by Doug


Google Analytics

Cross Device Capabilities – New Google Analytics Feature unboxing

I’ve just got back from a week away on holiday. I’m refreshed and excited to get cracking again.  Here’s one of the many reasons why:

Having been away, this is brand new to me so I’m going to take a look at the new functionality right now. What follows is a raw “unboxing” of a new feature!

What is it?

At ConversionWorks we’ve used the User ID view device graph a lot. This GA functionality uses the User ID to join sessions across devices. This is very sensible – sessions don’t transact with your site, users do. This means we have tools that help us better understand logged in user behaviour. Users have this wonderful quality of visiting your site multiple times, probably using different devices before logging in or registering and transacting though.  Now we have the ability to see a device graph for all users at an aggregated and anonymized [sic] level as confirmed by Google:

Our Cross Device reports only display aggregated and anonymized data from people who have opted in to personalized advertising (as always users can opt out at any time).

Where is it?

Hmm – I have to hunt around to find a client who’s got it.  You might have to wait to see it but check in the Audience report, currently just after “Mobile”:

The BETA flag normally indicates there’s more to come. This is an unboxing so details may change in the tool and this post may be subject to updates over time.

Device Overlap

Trying Device Overlap first.  Takes a wee while to spin up.  No ability to change the segment as yet but I expect that’ll change.

The new date picker is a solid improvement. Like this:

The Venn diagram looks like boardroom pleasing stuff, hover to see the overlaps and so on… Something we might see in Data Studio perhaps?

Dig deeper to find more useful and actionable data. The table underneath gives you solid metrics showing not only the user volumes but also the value to the business broken down by device mix:

You understand the need to redact the data to maintain client confidentiality but I can tell you the highest ecommerce conversion rate was for Desktop + Mobile. The Revenue per User number is astonishing.  We might see here that users who visit multiple times using a mix of devices have a strong intent to interact and hopefully transact – yes, Transactions per User (TpU) is a key signal.

Device Paths

Next report – takes a while to load again.  I expect this will MCF for the device graph.  Ah, it’s loaded….worth the wait for sure – it’s more than MCF!

First, we start to see engagement metrics such as session duration. Will this non-transaction metric list expand (pages/session and so on)?  The same ecom metrics are available by scrolling the table – I think I’d prefer a tabbed approach as the metrics list expands – fine for now though:

The table dimension starts with Device Category. See how the device paths are analogous to MCF channels?  There’s more:

Yes, like this. Kinda like secondary dimensions but only including the ones that are useful/sensible.  This drop down starts to explain the real value in this functionality – where do you put your ad budget? Mobile first? Desktop?  Consider the example given by Google in their post:

Say you’re a marketer for a travel company. With the new Acquisition Device report, you may find that a lot of your customers first come to your website on mobile to do their initial research before booking a trip later on desktop. Based on that insight, you might choose to prioritize mobile ad campaigns to reach people as they start to plan their trip.

This is interesting. Check out the inviting drop down near the Path Options:

Let’s play! We can tweak the device paths to show steps before or after:

No doubt regex support is in the works for these options.

Looks like decent data volumes are needed for this report to work though:


Slightly annoying the “Sorry blah blah…” box persists after switching to a new report. No sweat, keep calm and carry on.

Okay, pretty graph at the top – feels like MCF again. Scroll down, there’s more. ABC (Acquisition, Behaviour, Conversion) metrics by Channel:

We can change from Channel to the usual source, medium, campaign, Ad, keyword options. See the “+” next to the Default Channel Grouping?  Clicking the plus drops in device category. From there you can add whatever dimensionality you desire – nice:


Acquisition Device

As mentioned, User ID views are great for existing customers – those who’ve registered, logged in and then used the site.  What about the users who are new customers though? This is a powerful concept for audience building and getting the the most effective message to potential new customers.

With the Acquisition Device (AD) report, we can see the value derived from the Originating Device as well as from Other Devices:

The existing User ID AD report docs are worth a read to go deeper into the meaning and value of acquisition devices.

You can look at goal performance by acquisition device rather than ecom metrics as well as introducing secondary dimensions via the handy drop down:

Summary and Conclusion

It’s good to be back! This is exciting stuff.  Dare I suggest this is adding more value than the original User ID functionality? For many users, yes, it will. I have media clients who operate on a subscription business model. User ID only solved for existing users and retention. Now we can see the device graph for the acquisition side of the business.  Good.

There’s more to come here for sure.  Happy days.


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