Know Your Mobile Users with Google Analytics

December 1, 2023 | Mobile Optimization


As 2016 comes to an end and we’re getting ready to welcome the new year, now is the perfect time to analyze your past, current, and future user-focused strategies for your website. Mobile devices are responsible for more than 65% of digital media interaction – that is, if you’re able to keep your audience’s attention.

If this doesn’t raise an eyebrow for you, it should! Just as quickly as people turn to their Smartphones for portable and convenient Internet access, they’ll leave a site that isn’t properly formatted for mobile devices. In fact, 61% of users are likely to click back to the search results and visit an easier-to-navigate competitor site. Can you blame them?

With the help of tools like Google Analytics, you can get a better idea of how mobile visitors are interacting with your site on a cell phone or tablet. Roll up your sleeves and let’s dig into how your site comes up short on the small screen with the help of Google Analytics.

Get That Code

Before you can track anything with Google Analytics, you need to create an account and get your GA code. Once you have the code, make sure the following steps are completed before tracking:

  1. Make sure you’re using the latest version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics)
  2. Include the GA code on each page of your website (add it into your site template so you don’t miss out on tracking opportunities as new pages are added)
  3. Get up goals to track progress and missed opportunities
  4. Explore and set up e-commerce tracking if applicable

Once you create a segment to isolate your mobile traffic in GA, you can finally start to analyze data and get to know your viewers!

Who’s On Mobile?

To get an idea of what percentage of your website traffic is coming from mobile, tap into data from Google Analytics in the Audience sidebar. From here, click on Mobile, followed by Overview. This section presents not only your mobile traffic data, but also how it stands next to tablet and desktop.


Popular Mobile Devices

Since we’re checking out what percentage of your traffic is mobile, we can get really specific and see what mobile devices are being used. Staying under Audience, and of course Mobile, head over into Devices to see the data breakdown. Here we have an example of an e-commerce site’s most used mobile devices:


Here we can see that “Apple iPhone” is the most popular mobile devices with the highest amount of sessions and lowest bounce rate. Now, take a look at Samsung’s numbers. Consider that your mobile website could work differently on Android – whether it involves a system glitch or the use of device-specific apps to browse the Internet.

Where Are Users Coming From?

Knowing how users get to your mobile site and where they’re coming from helps to better understand why they’re stopping by to visit. Google Analytics allows us to see top-visited pages, what audiences are looking for, and any increases or decreases in traffic. You can optimize mobile experiences by avoiding Flash plugins and pop-ups, optimizing title and meta tags, and optimize for local searches.

In order to keep your traffic on track, you’re able to see how people are coming to you. Check out the Acquisition feature in the GA side bar. Under Overview, click on All Traffic, then Channels.


You’ll see a breakdown of traffic through specific channel percentages including sessions, bounce rate, online transactions, and so on.

Organic Traffic – Organic traffic is the most simple and most pleasing to look at. It reflects the success of your website being seen and clicked on when users conduct a search on Google.
Direct Traffic – When people plug your website URL into their mobile browser, this counts as direct traffic. They know exactly where they want to go – to you! Direct traffic is also where Google classifies traffic from sources it may not fully understand. This could include embedded links in YouTube and emails.
Referral Traffic – Referral traffic includes mobile users who were referred to your site from another site.
Social Traffic – If you maintain active Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn accounts for your brand, you can track the amount of traffic that is specifically coming from your social media platforms.

To get even more details, click on the Source/Medium feature to see which search engines and social media platforms are driving traffic to your site.

It’s All in the Demographics

Besides taking note of where your website traffic is coming from, you can dig deep into the actual demographics of your audience. In fact, Google Analytics has sections devoted to the ages and gender of people who visit your site. These two areas can help you uncover new opportunities that best suit your targeted audience.


Helpful Tip: Remember that you can set specific date ranges to view visiting traffic in the top right corner of GA.

Looking at Age

With social media playing a huge part in driving traffic to websites and blogs, knowing the average ages of your visitors can help you focus on the type of content and platforms to use. In general, 87% of Facebook users are between the ages of 18-29. Nearly 53% of Instagrammers in 2015 are also 18-29 years old. Knowing these audiences are most active on Facebook and Instagram, you may want to take these percentages into account (as well as your own site’s data) when creating social posts, campaigns, and advertisements.

To see the age groups of your website traffic, click Audience, Demographics, and Age. Google Analytics will break down the stats in whole numbers, percentages, and visual content. The example below organizes each age bracket on frequency to the site.


Gender Breakdown

Now that you’re able to see ages of website visitors, knowing audience gender plays a big role in understanding how they engage and communicate online. Knowing which gender is most likely to visit your website helps to develop an appropriate and resonating brand voice.


Audience Location

The Geo segment within Google Analytics’ Audience section can help you narrow your geographic targeting – whether it’s by city, state, or country. Utilizing this information can save a lot of time and money when it comes to targeting your paid advertisements.

Once you set your desired date range in GA, click on the Location link under Geo. This will supply an ordered list of countries where website traffic is coming from.


Each listed country is clickable – allowing deeper insight into where exactly visitors are coming from. Since the United States supplies the most traffic, here’s a breakdown of the top 5 states:


Similar to the way Google Analytics allows users to click on each country, you can check out cities within each state that drives the most visits. If you don’t take these numbers into account, you could be missing out on business opportunities.

Helpful Tip: Depending on where your business’ city and where the most traffic is coming from, narrow your ad geographic reach if you have multiple locations.

As an example, let’s say your business is in San Diego, California. If you do the most business in San Diego but aren’t seeing high website traffic stats, you may want to reconfigure your social presence and ad strategy.


Click to Call

Did you know that 64% of mobile users visit a site to simply contact a business? If you’re lacking a click-to-call option, that’s 64% of your mobile traffic you aren’t servicing properly. Big, finger-friendly phone numbers, address listings, and social profile buttons are optimized features that keep mobile traffic connected.

Your Bounce Rate

The amount of time a visitor spends on a page reveals what they’re looking for and how quickly a page loads for these pocket-sized experiences. Since 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, it’s important to monitor bounce-rate traffic.

Bounce rates reflect the total amount of page clicks (in a certain amount of time) divided by how many users leave that page in that same amount of time. Even though mobile sees an average 56% bounce rate, it usually drives more traffic.


So, if you have a page with a high bounce rate, it means users aren’t sticking around to see what you have to say. High bounce rates aren’t ideal, but these red flags do tell you where there’s room for improvement to your mobile site.

Ouch! Avoid Screen Pinching

Even though your website looks awesome on desktop, there’s a chance your content will shrink to fit mobile screens. Users don’t want to squint or pinch their screen., and if they can’t quickly see what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.


This is a missed opportunity! Check out Google’s mobile-friendly test tool for a score of just how friendly your website is on the small screen.

At the end of the day, it’s all about conversions: Make a transaction. Click to call. Sign up for a newsletter. GA data helps you learn from and identify usability issues that impact audience engagement. You’ll get cold, hard data from GA on how friendly (or not) your mobile site is by better understanding your audience.

Share Your Thoughts

Join the Conversation


  1. As digital marketers, we need to think from the user’s perspective. Half the battle can be won this way. I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Lynna! Your point is absolutely correct, and it’s always a learning experience.

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