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New Cross Device Reports in Google Analytics

Last month we posted about the new Google Signals option in Google Analytics that needed to be activated in order to view data about Cross Device activity. In this post, we look at the new reports that will be available in Analytics under the new Cross Device menu item (within the main Audience menu option).

Analytics is tracking behaviour on a site by users who have signed in to one of their Google accounts (e.g., Gmail, Google+, YouTube) and who have turned on Ads Personalization. Analytics uses that observed behaviour to develop the data models on which the Cross Device reports are based. The data models are based on login rates and on device type for converting users, and are customised for each Analytics reporting view.

Analytics knows which device a user was on for the initial ad click and which device the user was on for the associated conversion. Analytics also knows about other intermediary interactions the user had with the same advertiser along the way to conversion. For example, a user might click the first ad while on a cell phone, click a second ad while on a tablet, and then complete the conversion from a desktop (mobile > tablet > desktop).

Analytics models behaviour for all users based on the behaviour of users who had signed in to their Google accounts. The modelled data is then included in reports only when Google has confidence that the model reflects the directionality of the data for all users. The Cross Device reports include only aggregated data and so no data for individual users is ever exposed.

The reports that are now available are:

  • Device Overlap: Users by device & device overlap – indicating the combinations of devices that users employed to engage with your content.
  • Device Paths: The sequence of devices used on the path to conversion.
  • Channels: Users by channel, users by channel over time based on the Last Non-Direct Click attribution model.
  • Acquisition Device: New Users by channel & New Users by channel over time showing the first device used on the path to conversion.

Google says that there will be data discrepancies between these new Cross Device reports and other existing reports in Analytics, such as where Google users who have turned on Ads Personalization are recognised as new users the first time they initiate a session on a website after they activate Google signals, even if they have previously initiated sessions on that website.

In addition, the data in these new reports must also meet Analytics standards for how accurately they estimate cross-device behaviour 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 so 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.

If you’d like to know more about the new Cross Device reports, please get in touch.