The New Cross Device Capabilities in Google Analytics

Google just introduced the new cross device capabilities in Google Analytics. This is a part of new feature from Google called Google Signals. Google Signals consists of cross-device reporting and remarketing capabilities. This will add another layer of insightful information every business can get from their customers. According to the official blog post from Google, this is based on aggregated data from users who have signed into one of their Google accounts and turned on Ads Personalization. The data models are based on login rates and on device type. They are customized for each Analytics view.

You can activate this new feature by going to the Admin section of your Google Analytics account and choose the setting to activate Google signals. There’s no need to change the tracking code, it’s that simple.

cross device report in google analytics

Step 1: Sign into your Google Analytics account

Step 2: Go to Property column > Tracking info > Data Collection and then click on the blue dialog

Step 3: Click through to activate Google Signals.

Now that you have successfully activated Google signals, let’s talk about how this new feature allows you to understand your customers better and how this helps to optimize your marketing campaigns. Up until now, marketers and business owners have a difficult time stitching the entire customer journey together when they are disperse across different devices. A customer may start the journey when clicking on an advertising from social media on a mobile device, then continue to do research on a iPad device, finally make the purchase on a desktop (mobile>iPad>desktop).

Up until now, each of these experiences on different devices are counted as separate sessions according to Google Analytics and this forced us to treat it as three different people with different purchase intent. Now with the new cross device tracking feature, we are able to piece together a more complete picture of the customer journey and allows you to make more informed marketing decision.

Let’s look at what cross device reports are there in Google Analytics. Note just like any other reports in GA, these reports are sampled when the date range exceeds 250k sessions.

Acquisition Device

I think this is by far the most useful report in this suite. Here you can see which device most new customers started engaging with your content and finally convert. You can then optimize your marketing spent depending on the report. You can view new users by channel and over time.

cross device acquisition report in google analytics

Device Overlap

In this report, you can view users by device and how the device overlaps. Dimensions include ‘Device Category’ and ‘Device Category and OS’. You can view users, sessions, and conversions by selected dimension.

Device overlap report in google analytics
Device Overlap report in Google Analytics

Device Paths

In this report, you can view the path users take from the device perspective. You can filter all steps in the path, steps before or after conversion. For example, [Desktop]>[Mobile] means that users engage your content first on desktop and then from a mobile device.

device path report in google analytics


In this report you can view users by channel and over time. You can view acquisition, behavior and conversion metrics and dimensions like ad content, age, campaign, gender, keyword, medium and source.

channel report in google analytics



1 thought on “The New Cross Device Capabilities in Google Analytics”

  1. Users who choose to activate Google Signals can take advantage of new advertising features that are being enhanced to better understand customers across devices.

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