Your most common questions on mobile optimizations, answered

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the importance of mobile optimizations throughout the reader journey. In the past year alone, we’ve tackled topics such as:

That said, the evolving mobile audience landscape is still a major point of interest among our global network of content creators. Therefore, we wanted to take an opportunity to address your most pressing mobile questions, pointing to our research for answers and offering tips on where Chartbeat can help along the way.

What are the recent mobile traffic trends across the Chartbeat network?

When we look across our global network, we see that mobile traffic has outpaced its desktop counterpart month over month since the beginning of 2019. In fact, nearly 55 billion pageviews came from mobile devices in March at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our engagement data tells a similar story, as more readers have been collectively spending more time with content on mobile devices versus desktop since January 2019.

We’re still in a mobile-first environment, which is why surfacing sources of mobile traffic has become all the more important, as we discuss below.

Where can I surface the prominent sources of mobile traffic in Chartbeat?

Within Chartbeat, look no further than your Real-time Dashboard to see a breakout of referrers by device* (mobile, tablet, desktop) and referrer type, such as Google Search or LinkedIn, as you can see in the bottom left below.

*Learn more about real-time device and distribution percentages on our FAQ page.

Then, take it a step further to your article view, as we see below. For instance, if we see Facebook is driving higher-than-normal traffic, we might consider boosting this post to more readers and promoting it across your other distribution channels that are predominantly mobile.


If you’re asking about new sources of mobile referral traffic, the answer becomes somewhat more complicated due to your unique audience and content. However, one increasingly prominent area of mobile referrals has come from emerging aggregators such as Google News or Chrome Suggestions (more on that below).

Check out our new Chartbeat Help experience for more FAQs on mobile traffic.

What role do platforms play in my mobile engagement efforts?

Google Search and Facebook are still the primary sources of referral traffic to your content, which means optimizing for those platforms is critical to engaging wider audiences.

We’ve also seen the rise of new referral sources that may be worth further analysis. For instance, Google-led platforms such as Google Chrome Suggestions and Google News have been leading referral sources in recent months, despite the fluctuations in the ways global readers interact with content during the pandemic.

Chartbeat users can delve deeper into their mobile traffic with our AMP and Facebook Instant Article integrations as well. From there, you’ll be able to see if the traffic patterns are best aligned with your target KPIs.

Not seeing that traffic in your dashboard? Make sure the integration is set up with the help of our support documentation. If you’re looking to create in-depth or custom reports, you may want to consider our Advanced Queries tool or Datastream.

What about my native app traffic?

Given the trends we outlined above and the growing resources placed on native app experiences, you may be seeing an increasing number of your most loyal readers shift over to your app to engage with content.

Chartbeat users can track visitors to your native app with the our mobile SDK, which integrates that audience in your Real-time Dashboard. After implementing it, you’ll start to see App traffic with iOS and Android as pivots under the Distribution section. This will enable you to see how these audiences interact with content in real time and inform future strategies.

What immediate actions can I take when I see a mobile engagement opportunity?

Time is everything to your team, so another way to consider this question is, “What signals from my audience are most important to me and require further action?”

Let’s talk about three of the ways to get to the answers you need when time matters:

1. Optimize content using the Chartbeat Heads Up Display

Our screen overlay that displays real-time visitor data on top of home, section, or article pages, enables teams to take the specific and immediate actions to optimize for mobile performance. 

Mobile user experience simulation Heads Up Display

For instance, if you’re seeing low engagement among your mobile visitors on a particular article, use the Heads Up Display to see how far down the mobile page readers are scrolling (as we show above), so you can see where engagement is trending down. Consider breaking up the text with subheaders or adjusting page elements to see those numbers trend back upwards.

2. Use Spike Alerts to signal proactive optimizations

Spike Alerts will give your team a real-time opportunity to make adjustments to trending content that can yield stronger reader engagement across your site.

More on the real-time signals that Spike Alerts offer to content creators are available here.

3. Listen to your readers and join the conversation

Identifying opportunities for quick action also allows you to take things further. For example, since email newsletters are typically consumed on mobile devices, you can use engagement data from content that was popular during the early part of the day to inform the stories you curate into an afternoon newsletter.

For your mobile readers coming from social, our Offsite Social tool brings the drivers of your social media engagement in your Real-Time Dashboard alongside your story performance data. Offsite Social not only shows you how much your content is being shared and discussed, but also offers an opportunity to join the conversation.

Have any other mobile questions? Visit ask us on Twitter @Chartbeat.

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