By Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng

Mobile analytics is a bit different than web-based analytics. Because almost every social media service has a mobile application, it’s helpful to compare the effectiveness of social media in mobile versus web-based environments.

You can most easily compare these platforms by segmenting social visitors. In Google Analytics, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Acquisition→ Social→ Network Referrals.
  2. Select Source from the Secondary Dimension drop-down list below the line graph.

    A list appears displaying social source referral URLs that may or may not include an m. to identify it as a mobile address.

You might want to set up a separate conversion funnel for social mobile users so you can track mobile results independently.

Facebook uses the internal redirects l.facebook.com and lm.facebook.com to distinguish access via http versus https protocol. Subdomain identifier l.facebook corresponds to web-based Facebook access, and lm.facebook corresponds to mobile-based access.

Like with all analytics, which elements you decide to measure and compare depend on your goals and objectives. Are you measuring the success of your own mobile site, the use of your social media pages on mobile devices, the number of visitors from social mobile pages to your primary website, or the level of foot traffic to a brick-and-mortar store?

Standard site parameters, such as amount of social mobile traffic, click-through rate (CTR), number of impressions, number of page views, visit duration, and number of new versus repeat visitors still apply, of course.

Watch for variations between mobile visitors and web visitors to your social media sites on conversion rates, newsletter subscriptions, and brand recall.

Naturally, you should watch for metrics specific to mobile use, such as the following:

  • Mobile phone versus tablet.
  • Use by operating system (iOS versus Android, primarily). You can see these details in Google Analytics by choosing Audience →   Mobile →   Devices. (This approach doesn’t necessarily distinguish mobile social networks from other mobile users.)
  • Mobile payment methods, codes, and coupons.
  • Click-throughs from a social mobile site to your regular, tablet, or mobile site.
  • Click-to-call rate versus clicks to your primary, mobile, or tablet-specific site.
  • Behavioral differences between users of your social media pages on the web versus on a mobile platform.

Here are some third-party resources for mobile analytics.

Mobile Analytics Resources
Name What You Can Find Cost
Apsalar: Free version, Paid version Mobile app analytics including real-time daily cohorts and user-centric conversion funnels, cross-app analytics, and revenue and engagement data Free for in-app versions; business levels start at $999/month
Flurry from Yahoo! Mobile app analytics for usage, category benchmarks, and audience segmentation Free
Mixpanel Mobile app analytics Free for small data sets
Netbiscuits Mobile analytics Free