Mobile devices appear to be ruling our online world. Terms like “responsive” and “mobile-first” are bandied about. Statistics about mobile traffic over-taking desktops (or laptops if you prefer) abound. As with all statistics, a degree of skepticism is needed. Your own audience might differ from the norm.
So, whether you’re considering a mobile-first strategy, or want to monitor your audience behavior across phones, tablets and laptops, What devices do people use to visit my site is a delightfully useful Teacup Analytics report.
I strongly urge you to use the Teacup Achievables feature if you do decide to act. You’ll be able to track the impact you’re having on any segments you’d like to influence.
Which Metrics Matter For Mobile Traffic?
When thinking about mobile experience, bounce rate is of particular importance. If your bounce rate on mobile and tablet is significant higher than your desktop traffic, it’s worth some attention. Here, bounce rate should function as your warning sign, much like you’d worry about a flashing icon on your car’s dashboard. If you’re seeing an ! for your bounce rate, review your site via a mobile device like we mention below.
Another metric to pay attention to specifically when it comes to mobile devices is site depth. Site depth is the number of pages your visitors are clicking through. Now, before we go crazy about this, there are two conflicting messages when thinking of site depth. It just depends on your goals.
If you’re a content site, and you want people to look at lots of content, comparing your site depth on mobile to desktop can be enlightening. If you’re seeing low site depth on mobile, it could indicate that mobile visitors are not as engaged as desktop visitors. Try to explore why. It could be because of a site that isn’t designed for mobile. Review your navigation and overall site design with an eye to improving the mobile experience.
Don’t forget to compare conversion rates across devices too. Like with bounce rate, an unusually low conversion rate for mobile visitors can indicate a problem with design or technical issues. Explore your site yourself and make sure that there are no barriers to visitors achieving the goals you’ve set, be they technical or otherwise.
Does It Matter If My Mobile Traffic Or Quality Is Low?
You might see that mobile and tablet traffic is very low. If that’s the case for you, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It really depends on you, your website, your marketing strategy and personal goals.
Let’s look at when it doesn’t matter. If you’re a web application that simply can’t provide an ideal experience to visitors via mobile, then having low mobile traffic is actually perfectly expected. Similarly, if you have a native mobile application and your strategy has been to drive mobile users to download the app, then, again, low mobile visitors is absolutely acceptable.
However, if the above scenarios don’t fit your website’s goals, then low mobile traffic can be worrying. But don’t worry too much, there are always solutions.
What Can I Do If Mobile Traffic Volume Is Low?
If the above scenario does not describe your business, and your mobile traffic is low, there are a few things to consider before taking action.
Search Engine Optimization, or rather, a lack of it, is a major cause of low traffic. If you rely on organic search traffic or paid search for site visitors, and these channels are doing just fine on desktop, then it could be that your website is not mobile friendly. As of April 2015, Google prioritizes mobile friendly pages in their search results. Even with paid search, if you’re not mobile friendly, you’re likely lowering your quality score and ranking lower.
The solution is to review your site and optimize it for mobile devices. The long term solution is to make sure your website is responsive and considers mobile visitors. This isn’t always feasible and a simpler, cheaper, solution does exist. Google doesn’t penalize entire websites for not being mobile-friendly. Rather, Google applies their mobile ranking “rules” to individual pages, not entire websites. This means that you could use mobile friendly pages for your most important landing pages. There are numerous, reasonably priced services that make it super easy to craft mobile friendly landing pages. Feel free to ask us for some recommendations if you’re not sure who to use.
To figure out these pages, you can scroll down the report to the Details section and look at your desktop > landing pages. The best part of this is that we grade those landing pages so you can focus on the pages that work for you!
If you’d like to figure out the most important landing pages in greater detail, and see more than your top five, review the What are my top landing pages report.
The results won’t be instant, but you should start seeing increases in mobile within a week or two.
What Can I Do If The Quality Of Mobile Traffic Is Low?
On the other hand, perhaps you’re quite satisfied with the size of your mobile traffic but notice that the quality is considerably below your desktop traffic. There are a number of possible reasons this could be occurring but all quite easy to investigate.
The very first thing to do is to glance at your top landing pages, as listed in the Details section and then go visit those pages yourself, on your mobile devices. Look out for both technical barriers as well as content barriers.
Does the page load quickly? Keep in mind, many visitors will be on mobile 3G and 4G connections that are slower than typical cable or broadband high speed connections. Slow loading pages are the scourge of browsing the web and often cause high bounce rates.
Does the page load correctly? Often, even mobile friendly sites can have weirdness when viewed on mobile. Is everything loading and displaying correctly? Is the navigation bar in the right place? Are links easy to read and clickable? Is the content easy to read? If not, this could be the cause of low quality traffic and, usually, high bounce rates.
Those were both technical barriers to a good mobile experience. Let’s look at what is meant by content barriers. Someone surfing the web on a mobile device might have a different need to someone on their desktop. A potential customer, searching for a cafe, is probably more concerned with information like directions, opening hours, and phone number. The assumption is that they’re “on the go.” Also, because they’re on their phone’s, they’re working with limited visual real estate and want to get to the nub as fast as possible.
So, the question to ask yourself, is if your content is taking the mobile visitor’s intention into account. Making your site easy to navigate for these mobile visitors is key. The quickest solution here is usually your site navigation. Making it clear, clickable and easy to find often increases your quality grade.
Also, review your landing pages again. Do your landing pages have the information a visitor truly needs right away? i.e. Don’t neglect the “intent” of a mobile visitor. On desktop, we tolerate fluffy content a little more. On mobile devices, we tend to need, perhaps even demand, the most important information first.