Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking

by Paul Teitelman February 2nd, 2010 

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, theyve 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
be hard
to tell which
device was
sending traffic
This 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 jus 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 Ive 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!

How do you plan to use mobile stats?

Paul Teitelman

I'm a SEO Manager here at SEP and am responsible for overseeing the organic ranking of clients for their major keywords. When I'm not in front of computers my main passions are drumming, hockey and hanging out up north at my cottage in Muskoka.

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7 Responses to “Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking”

  1. SEO UK says:

    My immediate thought is that it makes life a) more complicated for business having a web presence but b) potentially more rewarding too. Peer pressure will once again be the driver – if your competition optimise for mobiles and you don't, they get the business and you don't :-) Lot's of work for the SEO industry now as we can demonstrate to clients the mobile numbers.


  2. About time this happened really – beats setting up custom segments and such. Nice and easy to access to, which is always good.
    .-= Kieron Hughes recently posted: Needs SEO =-.

  3. […] Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking by Paul Teitelman — I am so pumped to see this! I was just wondering a few weeks ago how to […]

  4. […] Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking by Paul Teitelman — I am so pumped to see this! I was just wondering a few weeks ago how to […]

  5. sam says:

    It is very useful information, i am a Google Analytics Professional, we can expect more from Google

  6. […] Google Analytics Releases Mobile Search Tracking – SEP […]

  7. Victor says:

    Thanks for the news! I suppose it is better to know sooner rather than later that I'm not getting many mobile hits. At this point, how important is mobile traffic and do you do things differently to optimize your site specifically for mobile users?
    .-= Victor recently posted: The Space Game: Missions =-.