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Cross Device Activity Added to Attribution Reports in Google Ads

At the end of March, Google announced that all attribution reports in Google Ads will now include cross-device activity and conversions from May 2019, giving advertisers some valuable insights into how people interact with their ads on multiple devices prior to making a conversion. This is good news, but there are a number of things for advertisers to consider when looking at these reports.

Attribution reports in Google Ads have been available for some time and show the paths customers take to complete a conversion, and attribute the conversion to different ad clicks and ad impressions along the way, so that some conversion data will show decimal points as a result.

Cross-device conversions show advertisers when a customer interacted with an ad on one device and then completed a conversion on another device. Therefore the new cross-device attribution reports combine these two tools to provide even more insight into how people interact with keywords and ads, since these reports show when a customer’s path to conversion includes clicks or impressions on ads on multiple devices.

Cross-device attribution reports are designed to give advertisers more detailed information about how their advertising affects their goals, and allows marketers to make informed decisions on how to adjust their Google Ads campaigns to optimise for those goals. For example, if an advertiser can see that a campaign receives many mobile assist clicks, they may want to increase their mobile bid adjustment for that campaign to potentially get even more clicks that assist conversions.

However, what is the accuracy of this data? Google says that cross-device conversions are estimated based on “aggregated, anonymised data,” which is collected from a set of users that have previously signed-in to Google services. Google’s algorithm then takes this sample and uses a range of signals such as country, conversion type, date, landing page and devices used for all other traffic that isn’t signed in, and extrapolates out the likely conversions between device visits. Google says that the data is used to represent a broader population only if it reaches “strict, highly conservative confidence level,” which is rarely for smaller scale advertisers who may not receive many clicks or conversions over a monthly period.

As a general guideline, for this model to be available and effective, advertisers must have at least 15,000 clicks from Google Search and a conversion action must have at least 600 conversions within 30 days. Also, because eligibility for data-driven attribution is determined by the data for each conversion action, even if advertisers do drive high volumes of activity, they may only see data-driven attribution for some of their website and Google Analytics conversion actions, and not for others.

If you’d like to know more about the cross-device tracking and how your Google Ads account could use this data, please contact us now.