How Your Business Can Benefit from Google’s New Cross-Device Reports

Justices Devices Post
Justice Pettigrew
November 8, 2016

The beauty of digital advertising isn’t in a great website. The beauty is in the data. (Beautifully designed landing pages or banner ads don’t hurt, though.) 

Because there are so many touchpoints involved in the advertising process, tracking this beautiful data can be difficult. Within digital advertising alone, a consumer may view a YouTube ad on their mobile phone and later click on a search ad on their laptop before finally converting. 

Tracking the conversion path can be tricky, but Google recently released three cross-device reports that help inform our data on the cross-device conversion path.  


Desktop, mobile, and tablet: We live in a digital world

As our world becomes increasingly digital, it is not uncommon for people in the U.S. to own a desktop, mobile, and tablet device.

According to Pew Research Center, 36% of Americans own all three devices and 82% of Americans own at least two of the three devices. The more devices an individual owns, the more strategic we can be in reaching them. 

In Google AdWords, we can now make bid adjustments based on mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. Optimizing based on a device report alone, however, may not give you the full picture.

According to Google, 65% of transactions start on mobile. Yet, not all transactions end on mobile. 

For example, a user may click on an ad on their smartphone during their commute home from work. They may later click on another ad on their laptop at home before finally converting. 

The conversion would be attributed to desktop, with the default conversion being attributed to the last click, even though the mobile ad may have been crucial in influencing the user’s decision to convert.


3 new cross-device reports

Thankfully, Google has released three attribution reports on the AdWords interface that allows you to account for the cross-device activity.

The new reports help inform how important each device is in the conversion process. They answer the question, “How does each device assist other devices in driving conversions?”

These reports can be found in Tools > Attribution > Cross-Device Activity.


Devices Report


The Devices Report provides an overview of the conversions in your account and the ad interaction with other devices for those conversions


Assisting Devices Report


The Assisting Devices Report gives a breakdown of how each device assisted in conversions using a device assist ratio, a ratio showing the number of assists per conversion provided by a device.


Device Paths Report



The Device Paths Report shows the order a user takes in engaging with the ad by device before converting


So how do we use these reports?

Beyond our device bid adjustments, these reports can inform our business strategy and give us insight into how users behave once they interact with ads.

We can utilize the new reports in the following ways.

Device Bid Adjustments. If mobile is heavily assisting other devices in conversion, we’d rethink lowering the bids for mobile. Even if mobile has a higher cost per conversion, it may be driving conversions for desktop or tablets. Alternatively, the cross-device reports can confirm our hunches that a device is not helpful in the path to conversion, and it might be worth testing new ads or removing them altogether for a device.

Website Optimizations. If the mobile assist ratio is low and mobile is not driving conversions, it might be worth optimizing your mobile site to drive up conversions. Are people not converting on mobile because of issues with the mobile site?

Device Ads. How long is our conversion path? Is our strategy to build brand awareness through mobile and to drive conversions through desktop? Should we be building different ads for different devices?

Understanding user behavior is imperative—and getting as much data as possible is how we can get closer to this understanding.

Whether we’re building awareness for a brand, selling a product online, or promoting a service, these new reports provide new data that allows us to make optimizations. And that’s a beautiful thing.  


Have any cross-device questions of your own? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search!

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