Why Should You Pay Attention to Cross-Device Conversions?

By Geena Nazareth | Aug 5, 2015
More Articles by Geena

multi-deviceConversions are the best indicator of AdWords campaign performance.  But what kind of conversions should you be tracking?  Today’s consumers possess multiple devices, including desktop computers, tablets and smart phones, that they can use to interact with a website.  When consumers decide to make a purchase, they can do so on any of their devices.  We are living in a multi-device world. In this article, I will discuss AdWords cross-device conversions and why they should not be ignored.

Multi-Device Consumers

According to Google, consumers tend to browse and perform pre-conversion research on mobile devices but are not ready to convert, whereas desktop visitors are already informed and ready to convert.  Consumers may perform micro-conversion actions, such as email sign-ups on mobile devices, but tend to ultimately perform that final conversion action on a desktop computer.  (Tip:  Your AdWords account may be experiencing this trend if there is a high percentage of desktop converters that are new users to your website.)  90% of consumers start an activity on one device and finish it on another.  This is where cross-device conversions come in.

desktop session share                                                mobile conversions

What Are Cross-Device Conversions?

Cross-device conversions occur when a user clicks on one of your AdWords ads on one device and later converts on a different device through organic search or going directly to your website.  Google measures this by observing conversions across all Google properties (e.g. Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps) from users that are signed in.  For users that aren’t signed in, Google uses an algorithm that includes country, date and landing page to determine conversions with 95% confidence.  This cross-device measurement works across all devices and, for display campaigns, can track conversions across web and app.

Why Do They Have Value?

Cross-device conversion data is much more beneficial in determining the value of your AdWords PPC efforts than view-through conversions, which occurs when a user is served your ad and does not click on it but converts in the future.  In this case, it is very difficult to determine the value of the conversion.  Yes, your ad was likely on a page the user viewed, but did their eyes land on the ad?  Maybe not.  With a cross-device conversion, not only did the user see your ad, they clicked on it.

Where Can I Find the Data?

If you are already tracking conversions, no additional setup is necessary.  You can see cross-device conversion data by adding the “est. cross-device conv.” column to your AdWords view.  Cross-device conversions are NOT included in the “conversions” column, which only includes conversions that directly resulted from your ad being clicked.  Cross-device conversions are also included in the “est. total conv.” number, along with phone call conversions and “direct” conversions.

conversion view


Cross-device conversion data can provide additional insights into the value of your ads and campaigns.  Only looking at direct conversions can oversimplify your customers’ conversion paths.  Now you can change how you measure conversions and gain the data you need to drive value.

Have you found value in tracking cross-device conversions?  Continue the conversation below or find me on Google+.

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