There’s a 13% chance you’re reading this blog post from a mobile device or a tablet right now. How do I know that? Google Analytics, of course!

One of the many crazy wonderful features of Google Analytics is its ability to track how visitors are accessing your website. Not only can you find out which browsers people are using to view your website, but you can also see a breakdown of your visitors by device category, including desktop, mobile and tablet access.

The reason it’s so crucial to take a look at this specific data from Google Analytics is because it can help you answer an important business question: Do I need a mobile website? The general rule of thumb is if your mobile website visits exceeds 25% of your total visits, you probably need a mobile site.

In an effort to help you gain a better understanding of mobile data and decipher if a mobile website is right for your business, we’re sharing the results of our mobile data case study with three different companies from various industry categories. The following data is reflective of website activity from January 1st, 2014 to December 4th, 2014.

Gumby’s Pizza

Gumby’s is a household name here in Columbia and a frequented pizza joint in this college town. Despite the various options for pizza lovers in the downtown Columbia area, Gumby’s continues to draw in customers with its prime location on Broadway St. near popular bars. You may have visited their website in search of a phone number or to order online, but do you know who designed the website? (I’ll give you a hint: MayeCreate!)

Gumby's Pizza

While the mobile view of the Gumby’s website (left) is similar to the desktop view (right), the smaller display keeps the information more concise for mobile screens. 

We were interested in comparing how many people visit the Gumby’s website from a desktop computer as opposed to visiting from a mobile device or a tablet. Here’s what we found:

  • 50.54% of visitors are mobile visitors
  • 44.24% of visitors access the site from a desktop
  • 5.22% visit the site from a tablet

It makes sense that a majority of visitors to the Gumby’s website would access the site from their phone. Think about it, what are people likely to be doing when ordering a pizza? Hanging out with friends. Getting together with family. Staying up late for a group study sesh. These are all instances where people are likely to have their phones out to quickly access the website.

Since buying a pizza is also a low-involvement purchasing decision (as compared to buying furniture or a house), people aren’t visiting the site to do extensive research. They’re likely to just be retrieving a phone number or looking up store hours.

With such a high volume of website visitors accessing the site from a mobile device, it’s extremely important for Gumby’s to have a mobile website. The responsive design allows visitors to easily navigate the website from their phone.

Coyote Hill

The Coyote Hill website is another creation brought to visitors by MayeCreate Design. The four home property is located north of Columbia and is dedicated to providing a safe home environment for children who have been neglected or abused.

Coyote Hill

The mobile (left) and desktop (right) views of the Coyote Hill website are the same, meaning the website is not optimized for mobile usage.

Considering the business objectives and customer base of Coyote Hill, their website is going to attract a completely different group of people than Gumby’s would. Additionally, the purpose of visiting the Coyote Hill website is vastly unique from visiting a restaurant website.

Coyote Hill website visitors are engaging in a much more involved and emotional process as well, which indicates that they’re less likely to access the site while on the go and more likely to visit from a desktop. The stats support this:

  • 70.49% of visitors access the site from a desktop
  • 22.63% of visitors are mobile visitors
  • 6.89% visit the site from a tablet.

Referring back to the mobile website rule of thumb, the Coyote Hill website comes fairly close to the 25% mobile visitor threshold; it exceeds it by a few percentage points when mobile and tablet data are combined. This is a tricky spot to be in when it comes to deciding if you need a mobile site. At this point, the Coyote Hill website is not yet optimized for mobile display but it is definitely something they could consider in the near future. In this case, tracking website visitors over the next few months to see if the number of mobile visitors increases or decreases may help them make this decision.

Barnes Healthcare Management

Extending into yet another industry category, Barnes Healthcare Management is another company that partnered with MayeCreate to build a website. They are in the business of providing elderly care in a nursing home environment with round-the-clock physicians.

Barnes Healtcare Management

The Barnes Healthcare Management website does not attract enough mobile visitors to make a mobile website necessary.

As the third client in our mobile data case study, we took a look at the devices visitors were using to access the website. The results were overwhelmingly skewed in one direction:

  • 82.85% of visitors access the site from a desktop
  • 11.82% of visitors are mobile visitors
  • 5.54% visit the site from a tablet

Desktop visitors dominate the Barnes Healthcare Management site, which is to be expected considering the services they offer are not just chosen lightly or on a whim. Choosing the perfect nursing home takes a bit of time and research which can be more easily conducted from a desktop setting. Additionally, an elderly audience is less likely to use smartphones to begin with.

Even when the percentage of tablet and mobile device visitors are combined the number still falls short of the 25% threshold for requiring a mobile site. Although Barnes Healthcare Management does not have a mobile website (and it doesn’t look like they’ll need one anytime soon) the pages are still highly legible when viewed on a mobile device thanks to the large font size incorporated with the design.

Do you need a mobile website?

One takeaway from this mobile data case study is that all websites are different and businesses attract customers on different devices. But, looking at your mobile traffic is just one measure that will help you make the right decision for your website. If you’re balancing on either side of the 25% threshold, read 7 Signs You Need a Mobile Website to tip you in one direction and finalize your decision.

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