New Cross-Device Reporting for Google Analytics

William Julian-Vicary

Strategy & Innovation Director

Earlier this week, Google announced an exciting new feature for GA and we’re pretty sure you’re going to like it.

If you’re in marketing, cross device analysis is something you should already be thinking about. Understanding a user’s journey across mobile, tablet and desktop devices can shed light on how best to optimise customer experience and plan a better marketing strategy. Facebook has historically led cross-device attribution, and we don't see that changing any time soon, but it's great to see Google making strides toward exposing insights into cross-device browsing habits as they become more prevalent in today's society.

Device Paths Report - Image Copyright of Google

There’s promise of new Cross Device feature reports with more likely to follow, but this is all we can gather at the moment. These new reports will help us understand more about cross-device journeys:

  • Acquisition Device
  • Device Overlap
  • Device Paths and Channels
  • Cross Device Reports
  • Attribute conversions across devices.

Google’s recent announcement of new cross device features are currently in the process of being rolled out to all GA accounts, so if you haven’t got them yet, don’t worry.

Target users across devices

With cross-device audiences, when these audiences are pushed to Google Ads DoubleClick you'll now be able to reach your audience across their devices. (For users that have Ads Personalisation enabled).

Device Overlap Report - Image Copyright of Google

Build better audiences

With this new information, better audiences can be created to tailor an experience more likely to generate successful conversions. An example where using this information can create a larger, more accurate audience:

Say you’re targeting users who have an average session duration of 240 seconds and a pages / session rate greater than 5 - sounds pretty typical. So what about a user who spends 120 secs avg. on mobile and 200 secs avg. on desktop browsing your site? They’re hitting the requirements but won’t be counted in your audience. Cross device features will aid in building an audience which will factor in these kinds of statistics.

Tailor your campaigns

Working with the new Device Acquisition report will give greater insights around how new users are converting into customers. Using this report can help with strategic decisions around how marketing campaigns are steered and whether it’s time to spend more targeting mobile and drop desktop altogether or vice versa.

Acquisition Device Report - Image Copyright of Google

Who are these reports intended for?

Google has already fleshed out details around what the new reports will include, which users will be eligible and how to access them. Here are some use-cases they have created. As expected, these reports will most likely fall into the hands of people within the marketing sector. Here are some use-cases provided by Google:

As a... I would like to... So I can...
Publisher Report on cross-device user counts (including 1-Day, 7-Day, 30-Day actives) Accurately report on the number of users instead of devices
Publisher Report and understand different groups of users based on the different device combinations they use Help focus my resources and efforts on the most valuable / promising set of users
Publisher Understand the customer journey across devices by analyzing user-based reports (active users, funnels, pathing) Optimize user experience for the full customer journey across devices
Marketer Report on and understand my cross-device marketing performance (e.g., channels, campaigns, etc.) Optimize ad spend based on cross-device usage
Marketer Remarket to users across devices Offer highly relevant ads based on cross-device usage


It’s worth noting that these new reports won’t include all users and will rely on a few important factors:

“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.”

So while this isn’t quite what we’d like in terms of numbers, it’s a solid start.

Google has also given a list of unsupported features relating to Cross-Device Reporting. However, as with all beta projects, this list will slowly shrink as new functionality becomes available:

Google Analytics feature Unsupported functionality
BigQuery Export Additional data collected by Google signals is not exported to BigQuery.
Dashboards You cannot yet use data collected by Google signals in dashboards.
Custom reporting You cannot yet use data collected by Google signals in custom reports.
Custom Tables You cannot yet use data collected by Google signals in custom tables.
User-ID views You cannot yet access Google signals in User-ID views.
Segments You cannot yet apply segments to the Cross Device reports.
Intra-day hourly data processing The Cross Device reports do not yet display intra-day data.
Mobile-app properties Cross Device is not yet enabled for app properties.
Reporting API You cannot yet use data collected by Google signals in the Reporting API.

When is it available?

Soon. We’re super excited to get into these new reports and will follow up with our analysis as soon as they become available. Head over to your GA settings to see if you’ve got access. Learn how to activate Google signals.

Useful Links:

How to activate Google signals

Find out if you have access to the new reports by using this guide:

Interpreting the new data:

Handy info on using the newly created reports:

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