As digital marketing continues to evolve, so too does demand for more accountable, accurate measurement tools which reflect the true usage behaviors of modern consumers, in order to better target your campaigns.
Over time, digital marketers have relied on semi-indicative measures like 'last click attribution', metrics which show a part of the buying journey, but not all of it, giving an incomplete representation of your digital efforts.
Here's an example, as provided by Google:
"A customer finds your site by clicking one of your AdWords ads. She returns a week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back a third time via one of your email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns again directly and makes a purchase. In the Last Interaction attribution model, the final touchpoint - in this case, the Direct channel - would receive 100% of the credit for the sale."
That's clearly not an accurate representation of the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts - and this is especially true in the modern, mobile-driven era, where people, more often than not, look things up on multiple devices before finally making a purchase.
Google's seeking to address this challenge in various ways, but its latest announcement on this front revolves around Google Analytics, which will now be able to better track how users come to your website via "Cross Device" reporting.
As explained by Google:
"Cross Device reporting in Analytics takes into account people who visit your website multiple times from different devices. Now, instead of seeing metrics in Analytics that show two separate sessions (e.g., one on desktop and the other on mobile), you’ll be able to see when users visited your website from two different devices. By understanding these device interactions as part of a broader customer experience, you can make more informed product and marketing decisions."
The option will help marketers better understand audience behavior, which will then inform their subsequent ad spend and focus.
"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."
The option is just one of the new cross-device tools Google's looking to add in - others include "Device Overlap", "Device Paths" and "Channels", more specific streams which highlight exactly how people are coming to across to your website, adding significantly more transparency to the process.
As noted, with digital marketing playing a bigger role in modern business, brands are also looking for more accurate data tools to measure their performance, and target their ad spend. All platform are working on this, and Google - especially through Analytics - is in prime position to lead industry trends in this regard.
Cross Device data is a great step, and worth checking out for your digital properties.
To use the new Cross Device features in Google Analytics, head to the Admin section of your Analytics account and choose the setting to activate Google signals (this may not be available as yet, but Google says its coming to all users in the coming weeks).