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Made Media Ltd

Posted in general by Mark James on March 8th, 2012

Mobile website traffic and arts organisations: some figures

If you check your website’s analytics regularly I’m sure you’ll have recognised a trend towards an increasing number of people browsing and buying tickets on mobile phones and tablets.

Not surprisingly, more and more of the work we’re doing has a mobile component to it. We recently looked at the mobile traffic stats from some of our clients’ Google Analytics profiles (all significant arts venues and organisations) and thought we’d share some top-level findings with you.

Types of mobile website


Made Media mobile websites


Firstly, it might help to know that there are broadly two ways to ‘go mobile’:

1. Build your site to be ‘responsive’, meaning that the layout will adapt to the size of the browser. For an example, see the site we built for Birmingham Rep (if you’re on a desktop/laptop then resize your browser to see how the site shifts depending on the width).

2. Automatically direct mobile browsers to a separate, mobile-optimised site. For example, see our work for Birmingham Hippodrome and Warwick Arts Centre

In general, we believe that it’s preferable to go for responsive design when developing a new website. That said, there are good use-cases for mobile specific sites too, especially when you want to provide a particular experience to the mobile user.

Headline stats


Here’s a sample of what we found, representing an average across a number of our clients:

• Mobile traffic splits 50:50 between mobile phones (of any sort) and iPads. Each represents ~5% of total website traffic, or 10% of total traffic on a website with responsive design.
•iPad users are the best types of mobile user, looking at more things and spending around 30% more per person.
•iPad users still don’t spend as much as desktop or laptop users.
•A mobile phone user is worth roughly 50% of a desktop user in average revenue per visit.
•A tablet user is worth roughly 80% of a desktop user in average revenue per visit.
•When people buy tickets on mobile devices, they buy the same number and value of tickets, they just do so between 20%-50% less often

It’s interesting to see the extent to which Apple devices dominate. As for other operating systems:

• Android users don’t spend so much. Certain people in the office always suspected that was the case, now they have stats to prove it.
•We identified one Windows Phone ticket-buying user. He or she buys expensive tickets and apparently has at least 2 friends (although we’re not drawing firm conclusions from a sample this size!).

If you’d like to hear more then get in touch to discuss what we can do for you.

A little more detail


Websites that account for mobile visitors get more mobile visitors. It’s as simple as that.

The screenshot below shows mobile traffic for Warwick Arts Centre, whose mobile site launched roughly one year ago. As you can clearly see, the initial spike in traffic has come to be dwarfed by continued, sustained growth.This is typical across the sites that we track.

Arts organisation mobile traffic


Mobile v standard. We’re seeing higher mobile usage on sites that have accounted for mobile (20%) against those that provide the standard site to mobile users (10%).

Page views. Visitors to a website with responsive design view the same number of pages on mobile as users on desktops/laptops. For websites with mobile-specific websites or no mobile support, the figure is about 30% lower than desktop/laptop users.

Ticket buying. We’ve observed that mobile users spend the same amount per transaction (and purchase the same quantity of tickets) compared to normal users, but only half as many of them buy tickets.

The iPad effect. Users on iPads spend even more than non-mobile users per average transaction. A smaller percentage of them use the website to purchase tickets, but it’s close.

Responsive design v mobile-specific websites. We’re interested in seeing whether one style of mobile site offers a better average value per visit than the other. However, we can’t do a proper comparison due to the limitations of certain ticketing systems (are mobile ticketing pathways and transaction tracking too much to ask for?). From the information we do have, we suspect there may be a slight preference towards a website with a responsive design, with an additional improvement where there is a mobile purchase path.

Finally


We haven’t touched on the use of mobile apps here – although we have plenty of experience in that area, apps are a very different beast. We’ve also not specifically mentioned mobile-friendly select-your-own-seat ticket purchasing, although it’s something that we’re currently working on for a few clients. We’d love to show this to anyone who’s interested.

Also, here’s a little bonus for Google Analytics users – a custom report for comparing mobile v standard traffic. Just log into your Google Analytics account and then come back here and follow that link.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our work and what we can do for you then please get in touch.

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