Screen Resolution or Browser Size – does it matter?

For a while now, many have touted the value of Screen Resolution in Google Analytics to help determine page interactivity, above the fold/below the fold placement, as well as generally informing why certain actions may be taken (or not taken) on a site.

While the value placed on Screen Resolution isn’t incorrect, there may be a better option for you and your marketing/creative team. If you are in the business of generating conversions on your site, making that sale, or developing the best user experience possible, the difference between Browser Size and Screen Resolution could be that final hurdle in moving the needle of your website.

Let’s examine this data below:

Browser Resolution Image 1

This Screen Resolution data shows us that (of these top 10 resolutions listed) 21% of sessions for this site are on large screens (1920×1080), while only 6% and 5% respectively are on what are most likely mobile devices (320×568 and 375×667).

However, this data is assuming that everyone who is browsing is viewing the site in browsers that are full-screen. This next chart tells a different story.

Browser Resolution Image 2_1


This data shows that a 40% of the top 10 Browser Size sessions are being viewed on small screens – indicating mobile devices. And while we saw in the first chart that 21% of our sessions have Screen Resolution of 1920×1080, only 15% of sessions are taking anywhere close to that size (1900×980 and 1900×960).

So, what happens if we take this one step further? What about looking at the Browser Size for mobile and desktop? Let’s confirm that what we think is mobile and desktop, is in fact mobile or desktop.

Browser Resolution Image 1

We’ve now confirmed that two of the top four most used Browser Sizes are mobile, and more importantly, that two of the top three desktop sizes are significantly smaller than what we originally thought based on looking at Screen Resolution alone.

So, you might be asking yourself, “Self, what’s the big deal? What can I do with this data? Do I even care?” This data can help inform how we might move a sign-up form on the page (up or down), where we might place the checkout button, or even perhaps the company logo and how much of the page we are willing to devote to that space.

In all, while the use of this data to inform strategy and decision making is specific to your brand goals, Browser Size and Screen Resolution together in analysis can help inform many parts of your site, your conversion rates, and even the overall user experience.

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