Google Signals is a new option that’s starting to roll out across Google Analytics accounts, and needs to be activated for users to access some new settings and reports, in particular Cross Device reports which can better provide insights into how users may interact with a site across difference devices like desktop and mobile.
Once Google signals have been activated in Analytics, a number of existing Google Analytics features are updated to also include aggregated data from Google users who have turned on Ads Personalization, such as remarketing audiences (which can be used to target ads through a linked AdWords account), advertising reporting features, and demographics and interests reports.
The new Cross Device reports that are appearing in beta in the Google Analytics menu show data based on aggregated data from users who have turned on Ads Personalization. Google Analytics now models behavior for your whole user base across device types, with the data based on users rather than sessions, and therefore by connecting data about devices and activities from different sessions, you can get an understanding of user behavior at each step of the conversion process, from initial contact to long-term retention.
Ads Personalization is the setting available to every Google account user, which enables them to ensure that ads are made more relevant. Every Google account has its own ad settings, so if users have multiple accounts, their ad settings are unique to each account and active for the one currently signed into. When signed in, users will see ads personalized with the activity and information from their Google Account but if not signed in, the users ad settings are saved to their device or browser.
When users turn on Ads Personalization, Google is able to develop a holistic view of how those users interact with an online property from multiple browsers and multiple devices. For example, you can see how users browse products on your site from a phone, and later return to complete purchases from a tablet or laptop. Because of the large volume of data generated by users who have turned on Ads Personalization, Google is able to estimate from that data the cross-device behavior of your entire user base.
By default, Google signed-in data expires after 26 months. However, if the Data Retention setting is set to anything shorter than 26 months, the Google signed-in data will respect this shorter time frame.
We will cover the Cross Device reports in Google Analytics in more detail in a future post, but if you would like more detail about Google signals and activating these in Analytics, please get in touch.