you’d like users to take after viewing this page and ensure that these call to actions are prominent and enticing.

Your blog posts for example, these aren’t all going to be sales pitches and you wouldn’t necessarily expect users to get in touch immediately after reading one. However, they may be willing to sign up for your email newsletter for future content. What are you currently doing to encourage these conversions?

Knowing which landing pages receive the highest traffic in mobile will help you to prioritise when making conversion rate optimisation decisions.

How to find out your site’s mobile load times

In the behaviour section of the left navigation, click on site speed > page timings.

mobile page speed

To compare mobile site speeds to overall site speeds, you will need to filter the data by the mobile segment you created earlier (if you skipped this step, please refer to the last how to section).

check mobile speed google analytics Segment audience by mobile google analytics

Once you’ve added the mobile segment, you will be able to see an average page load time comparison for mobile compared to all users. In the example below, we can see that the site is actually faster for mobile users. A good reason for this is because mobile users are being sent to a more condensed version of the main site.

mobile speed comparison

Personally, I prefer to use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, which will compare your site speed in mobile to desktop and show ways in which the speed can be improved. You can choose to either test your whole site domain or individual pages that are important to your business.

Custom mobile performance reporting

In the steps above, I talked through the ways in which you can quickly check various mobile performance metrics.

If you’d like to view this data over time or have a need to send a report to various stakeholders in your organisation, the best way to do this is by setting up a custom dashboard.

Here is an example of one that I’ve created previously:

custom mobile performance dashboard

To start setting up a custom report yourself, simply click on customisation > dashboards and then create a new dashboard.

custom dashboard google analytics

Select blank canvas, and then name your dashboard.

blank canvas dashboard google analytics

From here, you’ll be able to set up your individual widgets, showing the custom data you want to report on.

In the below examples, I’m demonstrating how to create a widget showing just mobile traffic and the pages with the highest bounce rates on mobile.

mobile traffic widget google analytics landing pages with the highest bounce rates

Copy the mobile performance dashboard directly to your GA account

To save you creating a new dashboard from scratch, follow the link below to copy my dashboard straight to your own Analytics account. You can add, edit and delete widgets according to your own needs.

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Improve the performance of your website in mobile with Rooster Marketing

After taking the steps detailed in this blog, you should now have a better understanding of how mobile users are interacting with your website, what’s working well and what areas or pages need attention.

At Rooster, we’re well versed in not just building mobile responsive websites, but most importantly, building sites that convert. Using best practice UI and UX techniques, paired with clever conversion rate optimisation, we can ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward with the mobile version of your website, inline with the mobile-first search index.

Talk to one of our directors about your business objectives on 01962 841 200, or email [email protected] – we look forward to hearing from you!

With the official roll out of the mobile-first search index, it’s vital that your website is providing a great experience for mobile users. In this step by step guide, we show you how to monitor your sites performance in mobile and we share a link to a custom dashboard for you to set up on your own GA account.