For the Win Wednesdays 5 – Separating Mobile and Desktop Visitors

For those of you who have a substantial amount of mobile traffic, separating out mobile can help provide design feedback into what your mobile responsive website should display for mobile visitors, and where mobile considerations aren’t being used by the desktop crowd. First things first, do you get a lot of mobile traffic? To check, go to Audience->Mobile->Overview, and select the pie chart view option.

mobile pie chart

This website is seeing 27.87% of its traffic coming from mobile users (phone or tablet). That’s a pretty big chunk, so it’d be worth separating the two audiences so that we can find where the differences lie. To make comparisons handy, we’ll be using advanced segments like last time.


By default, Google Analytics provides a “Mobile Traffic” segment, but not a strictly “Desktop” audience. You can compare to “all”, but I prefer the ying and yang of opposing, separate audiences. To achieve that, you’ll need to create a “Desktop” custom advanced segment.

desktop segment

Easy, right? You can now use these two segments in standard Analytics reports to easily compare and contrast mobile vs desktop usage. My favorite reports to check are the “all content” to see if mobile users are using certain pages more often than the others, “New vs Returning” where I can see how loyal those mobile users are (much more so than desktop on the sites I checked), and “All Traffic Sources” to see where they’re coming in from. You’ll notice that a lot of the mobile users come in on “Direct/none”. That’s mostly Safari/iOS throwing us for a loop there. In any case, use the segments to dig into other reports and gain some insight into how your mobile users are different from your desktop users!

What are “For the Win Wednesdays”?

For the Win Wednesdays is a weekly series of posts tackling 1 technique or strategy of analysis in Google Analytics. These posts are created for intermediate users of Analytics, those who are familiar with the interface but are unsure about different application methods. For the full series, see the For the Win Wednesday tag.

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