The emphasis on mobile for search marketers has been a focus for a while now but with Google’s algorithm announcement the expectations and panic went into high gear. If it wasn't already, it's quite apparent now that mobile is important to Google and to the mobile search experience.

Mobile Experience Optimization

organic traffic by device type

Being Mobile-Friendly means offering a great experience to users regardless of their mobile device's screen size. As has been discussed previously this can be facilitated by simple elements such as text size and link spacing, to more development heavy items like manipulating content based on screen size and page load speed. We compiled data from over 200 domains and their organic traffic to understand how users were reaching sites for a week in March 2015.

Understanding User Behavior

daily traffic by device type

Traffic to any type of website is dependent on the target market, which can be typified as a particular industry. Understanding how and when a potential client interacts within an industry helps to determine what should be tested and which times are most opportune. In the chart above overall organic traffic is highest during the week, peaking early on, but the highest trafficked days for mobile and tablet devices are actually on the weekend.

hourly traffic by device type

Identifying the time, day and device type that users are using to access your site is invaluable information. The hourly trend of organic traffic (seen above) seems sensible enough in that traffic begins to peak around 7 am and starts to trail off around 3 pm, or the majority of the workday. The primary traffic driving device is the desktop computer, which makes sense considering the number of users using computers at work. At a high-level view, the truly interesting points are:

  1. The proximity of mobile usage compared with desktop at the beginning and end of the day
  2. Mobile traffic climbs as desktop declines in the early evening
  3. Tablet’s highest usage is at the end of the day

Device Usage by Industry

While summary data points can help to identify general trends, it’s even more valuable to understand user behavior specific to your industry. This is especially important when an industry differs from the high-level summary, such as seen below with the electronics and entertainment industries.

electronics industry traffic by device

The electronics industry bucks the trend and shows a higher percentage of organic traffic from mobile devices through the week than desktop.  Similarly, the entertainment industry has a higher dependency on mobile as well, even more so if you include tablet as part of it.

entertainment industry traffic by device

Differentiating itself in a big way is the business-to-business industry segment (below) that relies heavily on organic traffic from desktops. Mobile and tablet devices maintain their trend as they peak on the weekends regardless of industry though.

b2b industry traffic by device

User Behavior & Device Type

Knowing where your traffic comes from and when it comes in is necessary data to have when it comes to being (or becoming) mobile-friendly. Understanding the target market of your industry allows for many questions to be answered with more accurate testing (the who, how, and when) and data analysis (the what and why). The importance of mobile optimization is evident, but its impact isn’t equal for every industry or domain.