Does Google Analytics skew data for web owners with traffic using Windows Phone? Not quite. While there is no clear categorisation between iPhone/iPod, PC and WP7 the data is being collected and it's available for viewing. With the list of operating systems in the filter, one can select screen resolution as a secondary dimension to compare the OS and resolution numbers.
An article, posted back in June (opens in new tab), over at Mobility Digest saw them go into some depth with their analytical data while calculating the percentage of visits between the mobile platforms. This article publishes detail for Android, Windows and iOS - note "Windows" and not "Windows Phone". Doug Simmons then took a further look into the numbers (opens in new tab) as he thought WP should be reporting higher values.
I too was interested so I took a quick look at my personal website (since it doesn't receive a whole lot of traffic it should be easier to break down the data) and filtered through the visits recorded in Google Analytics. The majority of my traffic comes from WPCentral with redirects from Twitter and other locations that involve Microsoft's platform, so I predicted that a healthy portion of the mobile traffic should be using WP handsets.
In the image above you can see the screen resolution and OS filters enabled. It's quite clear that Windows Phone is being picked up by the tracking code, but is merely being categorised as "not set" (one of the resolutions paired with Windows is also 480x800). I'm actually fairly surprised seeing how the platform has been out for almost a year, Google has had ample time to fix this issue of Windows Phone not being recognised as well as Windows Mobile.
MSIE 9 will count for both the mobile and desktop hits and the only way to accurately guess as to how much traffic is on Windows Phone lies with the screen resolution and browser/OS filtering. It's not much but at least we're not being ignored. It's just a massive negative for web owners who would never see Windows Phone while looking at mobile traffic data. We're not that small Google!
Oh, if you use Google Analytics and have just ventured onto WP7, check out Phonealytics (opens in new tab).
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
Google is doing the best job they can at ignoring Windows Phone 7. They consistently, probably purposely call the platform Windows Mobile whenever they do recognise its existence. But otherwise, they haven't released any of their services for WP7 except a dodgy Search app. And they don't have any plans to, either.
I think Google recognizes that Windows Phone has a potential to become a perfect version of Android-like system - hardware from many OEMs, fast polished OS, controlled ecosystem, but also easily jail-broken for the people who want it (I highly doubt that open source is valuable to Google, I suspect that for them it is just a shortcut to rapid Franken-OS-tein creation).And of course because of that, they will ignore Windows Phone at all costs - which is probably their loss, because they won't be needed at all when Windows Phone will really take off.
They also have a history of intentionally disrupting Windows Phone users' experiences on the platform (like refusing Microsoft the ability to have decent, native YouTube support). This just does hand-in-hand.
Good work; this certainly discredits Google Analytics for mobile traffic.
Sour losers! lol
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