While marketing analysts are still reviewing GA4 features to determine what works and what doesn’t work for their strategy, one report remains a stalwart for helping plan effective app launches: Google Analytics Tech report. The Tech report provides a clear look at what devices website visitors use to visit a website. Yet with some strategy, you can use that report to better plan your launch of an app or software.
A Brief Google Analytics Tech Report History
The tech report is a legacy report from Google Analytics’ launch in 2009. Over the years Google has kept the report mostly intact, unlike the complete overhaul it did with other reports. The report’s appearance has been modified to align with other GA4 reporting. One metric, bounce rate, was replaced by engaged sessions in all reports. Bounce rate represents when someone comes to a website and leaves immediately after, an indicator of potentially poor experience or performance. The engaged sessions metric is a similar measurement, but puts greater emphasis on app or website activity like the reporting filters and settings in GA4. Engaged sessions record website or app session activity that is greater than 10 seconds, with two or more page views, and when an event is triggered. The emphasis on sessions reflects the expanded role these reports have — from being a diagnostic tool to a strategic indicator.
To appreciate the value this data provides, think of when a startup launches an app or software. It is typical to focus resources on one type of device to cut costs and manage technical debt. Clubhouse is a well-known recent example of this strategy. Clubhouse first launched its app for iPhones and later launched an Android version once it cleared up bugs and refined the app experience for its audience. The analytics tech report can help guide those decisions, offering insights into the best platform to leverage resources for the greatest impact.
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What Features Appear in the Tech Reports
The Tech segments appears in the menu under the user segment. When you access it you will see two report segments: Tech Overview and a Tech Details page.
The Tech overview displays users by platform in two visualizations: as a pie chart and as a bar chart of real-time data based on visitors within the last 30 minutes. There are also visual cards displaying users segmented by various device arrangements. The default display will show users by operating system, by platform, by browser, by app version and by device model.
The Tech Details report shows the volume of users over time as a time series graph. Also on display is a bubble graph that shows users and browser type.
The table below the bubble graph displays several metrics: users, new users, engaged sessions, engagement rate, engaged sessions per user, event count, conversions and revenue. Each one of these metrics can be examined to rank where to focus your development resources based on what technology your audience generally uses to access your site or app.
Related Article: How to Use Cohort Analysis in GA4
How to Analyze the Data in a GA4 Tech Report
As an example, let’s imagine your overview report ranks visits by browser sessions. The results indicate Chrome has the largest number of users among the browser types. They also indicate that specific audience generates the largest amount of revenue, for example revenue from an in-app purchase or a purchase associated with a browser plugin. This means you should develop your app or browser plugin strategy with people who are regularly using Chrome in mind to reach the largest audience. That decision can be helpful if you are planning an A/B test.
Another useful comparison is determining the percentage of users accessing your business site by mobile or by desktop. Research on search behavior has shown people search for phrases differently on smartphone, usually taking a transactional or location-based approach to a keyword, such as “window repair service near me.” Understanding the percentage difference of the device usage can inform decisions on how to best map keyword usage to customer behavior. This can enhance content choices for a website redesign or lead qualification strategy for digital ad campaigns.
The downside of using the Tech Reports is you are only seeing activity reflecting an audience outcome. For example, you would expect to receive Android-related traffic after launching an Android app. To understand why they are using that particular device, you will need to survey your customers. The displayed results can only confirm what your digital media generates, rather than being a predictive element.
But the combination of the Tech Report data with a customer survey can help you plan a savvy strategy to improve connections with your customers. A device is part of the customer journey, so any report on its consistent usage provides marketers an on-ramp to the rest of that journey path.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides recommendations and web development action that improves marketing strategy and business profitability.