After looking at the interesting “The Browser You Loved to Hate” campaign by Microsoft featuring the “You Grew Up, So Did We” slogan, I decided to install Internet Explorer 10 on my office PC. I’ve never really been a fan of Microsoft’s browser but am always keen to see the changes they’ve made on their previous “attempts”. The campaign is quite interesting featuring much nostalgia from the 90’s such as Yo-Yos, treasure trolls, snap wrist-bands and even hungry hippos. Will it be enough to get people back into using IE? I doubt it, but have to give props to MS for putting in some effort.
After installing the browser and having a bit of a play with it, I ended up on a rabbit hole adventure and got thinking about browser usage and how its changed over the years. There are many stats out there which track, measure and report this stuff on a global scale (Statcounter for example) but browser data will vary from site to site. I decided to have a dig around the E-Web Marketing analytics to see what kind of data we have from previous years, understand how browser usage has changed for our audience and what to do about it. By sharing the following information, it may interest you to investigate your own analytics to determine the direction you need to take with your audience.
E-Web Marketing Browser Usage
I’ve decided to compare the most popular browsers currently available:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Apple Safari
- Mozilla Firefox
Opera was not included as it made up for <1% of the data so has been grouped into “Other”.
The data above was collected from Google Analytics and compiled into Excel spreadsheet to make the pretty (sort of) graph above. No surprise here really – Chrome has gained great traction over the years with its simplicity, lightning speed and integration with Google. Internet Explorer remains “the browser we love to hate” and continues to dip along with Firefox. Safari seems to be gaining every year most likely due to the increased sales of Apple products (iPads and other “i” devices) with many users sticking with built-in browser.
Why Should I Care?
In an ideal world, you want to make sure your website works well on all-browsers. User experience should be a top priority – anyone that has a bad user experience is more than likely to jump ship to your competitor and never return. These days browsers have gotten better with some even having the ability to fix rendering errors etc. Understanding this data allows you to understand more clearly how your website should be designed/function, however looking at browser alone is not enough data to determine how to design your site – what about mobile and different sized screen resolutions? With the spike in portable devices such as smart phones and tablets, how does your website perform on those devices?
Whilst some would argue even one visitor from an obscure web browser like “Maxthon” is still a valuable visitor (and I agree), most companies do not have time to focus on all browsers and make sure they work perfectly in all of them. Kogan (an Australian retailer) got a lot of buzz from boycotting Internet Explorer 7 altogether. The above analysis allows us to look at what are the most important browsers and ensure our website works on them. This is also the case with different versions of browsers – why struggle to make your website work perfectly for Internet Explorer version 6 when hardly any of those users are visiting your site? In our case, we’re better off making sure it works in the latest versions of four major browsers we mentioned above.
Mobile has come a long way over the years and has had a huge uptake both in Australia and around the world. You only need to see charts like these to understand where we’re going and why you need to be on board. For us, we’ve noticed mobile usage growing steadily as well for our own site:
10% of our website visitors use some sort of mobile browser to look at our site so we can determine that it is definitely important to make sure those users are having a good time when they’re on our site!
The Good News
Good thing for us is we have a mobile site so those users will get to see something like the below image which gives them a better user experience then having to fit the entire desktop version of the website on the screen:
The Bad News
Smartphone users are automatically redirected to the mobile site which sits on a different domain and doesn’t offer all of the same content that the desktop site does. This article for example wouldn’t show up in a user-friendly way on a Smartphone! This has obvious SEO implications as well as additional resource requirements in order to run the server. Another problem that was discovered was that the conversion rate almost halved via the mobile site. Ouch.
Responsive web design. I won’t go into it too much (there is an excellent article written by Kristina Kledzik on SEOmoz which explains it in more detail here), but essentially responsive web design allows the site to adapt to whatever size screen it’s being displayed on. This means they get to see all of the content you have to offer in a very readable way. This is something we’re working on for our own website and helping our clients with too.
How to Get the Data Yourself
So I’ve used ewebmarketing.com.au as a bit of a case study here but if you’re interested in finding it yourself, here’s what you do:
Browser Usage Report:
Open Google Analytics. Under “Standard Reports” on the left hand side, click Audience>Technology>Browser & OS>Browser
By default, you’ll be presented with data of the diferent browsers that have brought traffic to your site, sorted by those which have brought the most visits.
Mobile Usage Report
Similar to the “Browser Usage Report”, except this time we go into Audience>Mobile>Overview. The report will split the visits into “Yes” and “No” which makes it easy to determine the split of your visitors.
Know what technology your visitors are using – when you do, you can provide them with a much better experience and increase your following, brand awareness and conversion rates!
By the way, Microsoft if you’re reading this…
If you want to increase the market share of Internet Explorer, make it available on multiple operating systems!
We all know how bad the old Internet Explorer browsers were. And you have declared that you’re “grown up”. So why not make yourself available to other operating systems besides Windows – just like other grown up browsers have done (Linux, Windows and Mac)? Oh, and making it available to only Windows 7 and 8 cuts out a big chunk of the market which doesn’t allow for much market growth.
Sorry Microsoft, but you still have some more growing to do.