How to Measure your Cross-Device Optimization Efforts

February 12, 2015
Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design has been adopted as a primary design practice (Google agrees) in order to address rapidly increasing mobile usage . As users rely more on their mobile devices, desktop usage is beginning to plateau. Are you equipped to handle the mobile device tidal wave?!

Mobile Usage

Responsive design ensures that the user has a great experience on your site, regardless of the device they are using. It prevents you from having to create separate versions of your site for each device – a responsive design dynamically adapts to the resolution of the user’s screen or browser window. To learn more about responsive design, check out these sources.

Without responsive design, cross-device user experience will vary wildly. Responsive design mitigates this issue by attempting to serve up a unified experience; however, you are still going to find differences across devices. For example, your site may provide a great experience on an iOS tablet, but that experience may be compromised on an Android tablet due to differences in the devices. Web analytics can help you optimize for these differences. Responsive design makes cross-device optimization easier because we already know that most of the experience will be pretty similar. As a result, you can more quickly narrow down small differences that might have a significant impact on conversion or other engagement metrics.

A basic approach to optimize experience on multiple devices might involve tracking various device types separately (tablet, mobile, and desktop). Here’s an example of how you can track your responsive website over multiple devices using Google Analytics:

Google Analytics offers multi-device support, in addition to desktop insights. It can be used to see an overview of what percentage of users are viewing your site on each device. Using specific pixel-dimension breakpoints to establish the categories roughly, your tracking can get as detailed as you want – including tracking-specific devices, device orientation, browser, OS and screen resolution. These analytics help you choose what to focus on based on where you have the most traffic.

These reports that break out individual device types allow you to identify anomalies and outliers. Now that you have a responsive design and your user experience is largely unified across device type, it will be useful to drill a bit deeper into individual device types to see more detailed differences. For example, you might see that users on a particular version of Android are converting at a lower rate, or mobile users in general have much higher bounce rates (suggesting a bad experience on mobile).

You can also utilize Advanced Segments in order to segment by screen size, OS, browser, and device. This can be useful to gain even more granular insights on your user experience across platforms. To create a segment, go to the mobile overview tab, select + Add Segment, then hit the + NEW SEGMENT button to add a new segment within the Technology category.

Advanced Segments

Google Analytics Advanced Segments

Using these tools in Google Analytics, you can continue to refine your website’s responsive design to provide a consistent experience across devices. For more information on how to gain insights through Google Analytics, check out our Analytics 101 presentation. With accelerated growth in mobile usage, it is crucial to be aware of the devices your customers are using in order to optimize the most commonly used platforms.

Have more questions about tying analytics with responsive design? Reach out to us – we’re happy to help.

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