51Degrees Unrivaled Device Data Accuracy


6/15/2017 12:00 PM

Analytics Analysis

Comparing 51Degrees to other device intelligence services

Here at 51Degrees we're often asked how our data compares to other Device Intelligence providers. We have carried out extensive testing using 51Degrees data and Google analytics data to provide an understanding. This blog compares our data to the data provided as default by Google analytics and highlights some discrepancies that can be found.


Testing was carried out with a selection of different devices with a variety of operating systems, and a selection of browsers which have been identified as the most popular browsers globally.


A simple one page private website was built on which we implemented the 51Degrees API and Google Analytics. Using this site to receive requests, we could monitor the results in real time and compare the results in real-time.

For those interested in recreating the test simply contact us and we can provide you with the source code.

Further to this we added custom dimensions which records screen orientation, screen size in inches and the user agent itself to back up the results.

Attached is the file with the results of the User-Agents.

By recording the result displayed by Google Analytics on a per page view basis we could compare ourselves to the most widely used web analytics platform

Maufacturer Model OS + version Brower + version Data Saving Mode Google
Apple iPhone6 IOS 10.1.1 Safari 602.1 n/a
Apple iPhone6 IOS 10.1.1 Chrome 56.0.2924 n/a
Apple iPhone6 IOS 10.1.1 UC Browser 10.8.8* Speed
LG Nexus 5 Android 7.1.2 Chrome 58.0.3029 Off
LG Nexus 5 Android 7.1.2 Firefox 53.0.2 n/a
LG Nexus Android 7.1.2 UC Mini Speed
Microsoft Lumia 950 Windows 10 Mobile Microsoft Edge 40.15063 n/a
Microsoft Lumia 950 Windows 10 Mobile UC Browser 4.2.1** Speed

*There is no UC mini browser for Apple iPhone
**UC Browser on Windows phone is akin to UC mini on Android


You’ll notice that in the above table, there is a column labelled “Data Saving Mode”. What we found, was that for these browsers, Google Analytics reports a mobile device as a desktop device.

This occurs when the query originates from an Android device using the UC mini web browser, as shown in our demonstration video.

GooglePlay Store shows UC mini has had over 100 million installs on android

This only occurs when running the UC mini browser in speed mode. The primary reason to install UC mini is to save on bandwidth costs and as speed mode is enabled by default we can assume that a large proportion of traffic from devices running this browser is not identified as ‘mobile’ in Google Analytics.


To avoid missing out on this level of detail, you can add custom dimensions to your Google Analytics solution which will enhance your analytical data. With 51Degrees you can capture and pipe various properties into GA such as screen orientation and screen size. See this article we published in 2014 on how to do it. You can also feed the User-Agent in to Google Analytics, this data can then be exported to perform offline processing for more accurate analysis of impressions on mobile devices.

The same techniques could be applied to other analytics packages.

If you would like to discuss adding custom dimensions or have any queries related to this topic please do not hesitate to contact us