[GA4] Activate Google signals for Google Analytics 4 properties

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Google signals are session data from sites and apps that Google associates with users who have signed in to their Google accounts, and who have turned on Ads Personalization. This association of data with these signed-in users is used to enable cross-device remarketing, and cross-device key events export to Google Ads.

Google Analytics 4 exports event data associated with pseudonymous cookies to BigQuery. Theoretically, this can result in the same user being counted multiple times across different devices. You may see different event counts per user between Analytics and BigQuery.
If you use server-side Google Tag Manager setup, make sure to configure Google signals.

Google signals enables:

Cross Platform reporting

Connect data about devices and activities from different sessions using your User-ID so you can get an understanding of user behavior at each step of the key event process, from initial contact to key event and beyond.

Cross-device activity is tracked when you log-in to a Google account using the following:

  • iOS devices*
  • Android devices
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Chrome web browser
  • Other web browsers
  • Client apps that require a Google account
  • Other apps that require a Google account

* For iOS 14+ devices, you must use User-ID tracking for cross-device tracking.

Remarketing with Google Analytics

Create remarketing audiences from your Google Analytics data, and share those audiences with your linked advertising accounts.

When you activate Google signals, audiences that you create in Google Analytics and publish to Google Ads and other Google Marketing Platform advertising products can serve ads in Cross Device-eligible remarketing campaigns to Google users who have turned on Ads Personalization.

Advertising Reporting Features

Google Analytics collects information per your tagging configuration, as well as Google-signals data and Google advertising cookies that are present.

Learn more

Demographics and Interests

Google Analytics collects additional information about demographics and interests from device identifiers and from users who are signed in to their Google accounts and who have turned on Ads Personalization.

Learn more

If you deactivate Google signals, you can't subsequently implement these features individually. Deactivating Google signals also deactivates all these features.

Data from users who have turned on Ads Personalization

When users turn on Ads Personalization, Google is able to develop a holistic view of how those users interact with an online property from multiple browsers and multiple devices. For example, you can see how users browse products on your site from a phone, and later return to complete purchases from a tablet or laptop.

By default, Google signed-in data expires after 26 months. However, if the Analytics Data Retention setting is set to anything shorter than 26 months, the Google signed-in data will respect this shorter time frame.

The Cross Platform reports include only aggregated data. No data for individual users is ever exposed.

Data sharing with other Google products

Data collected under Google signals is not used or shared for any purpose other than to provide the Google Analytics service unless you enable Data Sharing settings or opt to link with Google products.

Use cases

As a... I would like to... So I can...
Publisher Report on cross-device user counts (including 1-Day, 7-Day, 30-Day actives) Accurately report on the number of users instead of devices
Publisher Report and understand different groups of users based on the different device combinations they use Help focus my resources and efforts on the most valuable / promising set of users
Publisher Understand the customer journey across devices by analyzing user-based reports (active users, funnels, pathing) Optimize user experience for the full customer journey across devices
Marketer Report on and understand my cross-device marketing performance (e.g., channels, campaigns, etc.) Optimize ad spend based on cross-device usage
Marketer Remarket to users across devices Offer highly relevant ads based on cross-device usage

Activate Google signals

To activate Google signals for your Google Analytics 4 property, you need the Editor role for the property.

  1. In Admin, under Data collection and modification, click Data Collection.
  2. Turn on the switch for Enable Google signals data collection.
  3. When you activate Google signals, that data is collected in all regions. If you want to choose the regions in which Google signals data is collected: If you disable collection for a region, then Analytics maintains any historical data that you've collected (per your data-retention settings) but no additional data is collected from the time of the change forward. If you disable collection of Google-signals data, you will not have access to remarketing lists based on Analytics data, advertising reporting features, or demographics and interests.
    1. In the section titled Google signals data collection is allowed in X of Y regions, click Settings.
    2. Turn the switch on or off for each region in which you want to allow or disallow collection of Google-signals data.
    3. Click Apply.

When you activate Google signals, your are subject to the policy requirements for Google Analytics Advertising Features.

If you deactivate Google signals, then remarketing is not available for the impacted regions. Downstream key event modeling and reporting in linked Google Ads and Search Ads 360 accounts is also impacted.

Your property-level ads-personalization settings

You may choose to allow for or disable ads personalization uses of Analytics data collected from users based on their country and/or region on a going-forward basis. This setting applies regardless of whether Google signals is enabled; changing the ads personalization setting does not affect the collection of data for Google signals. When ads personalization is disabled for a country and/or region, Google-signals data from users in those locations is collected for measurement purposes only and won't be used for ads personalization. Learn more about Advanced settings to allow for ads personalization.

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