Cross Device Tracking in Google Analytics


How does Google Analytics treat visitors when that same person visits your site on multiple devices? For example, John does a Google search on his computer, sees a PPC ad, and clicks through to your website. Unfortunately, John doesn’t have time to finish his research, so he leaves your site. Later, he has more time so he pulls out his phone and he types your URL into the browser on his phone. He then clicks the phone number on your phone and calls your team.

John found out about you via PPC and his computer. However, the critical call to action took place as a Direct visitor on his phone. How are the visits John made to your site counted by Google?

Let’s Discuss Cross Device Tracking

Google is trying really hard to give marketers and website owners better insights into what’s really happening with website visits. In a recent visit I took to Google’s Mountain View campus, I was in a group of people that was invited to Google to talk about some issues Google is trying to solve. We were told “Google is a really good last-click attribution company.” Last-click attribution?!? What does that mean?

In the situation I described at the start of the page, Google Analytics will give 100% of the credit for the phone call to a Direct visitor and to the phone. The PPC ad and the PC get absolutely no credit for that phone call. Why? Because the call took place during the last click to your website. The first click got no credit. The last click gets 100% of the credit. Make sense? But what if they never found you via PPC in the first place? The last click and the conversion never would have happened.

This process gets even trickier when the person changes devices in the process as well (as I described in the scenario). In an email from Google to the entire Sebo team on July 11, 2018, they wrote:

Cross Device reporting in Analytics takes into account people who visit your website multiple times from different devices. Now, instead of seeing metrics in Analytics that show two separate sessions (e.g., one on desktop and the other on mobile), you’ll be able to see when users visited your website from two different devices. By understanding these device interactions as part of a broader customer experience, you can make more informed product and marketing decisions.

Google also has told us that over time, we will have even more insights with “reports like Device Overlap, Device Paths and Channels.” Pretty cool stuff!

What does this mean to you?

Sebo is currently working on enabling this feature inside our client accounts. The process starts with an image telling us that Google Signals hasn’t been activated yet by showing us the image below:

Once we click Get Started, we come to a page that looks something like this:

At that point, it’s pretty simple. We click Continue a few times, and then we see this message:

At that point, we’re done, and Google Analytics is going to start collecting that data. Over time, these insights will help marketing efforts be even more effective!

If you have any questions, please discuss this with your contact at Sebo.

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