Cross-Device Reporting in Google - What You Need to Know

Blog | 27 Feb, 2017

Written by Bailey Templin and John Thompson.

As the industry begins to shift their mindset away from a linear conversion path towards a user's multi-screen journey, Google is repositioning their reporting to account for these additional touchpoints.

We have compiled the four most important things you need to know in order to prepare your accounts for this update.

1. You will be receiving an email from Google if your account isn’t transitioned before the public implementation date of March 14.

The cross-device conversions column has been available for all accounts since September 2016. There is no action required from your standpoint, starting on March 14th, Google will begin the system-wide rollout and all accounts will eventually be transitioned. You will likely be aware of cross-device inclusion within your accounts due to a shift in overall conversion volume. 


2. It is not available for app install, imported Analytics goals or imported AdWords Conversions.

Cross-device conversions will be available for your Search and Shopping campaigns immediately and eventually will include Display. According to Google, there is not the same level of visibility in terms of installs, goals, and imported conversions. There is a likelihood the depth of cross-device capabilities and insights will continue to grow as we head further into 2017 and focus more heavily on user behavior. Read more from Google Support


3. Accounts currently utilizing Google automated bid strategies will notice an impact.

If you are relying upon Google automated strategies there is a likelihood your bids will be affected. As the algorithm in place learns the new information, it is not uncommon to see a shift in spend. There will be additional information in your Google-provided email, but in the meantime, just understand this shift is expected and will assist performance down the road.


4. Under the Tools tab, quite a few options are available for cross-device reporting.

If you navigate towards Tools > Attribution > Cross-Device Activity, you are able to see more detailed cross-device data including device-specific conversions, assisting devices, and device paths. Within the device paths reporting, you have visibility into which device paths generate the greatest number of conversions, much like the original “top paths” attribution insight. The paths data allows you to see exactly how users are moving toward a conversion, via multiple touchpoints across multiple devices.

The cross-device insight is only available if a user is logged into the Google system across each of their devices. Insight for advertisers allows more detailed visibility of a user’s full journey and intent, something that Google is beginning to further expose with each passing year. Google continues to shed more light onto specific user behavior, something that advertisers are eager to utilize towards optimizing campaigns for a greater return.

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