Marketing, in general, is a tough business. There are so many tools to use and data to scrounge through; it is impressive that marketers have time to be creative.  With Google Signal launched into beta last August, maybe marketers will have a little a bit more time on their hands.

One feature Google Signal brings to the table is an insight into cross-device conversion with a web site. This new feature exposes consumer conversion behavior from multiple devices. A metric which identifies Consumers who view your ad on their mobile device and then, later in the day, submit a property inquiry form while on a laptop.

When I discussed this feature with several of my Marketing Directors and CMO friends, they were surprised to learn they could have this type of information.

How can this help marketers?

Developing creative ads is a game of hypothesizing on what ads capture the consumer’s eye. We mostly use A/B split testing or data analysis to validate our experiences to create more effective ads. With cross-device conversion, we can uncover several vital insights, such as,

  • The device pathway of how consumers interact with ads and convert
  • The marketing channels consumers take as they walk through the conversion journey
  • Where to increase ad spend that is relevant and fills the top of the funnel most effectively
  • Demographic and interest associated by device and conversion

These are just a few insights, and with Cross-device conversion in beta, Google will probably launch more reports over the next year.

Next steps

There are a few things need to be set up prior to capturing cross-device conversion information.

First, goal conversions must be set up in Google Analytics. In real estate, every inquiry form for more information should have a goal conversion assigned to it. Marketers who are not capturing goal conversion on their web sites are losing valuable insights – across all dimensions and measures. See the image below…since no goal conversions are set, the report doesn’t show any device overlap!

Google Signal - Cross-device conversion without any goal conversion
Secondarily, if Google Ads (formerly Adwords) is an advertising source for the company, connect Google Analytics to share traffic and goal conversion data. Once connected, the Cost Per Click campaign’s in Google Ads are assigned a goal conversion. Google also adds the ability to view cross-device conversion reports from within Ads.

Lastly, it’s time to activate Google Signals. Turn on Google Signals by accessing the Admin section of Google Analytics. From this window, select Property | <> Tracking info | Data Collection. Turn it on and wait.

Initiate Google Signal in Google Analytics


There are several limitations to using Google Signals and Cross-device Conversions.  The first caveat is information tracked comes from Google users who have turned on Ads Personalization. This limitation probably means that information on iPhone users is going to be minimal.

The other caveat is that Google Signals is only for web assets on the laptop and mobile devices. At this time, Google doesn’t support native apps on mobile devices. I do see this as an initiative in Google Signals road map. Insights into cross-device conversions through native apps are vitally crucial as ad growth continues in this space.

A word of caution: It does take several weeks for information to show up in Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Even with these caveats, having some insight into how consumers behave on different devices is critical. We are a device agnostic society when accessing information on the Internet; whether its mobile, tablet, laptop, TV, or wearables.

Gathering some information is better than gathering no info. Let’s take the guesswork out of building creative ads that work on specific devices and determine where the marketing spend needs to focus on delivering a higher return-on-investment.


I recently turned Google Signals on for a client in a different industry. My client allowed me to implement top-down lead management, CRM, and digital marketing strategy with a suite of analysis tools for the team to make smart marketing decisions. It will be cool to see how Google Signals provides additional insight into the information they already have in their hands. More to come on this in a future article.

If you need a second set of eyes and hands to review your marketing and web analytics, give WAV Group a call. We can evaluate every aspect of ensuring the right data is captured and reported, along with actionable observations to improve the performance of conversions.

Call Victor, Marilyn, or David, and we would love to brainstorm with you.