Sensible Segmentation – Segmenting your Mobile Data by Form Factor

At this point in time, there seems to be no room for arguments – we live in an increasingly mobile world. Even more importantly, the mobile landscape is changing dramatically every year. As of 2012, 4 out of 5 consumers reported using their smartphones to shop (Source: comScore, 2012) and 34 percent reported having made a purchase using their mobile phone, compared to 19 percent in 2011 (Source: DC Financial Insights). At the same time, tablets are more popular than ever, with 67 million tablets sold last year (Source: Onbile.com ). By 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop internet usage (Source: Microsoft Tag, 2012).
 
It should be obvious by now that if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you need one. And, if you don’t have a strategy in place to track and analyze mobile data, you’re still behind the curve. Stratigent’s mobile whitepaper  has a number of tips and tricks for creating your own mobile strategy, so I won’t go into detail about that here. Instead, today I will focus on something a little bit more immediate that will help you to analyze your traffic today: segmenting your mobile data in a way that makes sense – by form factor.  
 
Analytics tools have a tendency to group smartphone and tablets together as “mobile devices,” but I would argue that there is little value in performing in-depth analysis of your mobile traffic without further segmenting by screen size. A smartphone and a tablet provide two entirely different experiences, so deeper segmentation will allow you to gain more valuable insight by providing details specific to the device type.
 
In our analyses, segmenting by form factor has yielded much greater insight than segmenting by mobile and non-mobile traffic alone. For example, we have found that visitors using tablets spend more time on the site, bounce less, and view more content overall than their smartphone counterparts, while smartphone users typically access your site for a specific purpose and are out of there relatively quickly. As tablets continue to increase in popularity, analyzing by form factor is only going to become more important. 
 
In addition, it is always smart to compare your mobile traffic to non-mobile traffic by segmenting out desktop visitors only. We have seen dramatic differences between mobile and non-mobile traffic – for example, mobile visitors tend to interact with product pages and dealer locators at a higher rate than their desktop counterparts, indicating that the “on the go” nature of mobile visitors provides an entirely different set of use cases for your website. You can analyze these fundamental differences by creating a segment for non-mobile traffic for comparison, so I will show you how to do that, too.
 
Creating segments can be a little bit daunting if you haven’t ever done it before, so I’ve provided step-by-step instructions and some handy screenshots to help you get started. I’ve also provided instructions for segmentation in both Google Analytics and SiteCatalyst, but if you have another tool that you’d like me to feature, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do!
 


Google Analytics Segmentation Instructions

In Google Analytics, Tablet Traffic is already set up as a pre-built segment (score!). So, just select that from the “Default Segments” on the left of the Advanced Segments screen if you want to see tablet traffic by itself:

Smartphone Traffic Segment

To create a segment for smartphone traffic, do the following:

1. Name your segment (I recommend something easy to understand, like “Mobile (Excluding Tablet)” or “Smartphone Traffic”).

2. For the first part of your segment definition, you want to include mobile traffic. Select the following values:

a.     Include/Exclude – Select “Include”

b.     Dimension – Select “Mobile (Including Tablet)”

c.     Match Type – Select “Exactly matching”

d.     Value – Type “Yes”

3. You will also need a second part to exclude tablet traffic from your mobile traffic. Use an “AND” statement (this is important), and select the following values:

a.     Include/Exclude – Select “Exclude”

b.     Dimension – Select “Tablet”

c.     Match Type – Select “Exactly matching”

d.     Value – Type “Yes”

 

That should do it for a smartphone-only segment.

Desktop Traffic Segment

A segment for desktop traffic only will help you to analyze the visitor experience without the interference of mobile device traffic, which could skew your bounce rate, top pages, and all manner of other metrics. To create such a segment, do the following:

1. As always, name your segment something easy to understand. I recommend “Desktop Traffic” or “Non-Mobile Traffic.”

2. All you need to do here is exclude mobile traffic, so you will just need one statement. Select the following:

a.     Include/Exclude – Select “Exclude”

b.     Dimension – Select “Mobile (Including Tablet)”

c.     Match Type – Select “Exactly matching”

d.     Value – Type “Yes”

As simple as that.



SiteCatalyst Segmentation Instructions

Segmenting mobile traffic in SiteCatalyst is almost as easy as it is in Google Analytics. Please note: if you are not on version 15 of SiteCatalyst, you don’t have the option to create segments on the fly in the interface; you can still use these instructions to create segments for your Data Warehouse reports, though.

Smartphone Traffic Segment

To create a smartphone-only traffic segment, do the following:

1. Give your segment a name that is easy to understand (like “Mobile Phone Visits (Non-Tablet)” or “Smartphone Visits”).

2. Drag the “Visits” container to the Segment Canvas.

3. Make sure that “Include” is selected.

4. Click “Edit” (the pencil icon at the top-right of the Segment Canvas).

5. For the Visit Segment specifics, select the following:

a.     This Visit must match – select “ALL of the rules”

b.     Item – “Mobile Device Type”

c.     Match Type – “equals”

d.     Value – “Mobile Phone”

6.     Click “Add.”

7.     Click “OK.”

8. When you’re back to the Segment Canvas, click “Save” to save your segment and begin using it!

Tablet Traffic Segment

1. Give your segment a name that is easy to understand (like “Tablet Visits”).

2. Drag the “Visits” container to the Segment Canvas.

3. Make sure that “Include” is selected.

4. Click “Edit” (the pencil icon at the top-right of the Segment Canvas).

5. For the Visit Segment specifics, select the following:

a.     This Visit must match – select “ALL of the rules”

b.     Item – “Mobile Device Type”

c.     Match Type – “equals”

d.     Value – “Tablet”

6. Click “Add.”

7. Click “OK.”

8. When you’re back to the Segment Canvas, click “Save.”

Desktop Traffic Segment

1. Give your segment a name that is easy to understand (like “Desktop Visits” or “Non-Mobile Visits”).

2. Drag the “Visits” container to the Segment Canvas.

3. Make sure that “Include” is selected.

4. Click “Edit” (the pencil icon at the top-right of the Segment Canvas).

5. For the Visit Segment specifics, select the following:

a.     This Visit must match – select “ALL of the rules”

b.     Item – “Mobile Device Type”

c.     Match Type – “is null”

6. Click “Add.”

7. Click “OK.”

8. When you’re back to the Segment Canvas, click “Save.”

 

You should now have some more form factor-specific mobile segments that you can use to analyze your mobile traffic.

Now that you have those segments at your disposal, I’m interested in your experiences. Do you use any creative segmentation to analyze your mobile presence?

As always, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, or via email at info@stratigent.com

 

By Erin Cropper
About the Author:

Erin Cropper is the Director of Client Services at Stratigent.

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