Analytics

Cross Device Reporting in Google Analytics (Now Native!)

Looking for an easy way to implement cross device tracking for all visitors? Learn about the new native feature to Google Analytics that allows this – no development required!

Cross Device Reporting in Google Analytics (Now Native!)

By now you are likely well aware of the reality that users bounce between devices to complete their purchase.

I do it all the time as a shopper: receive an email from a brand about a promotion => take a quick look on my phone => and then later at night pull them back up on my laptop to finish my purchase.

Up until now, cross device reporting and analysis was largely a “nice to have” feature as part of your analytics toolset. This reporting was only possible if you:

  1. Had a login mechanism to your site
  2. Implemented a process to pass a unique ID associated to a user logging in via email to Google Analytics

But if you’re like the majority of eCommerce stores, your % of users that log in to an account is < 5% of all users. That means that 95+% of potential customers browsing your store aren’t tracked across devices which makes marketing analytics decisions very difficult.

Until now!

Google Analytics just announced this new feature in beta that allows for cross device reporting for all users – regardless of they are logged in or not. How does Google do it? Well – consider the total amount of users that are cookied or logged into a Google Account on their browser, use Youtube, etc.

That’s a lot of people!

Here’s the official statement from Google on how this cross device tracking works:

Analytics observes behavior 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 behavior to develop the data models on which the reports are based.

Pretty awesome if you ask me. If you aren’t looking for precision then this removes the need for a complicated userID implementation on your site while allowing you to take advantage of cross device insights.

Reporting includes:

  1. Device Overlap
  2. Device path (to conversions)
  3. Channel and Acquisition device paths

device-overlap-cross-device-tracking

cross-device-path-tracking

According to Google, to use these new Cross Device features, start by visiting the Admin section of your Analytics account and choose the setting to activate Google signals. This feature will be rolling out over the next few weeks so if you don’t see this today then you should soon!


Brad Redding

Brad, co-founder of Elevar, has lived in eCommerce for over 12 years. He's helped design, build, and optimize over 100 websites in his career. From new retail startups to well-known brands like Le Creuset, Signature Hardware, Rebecca Minkoff, Char-Broil and more, he specializes in data analytics and conversion optimization to help achieve business goals.

  1. Brad, thank you for your summary of this new, much-needed enhancement for Google Analytics.

    Is this cross-device data capture and reporting capability reflected in the Multi-Channel Funnel reports? Can I now create a custom dimension with Client ID (or some other unique user ID) that is user-unique for across devices and browsers (at least for those that have Google accounts)? Do Google account users have to be actively signed in…or is it for all users who have ever signed into a Google account? Is there an average percent of site visitors that this would cover? Much appreciated, Karl Lendenmann, Ph.D.

  2. Hi Karl,

    I’m not sure if this is included in the MCF reports, I believe they will be separate.

    Regarding the client ID – you can set this up now if you’d like (and not have to wait for this new rollout from Google). If you’re able to set this based on users logging into an account then you’ll be able to track across devices without having to worry about this new modeling rollout from Google for guest users.

    I’ll try and chase down answers to your questions regarding the specifics of the feature (logged in, etc).

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  3. Brad, for further context, I am trying to develop a data-driven attribution model to tease out the partial impacts of exposures across channels, and desire unique-user data…As you know, in GA Client ID has historically not provided person-based measurement (across devices and browsers). With this enhancement, what will be the person-based ID for those that have Google accounts? Ideally, I could use this person-based ID to extract exposure sequences leading to conversions or transactions for this attribution modeling…even for sites that do not require registration or login. I was going to use a User ID (based on third-party IDs in cookies) that would be linked to Client ID (one to many), then create a custom dimension, then extract the unique user-level exposure (journeys) sequences for subsequent attribution modeling. I appreciate whatever information you are able to provide. Cheers, Karl

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