Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking

Reading time: 4 minutes

So last week had the opportunity to talk about the new releases in Google Analytics. Really convenient to have the mobile data pulled into the sidebar like that, kudos to the Analytics team on this one no doubt. I’ve added some insight to the end of the post, but down below is the original post as taken from the Search Engine People blog:

For the first time mobile device visits can be tracked out-of-the-box using Google Analytics. How can you access these stats, what does it mean and how can you use it?

The Analytics team over at Google sure has been busy! After announcing the additions of Annotations and Asynchronous Tracking over the past few weeks, they’ve finally made it super simple (they always do) to track visits coming from mobile devices all within the same interface and without any additional codes or filters.

Traditionally, in order to capture accurate traffic estimations coming from mobile devices, you needed to set up a tracking code using regular expressions and filters within Google Analytics; far too complicated for the average business owner to implement on their own.

it used to be hard to tell which device was sending trafficThis advanced filter combination was pretty good for getting insight into the overall levels of traffic coming from mobile devices, but it was hard to tell which specific mobile device or search engine was sending that traffic. Comparing the filtered data using multiple dimensions was even more difficult.

We all know Google likes to try and simplify their tools as much as possible so it should really come as no surprise that as of this past weekend; there is now a Mobile section within the Visitors section of the Analytics sidebar. Say goodbye to regular expressions and filters, as now Google Analytics is doing all the “hard” coding part for you when it comes to capturing mobile traffic, check it out:

Another nice addition which has just been renamed and moved under the mobile drop down menu, is the information regarding the mobile carriers. This can tell you which specific mobile providers are being utilized the most by mobile professionals, customers and regular users alike:

Finally, you can now access visits from iPhones at any level within analytics: a telltale sign Google Analytics considers iphone traffic to be a significant and emerging segment (no surprises here).

You can find this segmentation under Advanced Segments (top right corner) in the Default Segments list.

Mobile Search Tracking for SEO and Business Owners

By having convenient access to this information webmasters, business owners, and Analytics professionals alike can immediately pull near real time stats regarding search volumes coming in from various mobile devices.

Without implementing any coding or site customizations, any Analytics user can login and immediately find out what percentage of their traffic is coming from mobile search, and then can delve deeper to find out exactly how these mobile users found their site – whether through direct visits or from the search engines.

This information is crucial and will help business owners and marketing professionals to gauge whether or not further investments into mobile marketing – through either mobile websites or mobile applications – is a good fit for their business.

Many web site and business owners have probably thought about making investments into mobile search but didn’t really have the hard data regarding what search volumes have been coming in from mobile devices. Now they can collect this data very easily from within Analytics and make a much more informed decision regarding their mobile strategy.

Got to tip your hat to the Google team on these improvements; I for one am pretty excited to start collecting more in-depth client data regarding mobile traffic (more easily anyways) and from what I’ve been seeing on Twitter and the blogosphere looks like a lot of others are too, should be interesting to see what the Analytics team will unleash upon us next!

Additional Insights

Business owners really need this mobile search tracking data to decide what kind of mobile search strategy they want to execute. If they are only getting a tiny percentage of traffic then there’s no real need to invest in a mobile application if a simple mobile version of their current site will clearly suffice.

However, if your the type of business (services for examples like plumbers, emergency road service, heating and air conditioning specialists) that relies on having local people find your business then you need to realize that even if you’re not currently getting a significant amount of traffic from mobile search you need to plan for the future and start taking a piece of the open market share that exists within hundreds of industries as it relates to mobile search.

So my point here is that you can’t just rely on the current traffic volumes when making the marketing decision of entering into mobile search. Hopefully most business owners understand the importance of mobile search; they just have the option of how heavily they choose to invest.

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.