The Growing Importance of Mobile Devices

mobile devices and web analytics

Very informative post from Vicky Brock recently where she writes about the growing importance of the mobile device. In a survey of 22 UK ecommerce sites, Vicky reveals that up to 7% (with a median of 3.5%) of the traffic to these sites is now coming from mobile devices. And what is surprising is that these are figures for general websites – not mobile specific sites or apps.

Mobile Device Type

Apple devices accounted for over 80% of mobile traffic on the surveyed sites. However other devices appear to have a proportionately higher share of conversions (which Vicky suggests may be due to the profile of particular mobile brands matching the profile of high value customers for particular sites).

Usage Patterns

One critical finding was that mobile users are very responsive to out-of-hours email campaigns, for example between 6pm and 11pm, and many sites are generating high proportions of revenue at these times from mobile users. This highlights a very significant opportunity for marketers to target an engaging audience segment.

Mobile Web Analytics in Ireland

Many of the findings above are corroborated in a review of Google Analytics data I undertook recently for a client. During October my client was a guest on a late-evening television show on RTE. During the show there was a significant boost in traffic to his website.

Reviewing the Google Analytics data for the evening in question revealed some interesting findings. Data for the four week period prior to the day of the tv program indicated that mobile devices typically made up 2.3% of site visits. However visit numbers for the evening of the RTE appearance (specifically for the time period 9:00 pm until midnight) showed that mobile visits as a proportion of overall visits were significantly higher at 14.5%.

Mobile visits to the website jumped considerably on the evening of the tv show.

Graphic showing mobile visits for October. Mobile visits jumped considerably on the evening of the tv appearance.

The report below shows a breakdown by hour of mobile visits to the site on the evening in October:

A seciton of a Google Analytics report showing visits from mobile visitors for the date in question, broken down into hourly units.

A section of a Google Analytics report showing visits from mobile visitors broken down into hourly units.

As regards mobile devices used that evening:

  • Apple devices accounted for exactly 80% of traffic (which matches Vicky’s survey)
  • The iPhone was the most popular device with 67% of mobile visits
  • The iPad consisted of 7% of mobile visits. Interestingly the iPad user viewed on average twice as many pages as other mobile device users (6 pages as against 3 pages).
The mobile devices used to access the website on the evening in question.

The mobile devices used to access the website on the evening in question.


It is common knowledge that the mobile phone’s usage as a browsing device is growing considerably. What is interesting however is that the unique pattern of usage and responsiveness of mobile users (particularly during after-office hours) make the mobile user an engaging and potentially lucrative market-segment to target.

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