August 05 2014

Measuring the Impact of Responsive Design

There is a 60%* chance that you are reading this article on a tablet or smartphone. The world is increasingly mobile and your audience isn’t just sitting in front of a desktop or laptop consuming your content. That’s why responsive design is typically a no-brainer decision for those planning on designing or redesigning their website.
gvtc website on tablet

For most marketers and IT professionals, the effort that goes into the site design or redesign process (e.g., budgeting, planning, agency selection, content development) is more than enough to focus on. But once the site is live and the launch excitement has passed, it’s important to take a close look and measure the success of your responsive website design.

Track before you launch
For businesses with an existing site, it’s very important to have website analytics tracking code installed on all site pages. Most businesses use Google Analytics but any robust analytics program will do. With at least a few months of analytics tracking under your belt, you will have accurate “before” metrics for comparison purposes. Note: be sure that your new website has the same tracking code installed.

Design your site strategically
As part of a site redesign, be clear up front what your expectations are for the desktop/laptop, tablet and phone versions of your sites. In contrast to apps or mobile sites, responsive design provides the ability to serve up your full website to mobile and non-mobile users. This means no matter what the device, visitors should be able to easily navigate your site, access valuable tools (e.g. site search, shopping cart, social sharing), read relevant content and immediately perform the intended action for each page (e.g. buy something, complete a form, get help). A site that is responsive but doesn’t follow these best practices simply won’t generate the results you are hoping for.

Congrats on your launch! Let those analytics collect.
Your site has launched, your team is thrilled, your management is proud of you and you look like a hero. Now that the fanfare has died down (and hopefully you’ve taken a well-earned vacation to rejuvenate) it’s time to take a peek at your site analytics. Don’t be too overeager at the beginning, because some of the initial analytics after the site has launched aren’t representative of continued traffic patterns. But, after a month or two, you should begin to see a few trends emerge.

Key analytics reports to sink your teeth into
There are several key analytics reports that will be of particular interest to you when evaluating the impact of responsive design. Below are the top three we think are the most useful at a glance, but depending on your marketing plans, you may also want dig even deeper.

  • Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is a good metric to understand whether people are leaving your website quickly, or sticking around to learn more. Compare your desktop bounce rate to your mobile/tablet bounce rate. Successfully designed responsive websites should show a decrease in bounce rate overall, particularly for those using a mobile device or tablet.
  • Goal Conversion Rate: If you haven’t setup goals for your site in analytics, you should, because it will quickly help you understand how (or if) your site is delivering against your business goals. Once goals are setup, take a look at your goal conversion rate for all visits, but focus on mobile/tablet before and after your site launches. You should see an upward trend in site conversions overall, especially for mobile conversion rates because an effective responsive design should be delivering additional mobile and tablet conversions.
  • Mobile Visits: Traffic to your site won’t necessarily increase because of responsive design (that takes marketing!) but the percentage of mobile traffic, in comparison to desktop, should steadily increase over time. Pay attention to how mobile and tablet traffic are contributing to the average amount of time visitors spend on your site, session duration and pageviews. The more time mobile visitors spend on your site, the larger the chance they will convert.
Responsive design + supportive analytics = happy brands
Users that land on mobile sites and are frustrated have a 61% chance of leaving and going to another site*, likely a competitor. Any of those users could have been a new customer, which means a poor mobile experience directly impacts potential sales. If you have done your job well by designing a great, responsive website, your site analytics and profits should demonstrate the results of your hard work. Now go login to your analytics and see what kind of data awaits you!


For more information about responsive website design and analyzing your website analytics, contact ZAG Interactive.

Sources
* InMobi, Google’s Think Insights

  • Responsive Design

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide.