Customizing Megalytic: Traffic by Platform/Device Widget

Published November 24, 2015
If you’ve been reading the Megalytic blog for any length of time, you know we take getting to know your audience pretty seriously. We think all businesses should know what their audience looks like, what they’re interested in and the types of content they’re most prone to read and to share. However, that’s not all. Evaluating you website users’ technology –or how they are physically accessing your website—is equally important, and allows you to better plan site builds, flag device-specific issues, and better understand your audience overall.
This data proves valuable not only for developers and creative staff, but also for clients who want a better grasp of how people are accessing their sites.
As mobile and tablet devices continue to dominate a larger percentage of Internet access, you’ll want to include this data in your reports. To easily break down what devices people used to view your site, use the Traffic by Platform/Device widget within Megalytic.


Average Session Duration by Device Type


Showing Traffic by Device

After adding this widget to your report, you’ll see a pie chart showing the percentage of Sessions by tablet, desktop, and mobile for the past 13 weeks. This initial chart is helpful for showing an overall breakdown of how people are accessing the site over the past few months. Of course, you can further customize this widget to show various types of charts, metrics, or dimensions.


Traffic by Device


For example, you may want to show data by User (not Sessions) to provide a more accurate picture of how individuals are accessing your site. Sessions can include the same people coming back multiple times to the site, and so counting Users connects more closely to counting people.

Within the widget options, which you can access by clicking the gear symbol in the upper left, click the Metric dropdown to change to another metric. Note that you can choose between New Users (people who were not previously tracked as visiting your site) or Returning Users (people who have been tracked in the past as visiting your site).


How to Change the Metric in a Megalytic Widget


Of course, both metrics are valuable, depending on what you want to communicate to your client about website performance. Next, let’s look at showing engagement metrics in this widget.

Comparing Engagement

In addition to showing counts of Sessions or Users, you should also understand how people from different devices are engaging with your site. For instance, those on mobile devices likely are spending less time on your site, but how significant is the difference vs. desktop? Mobile users may also arrive on your site with a different intent and after different content compared to a desktop user. Comparing engagement among devices helps you to better plan for presenting content differently to users based on how they access the site, and what their intention is likely to be.

Avg. Session Duration provides a prime indicator of how well people engage with content, showing you how much time they spent on your site before leaving. Within the widget options, we’ll once again use the Metric dropdown to select Avg. Session Duration.


Megalytic's Widget Options


To clarify this metric to the client, we can rename how it’s labeled in the report. To do so, click the down arrow to the right of the “Axis” box. Next, click the text in the “Y axis label” box to enter your own copy. In this case, we’ll change the label to read “Average Time on Site” to help the client better understand the data we’re presenting.

Finally, we’ll change the chart type to a bar graph, selecting from the icons at the top of the widget options. This type of chart allows us to clearly compare how various visit durations stack up against each other. Note that you can choose whether or not to show metric values (in this case, the amount of time correlating to the Avg. Session Duration) via the “Display Values on Bars” checkbox.


Average Session Duration by Device Type


Now, we can see the final widget, with a bar chart showing average time on site by device. We can now show the client that desktop clearly ranks as the platform with the highest time on site, with tablet close behind and mobile far behind.

Showing Trends Over Time

All of these stats are great to show clients, but how will they know whether the engagement statistics are good or bad? By using date comparisons, we can show if metrics have gone up or down over time by device.

Select the arrow by the date range above the chart. Next, choose the timeframe you’d like to review and select “Compare to” to choose a previous timeframe for comparison.


Comparing Dates in Megalytic


Once you’ve applied this change to the report, you’ll see the chart reflect metrics for both timeframes, using color coding for each. In this case, we can see that desktop and mobile engagement dropped very slightly, while tablet dropped more significantly (a difference of 20 seconds from the previous period). Based on this data, we’d likely want to investigate if any recent website changes caused the site to render improperly on a tablet screen.

Showing Different Dimensions

Perhaps instead of showing performance by device, you’d like to break down more specifically to the brand of device (Apple vs. Samsung), model (iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 6+), or browser (Chrome vs. Internet Explorer). For example, say that your web developer requests a breakdown of site performance by browser to reference in a redesign of your site. She wants to see how many people are coming to the site from each browser and also compare engagement. This data will help inform the redesign process to prioritize testing in specific browsers that people are likely to use, as well as flagging potential problems that may be cropping up in certain browsers.


Changing the Dimension in Megalytic


To effectively show several stats in one widget, we’ll choose the Table Graph view. This will allow us to present the list of browsers by row, with columns denoting various metrics. Next, we’ll use the Dimension dropdown to select Browser.


Choosing Columns in Megalytic


Finally, we’ll update the columns in the report, deciding which metrics seem most helpful to show our developer. Use the columns dropdown to select your desired metrics; in this case, we’re using Sessions, Users, Avg. Session Duration, Pages/Session, and Bounce Rate. After applying to the report, we can see our final table breaking down metrics by browser.


Metrics by Browser


In presenting this data, you can add a Notes widget to call out specific observations. For example, you may want to note that Microsoft Edge (default browser for Windows 10) is starting to show increased user activity and should be included in future browser testing. In addition, you might also note that Safari In-App traffic shows extremely poor engagement, indicating possible issues with mobile experience on the site in that context.


Whether you want to show a top-level breakdown of device traffic or a specific report of browser performance, Megalytic’s Traffic by Platform/Device widget helps you report on users’ technology. Use this widget’s data to emphasize the importance of mobile functionality, call out site performance issues on certain devices, and guide browser/device testing during a website development process. Ultimately, you’ll be able to present a better understanding of how people are accessing your site and help your client make better decisions to reach that audience.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.