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About cross-device attribution

Cross-device attribution reports show you not only when customers interact with multiple ads before completing a conversion, but also when they do so on multiple devices. This gives you valuable insight into how your customers use different devices on their path to conversion.

In this article, we’ll explain how cross-device attribution can help you better understand your ad performance. We’ll also go over the specific insights you can gain from each report.

How it works

Attribution reports show you the paths customers take to complete a conversion, and attribute the conversion to different ad clicks and ad impressions along the way. Cross-device conversions show you when a customer interacted with an ad on one device and then completed a conversion on another device.

Cross-device attribution reports combine these two tools to give you even more insight into how people interact with your ads: these reports show you when a customer’s path to conversion includes clicks or impressions on ads on multiple devices.

Cross-device attribution reports give you more detailed information about how your advertising affects your goals, and allow you to make informed decisions on how to adjust your campaigns to optimize for those goals. For example, if you learn that a campaign receives many mobile assist clicks, you may want to increase your mobile bid adjustment for that campaign to potentially get even more clicks that assist conversions.

Data in these reports goes back to October 1, 2015.

Example

Ellen owns an electronics store, and uses conversion tracking to track online orders. When she segments her conversion data by device, it at first appears that most of her sales result from clicks on desktop computers.

However, when Ellen looks at cross-device attribution reports, she finds that while the last click before a conversion is often on a desktop, there are also many people who click her ads on a mobile phone or tablet before the last click. These mobile clicks are often on ads with upper funnel keywords, so it seems people click these ads early in their path to a purchase. This makes sense to Ellen: she knows from personal experience that she often researches a product on her phone, and then makes the purchase on her desktop computer.

Now that she has this information, Ellen increases her mobile bid adjustments to bid more on the ads that result in these mobile assist clicks.

Note: Google Analytics conversion actions

For Google Analytics conversion actions, the Cross-Device Activity reports can only show data for conversions where there was an ad click on the same device as the conversion device. The reports cannot show cross-device activity for conversions where there was no ad click on the conversion device.

A guide to the reports

The Devices report

The Devices report shows you the number of conversions that happened on each device broken down by the device where the ad interaction happened. This report allows you to quickly see how important cross-device activity is for your account.

At the top of the table, you’ll see the number of conversions with cross-device activity, the total number of conversions, and the percent of conversions that included cross-device activity. Below this, you’ll see a table that lists the conversion device for each kind of device where the ad interaction happened.

Note that this table only includes conversions which involved multiple devices. And if a conversion was assisted by more than 1 device, only 1 conversion will be counted in the number of "Conversions with Cross-Device Activity." For this reason, the number of "Conversions with Cross-Device Activity" may be lower than the sum of all values in the main table.

The Assisting Devices report

The Assisting Devices report gives the number of last click conversions and click-assisted conversions for each type of device. It also gives you the ratio of click-assisted conversions to last click conversions for each device.

This report is available for all levels of granularity: account, campaign, ad group, and keyword.

To provide a full view of device performance across the conversion path, all assisting devices are counted in this table (even if the conversion happened on the same device).

Tip: The Mobile Assist Ratio

The key metric for your business is likely the "Mobile Assist Ratio." This tells you how often your mobile ads assisted conversions that were completed on other devices. For example, a mobile assist ratio of 3.72 means that for every conversion on a mobile device, 3.72 conversions on other devices were assisted by a mobile device.

You can use the mobile assist ratio to adjust mobile bid adjustments to take the cross-device impact of your mobile ads into account.

The Device Paths report 

This report shows a breakdown of the number of conversions by the path between devices, such as from mobile to desktop or desktop to tablet. This allows you to examine the order in which people typically use different devices before they complete a conversion.

Note that only transitions between devices are counted in this table.

Note: Conversion Scope

For each cross-device attribution report, you can see data for “Conversions” or “All conversions.” “All conversions” is the default. To see data for “Conversions,” click the drop-down under “Conversion Scope”

How to find your cross-device attribution reports

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Tools tab.
  3. Select Attribution.
  4. In the menu on the left, click on Cross-Device Activity, and then click on the report you want to see.
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