Higher Education Marketing

Tracking Mobile Visitors With Google Analytics

Date posted: September 7, 2011

Google Analytics should be the very foundation of your website design, development and marketing initiatives. It doesn’t, however, have to be limited there. Google Analytics can also play a fundamental role in tracking and analyzing another increasingly important aspect of prospective student involvement: mobile use. As we have mentioned, more and more people are experiencing the Web from mobile devices (they will, in fact, pass laptops this year for Web usage), and this means that more and more prospective students are searching for programs and schools through their smartphone. Mobile-friendly websites and apps are fundamental. However, it’s equally important to get a good sense of just how many prospects are interacting with your website this way. The good news is that Google Analytics can be used to manage these mobile searchers and leads, allowing you to track visits and time on your site from smart phones and tablets. This measurement and analysis is especially important when mobile strategies are being put into place -- how do you know what to do if you have no real way of understanding how mobile visitors are using these resources? The first thing that needs to be asked: how many people visit my site using mobile devices? Is there anything unique about this segment of users? And what can you do to optimize your mobile offerings for these users? There are two separate ways to track mobile users with Google Analytics. The first method involves creating a data filter to include only traffic from mobile devices. For a step-by-step breakdown on how to set up a data filter, see the Google Analytics blog post on the subject. The next method was highlighted by Bryson Meunier, who recommends creating custom segments to compare mobile traffic to desktop traffic. To do this:
  • Go to Advanced Segments
  • Select create new custom segment
  • Select Systems under Dimensions and select screen resolution. Drag and drop the screen resolution box into the box that says dimension or metric.
  • For the condition drop down, select “Matches regular expression” and enter the following value: (^[1-2]?[0-9]?[0-9]|^3[0-1][0-9]|^320)x([1-3]?[0-9]?[0-9]$|4[0-7][0-9]$|480$)
  • Name the segment Mobile Visitors (or anything else you prefer)
  • Select Create Segment.
This will cover mobile screen resolutions and let you compare mobile versus desktop users. You’ll also get an idea of mobile specific keywords used in search engines on mobile devices, and conversion rate from mobile users.       For more information on Google Analytics, contact Higher Education Marketing today.

As a certified Digital Analyst, Philippe Taza founded and created Higher Education Marketing, providing Internet marketing solutions for schools, universities, and community colleges. In all, he has been working in the education market since 2001, specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Schools, and Pay Per Click Marketing, among many other education marketing tactics and tools.