HomeBlogGoogle Makes Strides in Tracking Cross-Device Conversions Across the Web

Google Makes Strides in Tracking Cross-Device Conversions Across the Web

Author: Margot Whitney
Last Updated: November 12, 2022 | Conversion Rates

Life isn’t lived in years or days or even hours, it’s lived in moments.

New-day-new-start moments

Time-for-a-new-one moments

I-can-totally-fix-this moments

Seize-the-snow-day moments

Cross-device image from Google's micro-moments video of a father holding his baby in a micro-moment

Seriously Google? This is too cute.

Google’s new marketing buzzword? “Micro-moments.” We’ve been hearing it time and time again since early Spring and I must admit, Google’s done a phenomenal job at promoting this idea of measuring these mini decision-making moments, and for good reason. Take a second to think about your life and how you interact with your devices on a daily basis. Whilst watching TV at night are you simultaneously looking at something up on your phone? Perhaps, shopping for a fire pit for Fourth of July on your laptop? Do you ever find yourself in a store aisle reading reviews on your iPhone? Well, you’re not alone: 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store, according to Google.

90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. Living in a multi-device world where our phones have essentially become another limb, it’s clear that these “micro-moments” do indeed happen all the time.

What is cross-device measurement?

Cross-device measurements gives marketers estimated conversion data to show an advertiser how a conversion occurred over time when someone clicks on an ad on one device, perhaps visits a store or makes a call, but completes a transaction on another device. “Estimated total conversions will provide you with a holistic view of all the conversions driven by your Google search advertising that can be used to make important decisions like how much to bid and how to assign budget across your various marketing channels,” Google said when they announcemed the new feature in October of 2013. We’ve come a long way since then, and with DoubleClick marketers will now be able to get an even clearer picture of a shopper’s cross-device path to conversion.

So, what’s new?

Google’s identified that there needs to a better way to attribute these moments to help marketers make more informed decisions, which is why on Wednesday Google’s DoubleClick announced they are now going to provide marketers with cross-device measurement to all of their campaigns across the web. For the past two years Google’s been working to better attribute cross-device conversions in AdWords, and results have been noteworthy. Marketers have reported seeing a 16% increase in conversions after making changes from cross-screen journey insights, according to DoubleClick.

double click cross device conversions

Now, cross-device measurement will be tracked across all DoubleClick advertiser products. “Marketers can measure conversions that start as a click on one device and end with a conversion on another for all their campaigns across the web, not just with the ads they buy from Google,” says DoubleClick.

This is exciting stuff!

How are these cross-device conversions determined?

Of course, advertisers are skeptical on the accuracy of this data, as they should be. How exactly is Google determining these estimated total conversions and attributing various devices to steps along the conversion road? Cross-device conversions are estimated based off “aggregated, anonymized data,” which is collected from a set of users that have previously signed-in to Google services. Google’s algorithm uses a number of signals such as country, conversion type, date, landing page, and devices used for all other traffic that isn’t signed in. The data is used to represent a broader population only if it reaches “strict, highly conservative confidence level,” according to Google.

I know, I know, it sounds somewhat un-trustworthy right? But I do believe the data Google is acquiring is fairly accurate because it’s clear that the advertisers who have used it for optimization purposes are seeing results. At SMX Advanced Google’s VP of Product, Jerry Dischler, tackled some tough questions surrounding the accuracy of cross-device data. “We take very large user populations and then take very conservative forecasts,” says Dischler. “If you don’t like the word ‘estimated,’ you can ignore the data, you can test it out, or you can accept it 100%. We think it’s safe to accept the data 100%.”

How do I set up and track cross-device conversions in AdWords?

Luckily, if you’re already tracking conversions (which you should be) then no additional set-up is needed. Cross-device conversions will appear in the estimated total conversions column when a statistically significant amount of data is collected.

Cross-device screenshot from AdWords showing estimated total conversion column

To learn more check out Google’s help center.

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Meet The Author

Margot Whitney

Margot is a content marketing specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking.

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