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Google has just introduced a new feature that is certain to become a part of marketers’ everyday toolbelt – Google Signals.Background:A typical website visitor may start their visit on one platform (e.g. mobile) and then return to continue their visit on a different platform (e.g. desktop). The visit may also involve different browsers. This cross device/cross platform use has made it very difficult for marketers to effectively attribute conversion modeling; essentially being blind to understanding where the conversion is actually coming from.Current Workarounds:Marketers that have websites which require a user to login were able to leverage analytics cookies that Google places on a site along with the resulting UserID (GAUID) to associate with that login action and then leverage this stored cookie to recognize the user when they return with a different device. Of course, the majority of non eCommerce websites do not require users to login which is the dilemma marketers face.Coming Soon:Google Signals solution is to leverage a visitor’s logged in Google account such as Gmail or YouTube in place of the GAUID. The assumption is that it is far more likely that a visitor to a marketer’s website is also logged into a Google property at the same time…many Gmail users never really log out of Gmail or YouTube. While this may not capture ALL visitors, it should be a good representative sample based on Google’s Data Models. Google is in the process of rolling out Google Signals to all Google Analytics properties. When you see this blue banner after logging into your GA account, you’ll be able to follow the prompts to join the early signalsAfter enabling Google Signals you will see the following in the properties settings in Google Analytics Admin:data collectionOnce you have Google Signals enabled you will see a new set of audience report options in your Google Analytics view for the property under Cross Device:report optionsNow let’s look at these new reports!Device Overlap leverages a Venn diagram to instantly visualize visitors by device(s) along with overlap. You’ll note that a core comparison is to Goal conversions so you will want to make sure that you have set up Goals in your GA property/view. The tiles indicate the combinations of devices that users employed to engage with your content. For example, [Desktop] + [Mobile] indicates that users engaged with your content using both Desktop and Mobile devices.device overlapDevice Paths shows you the sequence of devices used in a conversion. Think of this along the lines of the multi-channel funnel report you should already to be used to. In this case, however, you are seeing the role each device took in the user’s journey. You can drill down to look at 6 different dimensions:
  • Device Category
  • Device Category and Campaign
  • Device Category and Channel
  • Device Category and Medium
  • Device Category and OS
  • Device Category and Source
device pathsChannels is a new visualization of acquisitions, behavior and conversions. This is based on the last non-direct click attribution model.channelsAcquisition Device shows you what device is the most frequently used to start the user’s journey to conversion. This can be valuable to adjust device targeting bids in your paid advertising modeling.acquisition deviceSome CaveatsGoogle warns that there may be data discrepancies with these new Cross Device reports. On a temporary basis you may find: More direct traffic in Audience > Cross Device > Channels report than in Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report New Users count is temporarily inflated in the Cross Device report Also for an on-going basis: “In the Cross Device reports, there may be slight differences between new users in the Channels and Acquisition Device reports. The Channels report is based on pre-aggregated data, while the Acquisition Device report is based on data that is aggregated at query time, and sampling affects the data differently in each case. Data must also meet Analytics standards for how accurately we estimate cross-device behavior for your whole user base. If Analytics isn't confident in the accuracy of the estimation, then it doesn't display data values. In addition, Analytics applies thresholds to ensure privacy. If there isn't a sufficient volume of data to ensure privacy, then Analytics does not display data values. If data is missing from either report for these reasons, then the values can differ between the reports.”Cross Device Targeting In PracticePrimacy’s sister company,—an independent trading desk, has been leveraging cross-device targeting and attribution for some time ensuring that its clients are marketing to the person, not the device. Advertisers find it extremely valuable to understand how their awareness tactics run through the desk have influence over converting tactics on the desktop, namely Paid Search. As the industry moves away from cookies and looks towards device IDs to track users and collect data, device graph data becomes ever more important in a marketer’s toolkit. This sparks the beginning of inevitable shift in agencies’ core campaign reporting from the last-click/last-view attribution of ad to conversion, instead looking at the whole ad journey one takes to become brand aware and eventually buy. No longer will cross-device reporting be second class to the native reporting platforms that stick to their last-action metrics. With this move by Google, it is exciting to see cross-device attribution being taken seriously and becoming available for all to take advantage, instead of those who are only able to spend marketing budget on premium software to share this intelligence.