Cross-Device Data Analytics for Chinese Websites

So, you have an online business and you are now targeting the Chinese market, but how do you grow your Chinese user and customer base?

To figure out the next growth areas you decide to take a data-driven and analytics approach.

Before jumping into data analysis however, you need to ensure you are adequately set up for data collection and data reporting.

Here’s what you will need to think about:

For data collection and data reporting, your default or mostly used analytics tool(s) should at least cover the properties below:

• Website for desktop or laptop devices

• Website for mobile devices

• App for Apple IOS devices

• App for Android devices

• Other app for other devices

Mobile Device Search in China

The following travel trend shows that during the first nine months of 2014, Baidu’s mobile searches had almost caught up with Baidu’s desktop searches.

In the peak months (July and August), mobile searches actually exceeded desktop searches. Over the nine-month period, mobile searches increased 37 percent year-over-year but desktop searches grew by just 8 percent.

baidu-pc-vs-mobile-search-image

This data demonstrates the growing trend in China that Chinese users are going to rely more and more on mobile devices when accessing the Internet.

Websites for Mobile, Websites for Desktops, or Both?

In order to capture users from both desktop and mobile devices, owners and webmasters in Google dominated markets tend to create their websites by adapting to the responsive design approach:

• Responsive design allows you to host and work on only one single website regardless of which devices your users are using when visiting your website

• Responsive design also allows your users to have a much better experience when visiting your website through a mobile device, however in China, a common practice for online businesses is the approach of multiple websites. i.e. One website for desktop users, and a second website for mobile users.

Here is an example:

www.mywebsite.com – for desktop users
m.mywebsite.com – for mobile users

Now you are in possession of two websites that have similar or identical content, and you are responsible for maintaining both, and you are now collecting two sets of separate data from your two websites.

Think about it this way: A user arrives at your desktop site in the morning and registers. The same user visits your mobile site in the evening, but how do you know they are the same user?

Cross-Device Analytics

Let’s say you have successfully set up Google Analytics to track each one of your online properties: desktop website, mobile website, Android app and Apple IOS app.

You believe at this point you are good to go with cross-device analytics. Today’s users are spending considerable time on their mobile devices so consumer online purchasing behavior might look something like this:

• A user, while on his/her desktop computer, visited your website in the morning and did some research on a product. He/she left your site while continuing his/her research on your competitor’s website, considering other options.

• The same user came back to your website tonight, but this time he/she was on his/her mobile phone. He/she then made a purchase of the product he/she had researched previously.

Your data reports would show a user browsed through your website heavily in the morning, but did not make a purchase. Another user visited your site later that night, going straight to the site’s shopping pages without doing any research before buying a product. In this case, your analytics tools do not know the two users are actually the same person. So the question you should be asking is:

Are your default analytics tools able to track a user’s behavior (including browsing and transactional) across different devices (i.e. desktop, tablet and mobile)?

One common solution is to implement a User ID on Google Analytics, provided Google Analytics is currently your default analytics tool on your website.

The User ID serves as a unique identifier per person, in theory. After the first time a user is assigned with a unique User ID, Google Analytics will associate all of this user’s activities with that same User ID.

One simple way is to get the user to register on your website (or app). Once he/she is registered, then he/she has a login to your site (or app). When the user is browsing your website or using your app while logged on, you send his/her User ID to Google Analytics, and all his/her activities would be associated with the User ID.

*Image via Shutterstock 

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