Cross-Device Conversion Tracking Announced by Google

Nowadays the majority of online marketers has started investing money in campaigns, which are specifically targeted for mobile customers. Especially then it comes to Pay-Per-Click Advertising. Mobile campaigns are similar to the ones you can see on your desktop computer, but tailored to a more mobile and flexible audience.

But what happens when you try to calculate your Return On Investment (ROI) from all your mobile advertising campaigns? The main challenge for advertisers is that many users who click on a mobile ad just do research on the advertised product, without actually buying it.

A recent study by Monetate showed that mobile conversion rates are generally lower than the ones from non-mobile devices (laptops, desktop computers).

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Why Cross-Device Conversion Tracking Is So Important

How can you determine if mobile consumers researched the product/service on their mobile devices and then returned to the website to purchase it? How could marketers justify their mobile advertising spend? This is where cross-device conversion tracking comes in.

Not so long ago Google has announced a new AdWords feature “Enhanced Campaigns“, which allows advertisers to target mobile and desktop users separately from a single campaign, making the ads more relevant to the customer.

The new feature will give advertisers the opportunity to see if the customers have interacted with the ad through different devices, making it possible to account assisted advertising revenue to the mobile channel, given that the customer is logged-in to his/her Google account.

Customers can convert through a web site, purchase over the phone, download an app or start researching on one device and complete an action or purchase on another. Enhanced campaigns will continue to bring you advanced reporting and new features to help you to better measure the return on your marketing investment across devices. – Google.

The cross-device tracking feature should be added to Enhanced Campaigns within the next 3-4 months.

What It Means For Mobile Marketers & Advertisers

In the past it was very difficult for advertisers and mobile marketers to justify their mobile ad spend. Many clients didn’t want to invest in mobile advertising due to low conversion rares and low ROI, which made the mobile channel less attractive to invest in.

Thanks to the new feature, marketers will be able to show a new range of cross-device assisted conversions, making mobile advertising look better for companies.

We can expect mobile advertising budgets to increase and more companies to enter the mobile advertising market. This would, of course, lead to higher competition, hence higher mobile CPC’s.

What do you think will change with cross-device conversion tracking being launched?

  1. Iwein Dekoninck says

    Will you be able to track customers across multiple devices, or will you be able to track campaigns across multiple devices? I read the Google announcement to say the latter while you seem to indicate the former. If the former, I’d love to learn more about it.

    1. DanielBulygin says

      Google’s statement isn’t very clear on this. As far as I know, if your customers’ first contact is your campaign (on any device) you will be able to track them across devices and campaigns. It is likely that you will see everything in the “Multi-Channel Conversions” tab. We will keep you updated as soon as we’ll receive more information.

      1. Iwein Dekoninck says

        Interesting. I wonder how they will do that? Presumably they’d have to do it either on login or on IP address. Cookies won’t work across devices, so they’re out.

        1. DanielBulygin says

          You are completely right. Google will use the individuals’ Google accounts to track conversions across devices.
          With a lot of people using Android smartphones and Google Chrome as their main PC browser there might be a big “trackable” target audience, because most of the people are logged-in to their accounts when using Google services.

          1. Iwein Dekoninck says

            Yes, there is a large trackable target audience, but equally, there’s a large audience that is not logged in. As a rough guide, we can probably take the percentage of visits starting from “(not provided)” keywords in organic traffic as the percentage of people that browse logged in. While (not provided) is a growing problem, we are seeing many sites where it is significantly below 50%.

  2. Mark Palony says

    Interesting development. It sounds like Google is associating cookies with a specific Google account and using that relationship to track across devices based on the account. It’s a step in the right direction but the limiting factors are A) the user has to have a Google account and B) without the cookie there is no tracking.

    1. DanielBulygin says

      You are absolutely right.
      However, more and more users are signing-up for Google accounts. If you are an online marketer you will see it from the rising percentage of your “(not provided)” organics. All those visitors have a Google account. In out case the share of unknown-keyword visits is close to 70%.

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