Archive for the ‘mobile’ Category

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

How To Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics by Customizing a Standard Report [Tutorial]

Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Custom reports in Google Analytics are incredibly powerful.They enable you to tailor reporting, based on your own business, your own conversion goals, key metrics, etc.The problem is that custom reports can be confusing to create. You have metric drilldowns, dimension groups, report views, filters, etc. If you aren’t familiar with creating custom reports, the interface could be daunting. That said, you shouldn’t give up trying to create custom reports! Again, they can be very powerful for analyzing traffic.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through creating a custom report that displays organic search traffic from mobile devices. The report will also enable you to view those visits by location. It’s a nifty custom report for any local business. The report lets you quickly view top keywords leading to your site via organic search (mobile traffic), but also lets you view how many of those visits are from potential buyers (people located near your business).

In addition, Google recently released functionality for customizing a standard report versus having to create every custom report from scratch. This is a great option if you are new to custom reports and want to tailor some of the existing reports in Google Analytics to fit your needs.

Creating a Custom Report from a Standard Report
As I mentioned earlier, we’ll start with a standard report in Google Analytics and tailor it to meet our goals. Since we are going to create a report showing organic search from mobile devices, let’s start with the Mobile Overview report and customize it to display:

  • Organic keywords leading to the site (mobile traffic).
  • The region those visits are from (i.e. states).
  • The cities within those regions that visits are coming from.
  • The mobile operating system from those visits (android, iphone, etc.)

The goal of the report is to know the organic keywords leading to the site from mobile visits, and how many of those visits are from potential customers (people located near your business).

How to Create the Custom Report (from a Standard Report)

1. Open up Google Analytics, click the “Audience” tab, and then expand the “Mobile” link in the left side navigation. Click the “Overview” link to view the Mobile Overview report.

Accessing the Mobile Overview Report in Google Analytics

2. Click the “Customize” link in the action bar of the report. This will enable you to customize this report for your own needs (by creating a custom report based on this standard report). Note, not all standard reports can be customized this way. Tabular reports can be customized this way, but you will find other reports within GA that cannot be converted to custom reports:

Customizing a Standard Report in Google Analytics

3. When you click “customize”, the standard report will be loaded into “report builder”. The initial view will show you the current report mapped out already in report builder. Then you can tailor the various elements, based on what you are trying to achieve with your own custom report.

Report Builder in Google Analytics

4. You can keep the current metric groups if you want. If you ever want to go back and customize the metric groups, you can by editing the custom report. For example, you definitely want to set up various conversion goals and events so you can better understand quality traffic. Once you do, you can add them to your metric groups so you can view performance by traffic in your custom report.

5. Under dimension drilldowns, you will only see “Mobile” listed. Adding more dimensions will enable you to drill into each level to find more data. As I explained above, we want to drill into mobile traffic to reveal the organic keywords leading to the site. Then we want to view location by region and state. So, let’s add those additional dimensions to our report.

Adding Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

6. Click the “Add Dimension” box in dimension drilldowns and select “Keyword” from the “Advertising” list.

Adding More Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

7. Next, add more dimensions to your report. Click the “Add Dimension” box again, and include the “Region” dimension from the “Visitors” list. After adding “Region”, you should go through the same process to add another dimension for “City”.

Adding Location Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

8. Filter Your Traffic
The last step is to make sure the traffic is only from organic search. We only want to view mobile traffic from organic search, so we need to tell Google Analytics to filter that traffic for us. Click the “Add a Filter” box under the “Filters” category. Select the “Medium” dimension under the “Traffic Sources” list. Then select “include” from the first filter dropdown, leave “Medium” as the dimension, leave “Exact” in the third dropdown, and then enter “organic” in the text box (without quotes). See the screenshot below to follow along. This text tells Google Analytics to include all traffic that exactly matches “organic” as the medium. “Organic” is what’s listed for all organic search traffic.

Filtering Traffic in a Custom Report in Google Analytics

Congratulations! You just created a custom report, based on a standard report. Click “Save” at the bottom of the report and you’ll be taken to the functioning report in Google Analytics.

You can start drilling into the report by clicking “Yes” in the mobile report, which will reveal all organic keywords from mobile traffic. Then you can click any keyword to view the region those visits are from. If you click the region, you can view the cities within that region. Again, this report can help you identify mobile traffic from organic search, the keywords being searched for, and identify if these are potential customers (based on their proximity to your local business).

Bonus: Access the Custom Report Template
As an added bonus, I have shared the template for this custom report and you can access it by clicking the link below. Once you click the link, you can add this template to a Google Analytics profile and start using the report today. You can also analyze the report setup so you can work through creating similar custom reports. Click the following link to access the custom report for organic search visits from mobile devices.

Summary – Customize It!
I hope this post helped clear up some of the confusion associated with building custom reports in Google Analytics. I love that Google added the ability to customize standard reports, since that’s sometimes all you want to do… If you are new to custom reports, then I recommend starting with a standard report and then customizing that report to fit your needs. Going through that process should help you get more comfortable with working in report builder and could lead to more advanced custom reports. And that can all lead to advanced analysis of your traffic. Good luck.


Monday, August 1st, 2011

How To Quickly View Mobile Visitor Performance in Google Analytics Using The New Mobile Reports [Tutorial]

Analyzing Mobile Performance in Google Analytics

As smartphone sales boom, and mobile traffic is on the increase, I’m finding many marketers are unclear about mobile visitor performance. I say this because whenever mobile comes up during conversations, I ask how well that traffic is converting, and I typically hear crickets (unfortunately). On a similar note, there are some marketers that are making decisions about creating mobile apps, mobile websites, transforming content, etc. without analyzing their mobile traffic. They hear that Android phones, iPhones, and iPads are selling like crazy, so their knee-jerk reaction is to make serious changes to their websites. That’s dangerous, since they are basing changes on opinion and not data. And if you’ve read previous posts of mine, you know I’m a firm believer in basing changes on hard data. It’s one of the reasons that analytics is a core service of mine.

So, if you are wondering how your mobile traffic compares to your desktop/laptop traffic, then this post is for you. I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to use the new Google Analytics to understand top-level mobile performance. Note, you’ll probably want to dig much deeper than what I’m going to show you, but this process will give you real data about mobile performance. I want you to be comfortable the next time your CMO brings up mobile traffic at your weekly meeting. As everyone else in the room is nervously quiet, you can be the one that starts presenting real numbers, based on Google Analytics reporting. Let’s dig in.

Gaining a Mobile Baseline
In order to make smart and informed decisions about mobile strategy, you need to at least have a basic understanding of how your current mobile traffic is performing. In addition, it’s a wise move to have data points handy when asked how your current site handles mobile visitors. For example, if your CEO or CMO suddenly want to know the percentage of revenue or conversion coming from mobile visitors. As explained earlier, instead of awkward silence, you can be the one speaking up and giving hard numbers.

Using the methods listed below, you can fire up Google Analytics, access just a handful of reports, and view performance data for mobile visitors. In addition, you can view mobile performance by operating system (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry, etc.), since we know that’s the next logical question your CMO will ask. :) Before we hop in, you’ll be happy to know that the latest version of Google Analytics provides mobile reports that contain this information. Using this data, you can quickly understand if mobile visitors are having problems when visiting your site, if they are bouncing, not converting, etc. After you run this top-level reporting, you can choose to dig deeper, identify changes to make, and form a stronger mobile strategy.

Two Quick Methods for Viewing Top-Level Mobile Performance
I’m going to explain two quick methods for accessing mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Both reports are contained in the Mobile reporting tab within the Visitors section of Google Analytics. The first will enable us to see a top-level report for desktop and mobile visitors, while the second report will enable us to view mobile visitors by operating system.

Accessing Mobile Reporting in Google Analytics:
In the new Google Analytics, you can access mobile reporting in the Audience section of the UI. Click Audience, and then Mobile to reveal two reports (Overview and Devices). Note, Google Analytics has updated the interface, and the tab used to be named Visitors.

Accessing the mobile reports in Google Analytics

The first report we are going to access is the “Overview” report. This report simply shows mobile visitors versus non-mobile visitors. Although this looks like a simple report, it can show you the overall performance difference between the two segments of traffic (mobile and desktop visitors). Once you access the report, you’ll see two rows of data, one labeled “Yes” for mobile visitors, and the other “No” for non-mobile visitors. View the screenshot below.

Click the image below to view a larger version:
The mobile overview report in Google Analytics

At this point, all of your mobile traffic is lumped into the “Yes” row. You can quickly view top-level metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages Per Visit, Average Time on Site, etc. After taking a quick look at the report, how does the Bounce Rate look for mobile visitors? If you see a much higher bounce rate with your mobile traffic, it could obviously mean they are not having a great experience on your site. You might start asking some questions at this point… Does your current site render ok for mobile visitors? Is your navigation missing or broken on mobile devices? Can users convert, complete a transaction, etc? When helping clients review this data, I’ve seen some reports show a bounce rate for mobile visitors twice that of desktop visitors. There’s probably an issue if you see this…

Checking Conversion for Mobile Visitors
If you have set up multiple conversion goals, then click the Goal Set tabs.

Viewing mobile conversion in Google Analytics

Now you can see the difference between desktop and mobile visitors with regard to conversion. If you run an e-commerce site, you can view revenue numbers for each segment, as well. Again, we are just looking at a top-level view right now. Based on what you find, you will probably want to dig much deeper into traffic sources, campaigns, keywords, content, etc., but that’s for another post. :)

By the way, notice the process you are going through to analyze mobile traffic in Google Analytics is quick and easy, but also very powerful. Many companies I speak with aren’t armed with even the most basic data regarding mobile performance. By quickly going through this process, you will have a top-level view of mobile performance based on data. This will enable you to make informed decisions about how to best move forward with your site content, how to drive conversion via mobile visitors, etc. Basically, you’ll have data backing your case.

Viewing Mobile Traffic by Operating System
Let’s say that mobile traffic has a high bounce rate and low conversion (obviously). Your next question might be, “which mobile operating systems perform best or worst on my site?” For example, Android vs. iPhone vs. Blackberry vs. iPad. The good news is that you can quickly see the breakdown via the “Devices” report in the Mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Once you click the “Devices” report, you can dimension the report by mobile operating system by clicking the “Operating System” link (which is located horizontally at the top of the report.) See screenshot below.

Viewing mobile reporting by operating system in Google Analytics

Once you click the operating system dimension, you will see all of your mobile visits broken down by mobile operating system. Then you can go through the same process we used above to view bounce rate, conversion, revenue, etc. You might find that certain OS’s have more problems than others. For example, maybe iPad traffic has a 92% bounce rate and very low conversion rates, where Android phones have a 42% bounce rate and decent conversion rates. You won’t know until you run the reporting. And again, you will probably want to dig deeper once you get a top-level view by OS. But again, that’s for another post.

Fast and Easy Can Still Be Powerful
The next time you’re in a meeting and someone asks how mobile visitors perform on your website, you can now be armed with data. As I’ve mentioned before, don’t base decisions on opinion when you can analyze hard data via Google Analytics reporting. In just minutes, you can gain a top-level view of mobile visitor performance, and then dig deeper to view performance by mobile operating system.

Are you ready to analyze your own site now? Don’t hesitate, go and access the reports I just covered in this post. You never know what you’re going to find.


Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Flixster – A Shining Example of a Killer Mobile App [Case Study]

Flixster Mobile App for Movies

As if we didn’t know Mobile was booming already, Google and others in the industry released some numbers that overwhelmingly confirmed that point. For example, this past week Gartner released a study that found over 428 million mobile devices were sold in the first quarter of 2011. Yes, that’s 428 million, just in just one quarter.

Also, at Google I/O this year, Google revealed that 400K Android handsets are being activated daily. Yes, per day. Both statistics are incredibly powerful, and they do make sense when you break it down. Mobile, and more specifically smartphones, provide incredible functionality and ease of use, enabling people to take mini-computers with them wherever they go.

Smartphone adoption and growth has led to the mobile app boom we have seen over the past few years. As users flock to smartphones, developers also flock to build apps for them. As the iPhone took off, developers started building thousands of iPhone apps. Now, as Android booms (surpassing the iPhone in market share), developers are building more and more apps for devices running Google’s mobile OS. Again, this makes complete sense, business-wise. Go where the users are.

The Flood of Current Apps
There are currently hundreds of thousands of apps available across iPhone and Android. But, just because you can build an app, doesn’t mean you should. There are obviously many apps that are useless. Some don’t work well, others provide very little functionality, etc. With the incredible low cost of entry, and low risk, you could build an app just for the heck of it. Then there are also loads of games, which fill an entertainment void that was present on most feature phones (AKA dumbphones). Based on what I’m explaining, you are left with thousands and thousands of apps, some of which are valuable, while others are just taking up (digital) space.

For me personally, apps need to provide value. I’m really busy, running my own business, I have young kids, etc. Time is extremely valuable to me, which is why you won’t find many apps on my Android phone that don’t provide value in some way. I view my phone as an extension of my office, so apps need to provide some type of value if I’m going to use them on a regular basis. For example, some of the most valuable apps to me include:

* Twicca (an incredible Twitter app)
* Swype (I couldn’t imagine actually typing on my phone, since I can swype 60+ words per minute)
* The Weather Channel app
* Google Maps (with Navigation)
* Shazam (An incredible app for music discovery, which saves me a lot of time)
* Yelp (which just helped me find an amazing restaurant on my trip to Hilton Head)
* Flixster (the ultimate app for movie-goers, and the focus of this post)
…and several other apps that help me on a regular basis

Meet Flixster
I mentioned Flixster above, and I wanted to dig deeper with the app so you can understand why I think it’s the ultimate mobile application. If you’re not familiar with Flixster, it’s an app that provides everything you need to know about movies, including movie reviews via Rotten Tomatoes, movie trailers (video), movie information, theatre information, box office information, and ticketing (through When you break it down, the app makes it incredibly easy to review movie information, watch trailers, find the closest theatre, and buy tickets, all within minutes (or seconds if you are familiar with the app). And it works flawlessly. On that note, I was out to dinner with my wife this past Saturday, scanned the latest movies, and purchased tickets in about 60 seconds, just in time for our appetizer to arrive. :)

The Box Office Screen in Flixster:
The Box Office Screen of Flixster's Mobile App

A Deep Database of Movies
Not only will Flixster give you new releases, but you can search for any movie that’s contained in the database (pretty much any movie). So, the app covers any user. The reviews are provided via Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates reviews from across many sources. With Rotten Tomatoes, you can quickly view the “tomatometer”, which scores each movie based on the reviews (0-100 score). I’ve found this typically gives me a great feel for how the movie is. You can see screenshots below from the app.

I rarely find myself going elsewhere for movie information…

Why It’s the Ultimate App
Now that I’ve covered what the apps does, let me break down the core reasons that I believe it’s the ultimate app (from a marketing and business standpoint). It really comes down to a few core reasons, which include incredible functionality (providing value), effortless usability (making it easy for users), and commerce (the ability to complete transactions easily, while giving Flixster the ability to generate revenue). I’ll briefly explain each below.

1. Valuable Functionality
I covered some of this earlier, but the app does exactly what you need it to do, and more. I can’t remember a time that I searched for a movie (no matter how obscure), and didn’t find a boatload of information about it via Flixster. The combination of rich information, movie reviews, video trailers, box office information, etc. give movie fans everything they need.

The Movie Information Screen in Flixster:
Movie Information Screen in the Flixster Mobile App

Movie Reviews in Flixster:
Movie Reviews in Flixster

2. Effortless Usability
The app is ridiculously easy to use, laid out extremely well, and has incredible performance. If you own a smartphone, then you have probably come across some apps that are slow, bomb all the time, etc. Flixster has never failed me performance-wise. It’s organized well, and even enables you to buy tickets in mere seconds. More on that below.

Mapping Your Movie Theatre in Flixster:
Mapping Your Theatre in Flixster

Connecting With Facebook or Netflix in Flixster:
Flixster Integrates Facebook Connect and Netflix

3. Commerce
Flixster is a free app, which greatly helps with adoption. But make no bones about it, there is a serious commerce aspect to the mobile app. I’ve mentioned the ability to buy tickets via Flixster, and it’s a great addition to the ultimate app. From any movie page, you can quickly check movie times at theatres located near you (GPS-wise). You can also enter a location to find movies in an area not close in proximity. Once you are ready to buy your tickets, the app seamlessly enables you to go through the process of selecting the number of tickets, entering your credit card information, and completing your purchase. You are immediately sent a confirmation email and you can be off and running in less than a minute or two. You need to try this out to appreciate how elegant of a solution it is.

Viewing Movie Times in Flixster:
Viewing Movie Times in Flixster

Seamlessly Buying Movie Tickets in Flixster:
Buying Movie Tickets in Flixster

What This Means To You
If you are looking to develop a mobile app, I highly recommend spending some time with Flixster. I believe you’ll understand pretty quickly the power of the app, and how it potentially could be a model for your own mobile app (no matter what you focus on). As I explained throughout this post, Flixster combines functionality, usability, and commerce extremely well, which makes it a great model for mobile apps. Sure, you can try and create fun, silly apps that go viral, but I don’t like basing business decisions on “viral”. Instead, you can provide real functionality that solves real problems and can generate real revenue for the long haul. Now excuse me while I check the latest move releases. :)