The technology landscape is changing more and more with each passing year. This is also true of how people access the Internet. Now, 4.53 billion, or nearly 60 percent of the world’s population, accessing the web. It is important to know where website visitors come from. Are you getting more mobile or desktop?
In the past, the desktop computer was far away the main means by which people accessed the Internet. Although desktop access is still very large, it is no longer the main device that people use to access the web.
Over the past decade, mobile traffic has really shot up, and with smartphones and tablets becoming more and more popular, the number of people who go online through mobile devices continues to trend upwards .
It seems that now at least 50 percent now of web traffic coming from mobile devices. Using an iPad against a desktop is more ideal for so many people. Still, desktop and mobile have their place.
Let’s dive deeper into mobile vs. desktop and talk about it.
Defining Mobile and Desktop Traffic
Before we go much further into this article, let’s go ahead and clearly define mobile and desktop traffic. You probably know the difference, but just in case:
- Mobile Traffic: When a user accesses the web or website using a mobile device.
- Desktop Traffic: When a user accesses the web or website using a desktop or laptop.
Oftentimes when you look at Google Analytics to see where your website traffic is coming from, tablets and smartphones can be broken down. Many advertisers believe that even the differences of saying tablet to smartphone mean different conversion rates.
Remember, mobile and desktop traffic are device dependent, not place dependent. This means that people can access your site either way at any time.
Mobile vs. Desktop Use Differences
When we talk about mobile vs desktop usage differences, we’re talking about different types of websites accessing these different devices. MediaKix gives us some insight into this as well.
Mobile devices seem to access social media sites at a much higher frequency than any other websites. Websites like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter all receive most of their traffic from mobile users. Only 21% of social media engagement comes from desktop.
So, you can see by this example alone that website visitors come only from mobile phones and desktops, but that the type of websites that people visit on these devices differ based on the type of website which is being accessed.
Other top performing industries that on average visited sites on mobile phones as they did on a desktop include:
- Adult Industry
- Gambling Sites
- Sports Sites
The Importance of Having a Mobile Friendly Business Website
I’m sure you’ve seen the following headline several times:
“Mobile Browsing Opens Desktop Browsing.
You should be comfortable seeing this because, as we’ve already talked about, mobile browsing has become and continues to be the preferred option for web access.
Having a mobile-friendly business website could mean the difference between listing your website on page 1 or being listed on page 4 in Google’s search results. This is because Google is considering whether or not a website is mobile friendly.
As a small business owner, or even a large business, you need to learn how to customize and make sure your website displays properly on all devices, mobile and desktop.
Internet users have shown over time that they prefer to contact a business using social media and mobile messages over writing emails or making calls.
Aodham Cullen, CEO StatCounter even noted recently:
This should be a wake-up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make their websites mobile-friendly. Many older websites do not. Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not only because of the growing traffic but because Google favors mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results. That means that if a website is not mobile-friendly, it will soon see a decline in search engine rankings.
Mobile Refers to More Than Phones
When people think of a “mobile” chance, do they only think of smartphones. However, mobile actually covers tablets as well. So when you think of mobile vs desktop, you can also decompose iOS vs desktop and android vs desktop.
Because mobile screen sizes are different, “multi-device support” has become a popular term in the web design world. In the past, a website owner would need different websites built based on the screen or device type that accessed the site.
There would be a desktop version of the site, a smartphone version, and of course, a tablet version. Today, most web designers build websites that should be responsive to all screen sizes and mobile-friendly for any type of handheld device (phone or tablet).
This is called “responsive web design.” If you talk to a web developer and they don’t mention that your website is “responsive,” then you should go ahead and move on to a designer or company that will build a responsive website for you.
If you build your small business website using the responsive web design method, then it will dynamically change on the fly based on the type of device accessing it.
How to See Where Website Visitors Are From
To see where your website visitors are coming from, you first need to have Google Analytics installed on your website. Once you set up an analytics account with Google and put the tracking code on your site, you’ll start to see all kinds of traffic statistics.
In this case, you want to see a comparison of web traffic between mobile phone and desktop. When your dashboard appears after logging in to GA, scroll down some until you see the section in a box called “What are your Top Devices?”
You will be able to see the devices from which people access your site and the difference in percentages of mobile or desktop visits. From here, you can market and design more accordingly if needed.
Keep in mind, this default scene only shows the last seven days of activity. If you want a more detailed analysis, you can change the length of the report or click on the “Mobile Overview” link provided.
Takeaways and Recommendations
When we talk about takeaways and recommendations, we talk about it from a general perspective to use towards a marketing strategy for your website.
To help you along with your digital marketing strategy, here are some ideas and observations to think about. Remember, these are not set in stone and can be added to. These are just a few to remember and look at as part of the to-do list.
Mobile Experiences for People Continues to Improve
Face it, mobile phones and the interfaces that come with them are becoming more high-end than ever. Users get used to being on them, and even when they have the option of using a desktop, they often stick to using a mobile phone.
What this means is that you want to make sure you have a robust mobile design in place for your website. Yes, CMS platforms like WordPress present mobile optimized templates and designs already in place. However, you still want to go over your website when it is built and make sure you have everything displayed properly for mobile use.
This includes things like font size, how headers look, how an image displays on a smartphone, and much more.
Desktop is still very important
Remember that while mobile is very popular, the desktop is nowhere near dead. It’s actually quite relevant. So make sure your website is good to go on any device.
I know it may be hard to believe that using a fire desktop is a factor. However, millions of people still access the web from desktop at work and at home. On top of that, you still have the crowd that prefers desktop access because it seems much easier for them than it would be to learn a new mobile device.
You can even see on the screenshot provided above that mobile and desktop access is shared down the middle of many, if not close to, websites. For this reason alone, don’t give up on desktop access and keep that in mind when putting together your website’s marketing plan.
In fact, there are many websites online that show that more than 75% of consumers prefer desktops to handheld devices. That’s why it’s important to go over your data from Google Analytics.
The point is, optimize your website to display perfectly on a mobile phone or desktop to get the best results overall.
Pay Attention To The Speed Of Your Website
Make sure that the overall speed of your website does not get lost in all mobile versus desktop comparisons. There are several ways to optimize a WordPress website. Make sure speed is at the top of that list.
Not only does Google use page load speed as a contributing website ranking factor, but users of your website will also enjoy faster load time.
So, what are some things you can do to make the speed of your WordPress site meet Google standards? First of all, you want to make your website friendly and mobile-friendly. Immediately, this will not only help your website rank higher in Google, but will also lay the foundation for faster page loading time.
Another important aspect of site speed is image compression and optimization. Images play a huge role for websites. Not only are they used to help drive traffic, but they must be properly compressed and optimized. If they are not, then these files will slow down your site and drop the site into Google page ranks as well.
Finally, a good SEO structure is important too. You can try to do it all yourself, but I recommend Yoast SEO. This will give you all the tools you need to employ an accurate SEO structure within your site and its content and ensure that it all runs smoothly.
The Future of Mobile Use
At this point, it is very clear that more and more people are going to continue to access the Internet using mobile devices. This becomes even more apparent when you think that mobile devices are easier to access than desktops in developing countries.
A good example of this is China and India. China has about 800 million Internet users, 98 percent of whom access the web using a mobile device.
You can use India as another example of this trend. The reality is that low-end mobile devices are even easier to access than low-end desktop devices. These allow people in developing countries to access the world around them much easier than trying to grab a desktop and access the Internet from that.
Apps are also becoming wildly popular, with around 90 per cent of people spending time using apps while on their mobile device. Essentially, all of this leads us to believe that, in mobile or desktop, mobile usage will continue to thrive and move up. The above data should be used to develop a robust marketing strategy going forward.
You may not think it important to know where the majority of your traffic is coming from. As a website owner, this could not be further from the truth. It is very important to know and understand the traffic stats of your website on mobile vs. desktop.
This is because the way you display and build content on your site will vary from user to user. Using Google Analytics to view all your traffic statistics will also help.
Remember, the fact that mobile usage seems to be becoming more popular does not mean that your website traffic is being accessed more that way. It all depends on the website you have and why people are accessing it and what they are accessing.
I hope this article has given you a good grounding and understanding of mobile vs. desktop web site visitors. You can use this information to your advantage in the long term as part of a marketing strategy.
Remember, it is always a good idea to keep up to date with all the most popular online trends. Finding out where your website traffic comes from is one of those trends. Continue to track this over time to build the most relevant marketing plan possible for your website.