GA4, built on a completely new architecture, can collect more data and assist you in reaching more insights than ever before. According to Google, with six out of ten internet users purchasing on one device but continuing or finishing on another, being able to uncover the whole user interaction with your website or app across many devices is critical to so many stakeholders. Not to suggest that Google Universal couldn’t track across devices, but cross-device tracking in GA4 promises to do a better job. This also aids in ad spend optimisation and gaining a better understanding of your users’ behaviour across devices.
What Is Cross Device Tracking in Ga4?
Cross-device tracking Google Analytics tracks users’ activity across mobile, tablet, and desktop platforms. It is the monitoring of your consumers’ behaviour across numerous displays and web browsers.
What Is Cross Device Tracking in Ga4?
Google Analytics does not track users’ behaviour across devices by default. Assume a person returned to your website, but this time through a different device or web browser. In that instance, Google Analytics will report him as a new user.
This is due to the fact that the GA cookie can only exist on the device and browser where it has been configured.
Because the client ID is kept in the GA cookie, it will only exist on the device and browser where it has been configured.
As a result, GA cannot identify unique users across multiple web browsers and devices by default.
In other words, Google Analytics does not track users’ behaviour across devices by default.
That is why we must manually configure GA4 cross-device tracking. According to Google, 6 out of 10 online customers (especially in the United States) begin their purchasing experience on one device but continue or complete their shopping experience on another.
Methods Of Cross Device Tracking in GA4
The user ID is one of the identification spaces that can help you better track user behavior across cross device tracking in GA4, platforms, and sessions.
You can instruct Analytics on how to connect your IDs to individual users, resulting in more precise user counts and a much better roadmap of user behaviour on Cross platform tracking in GA4.
In contrast to the other identifying techniques, this is a custom implementation and one of the most powerful. However, this identity space is only available on websites where consumers enter data (forms, logins, etc.) such as email, name, and phone number, and a key is generated.
What about users who initiate events before logging in?
GA4 is also astute in this regard. If an event occurs prior to signing in, Analytics will use the session ID to correlate that session with the user ID provided at the time of sign-in.
2. Google Signals
What happens if people do not log in to your website and do not provide any identity information? That’s where Google Signals can come in handy. As a result, make sure you enable it.
When your users are logged in with Google in their browser and have ad customisation enabled (which, by the way, is turned on by default), Google allows you to leverage their cross-device identification graphs.
The simplicity of this reporting area is that no explicit tracking code is required (as in the case of User ID). However, not all users who travel through your website are Google users, so consider this strategy in addition to the other sorts of identifiers.
None of these identifying approaches are particularly powerful on their own, but they perform quite well together.
How to enable Google Signals:
- Navigate to your GA4 property’s admin area.
- Data Settings should be selected before Data Collection in the Property column.
- Select data collection
- Toggle the button in the upper right to turn on Google Signals.
This is the accepted technique for identifying users in cross-device tracking GA4. It only recognises electronics, not people. It is browser-based (taking its value from the client ID, thus relying on the GA cookie) or mobile-app-based identifier of a unique app installation.
Device tracking is useful for accurately tracking users, but it needs to work in conjunction with some of the other identifying techniques.
This identification space, also known as “behavioural modelling for consent mode,” is useful for users who refuse identifiers such as cookies.
More specifically, if your website or app displays a consent banner, you will lose visitors who object to their data being monitored if you do not employ this GA4 functionality.
Analytics fills in the blanks with information from other users who accept cookies (also known as observed data). This information is used to build models of the behaviour of users who refuse analytics tracking, which results in modelled data.
Working of Cross-Device Tracking Methods
You’ll have three possibilities for defining your cross-device reporting in GA4. It is worth noting that the first two possibilities are made up of a combination of all or part of the identity spaces.
This option looks for a user ID first. GA4 will check for Google Signals information if no user ID is retrieved. If no data is received from Google Signals (which is not encouraged), Analytics will proceed to hunt for a device ID. Finally, if the device ID is not accessible, GA4 employs modelling.
Simply put, GA4 looks over each identification space one by one, and if no available data is found, it continues to the next best technique.
This is the most powerful option, utilising 100% of what GA4 has to offer in terms of Cross device user tracking in GA4.
This is just the “blended” option minus the modelling identity space; however, it is still a viable option. GA4 will attempt to identify the user using his user ID. If this fails, it will begin searching for Google Signals data. If the user does not consent to ad customisation, analytics will fall back on the device ID.
In essence, as with the first alternative offered, GA4 goes through each identification space one by one until it finds one.
This is the most fundamental configuration. When this method is employed, the sole identifier used to generate cross-device reporting in GA4 is the device ID. Many did not advocate it because it is the least accurate method of tracking users.
Measuring The Customer Journey Across Multiple Platforms in GA4
Setting up Cross platform tracking in GA4 is essential:
Customers can interact with your website or marketing initiatives using a variety of devices. For example, individuals can conduct preliminary research on their mobile device and then make a purchase on their desktop computer later.
In the absence of cross-device monitoring, your GA reports may provide the following insight:
- Many users accessed your website via mobile devices but did not complete a transaction.
- Users who did make a purchase did so via desktop devices.
With this knowledge, you can totally avoid advertising on mobile devices. You may devote all of your marketing funds to advertising on desktop devices. However, this is a huge blunder that will almost certainly result in a financial loss. This is due to the increasing importance of mobile devices in customer purchasing journeys. Mobile devices are what introduce your brand and offer to potential prospects.
Without cross-device tracking, you may get the following information from your GA reports:
- You received 1000 consumers via mobile and another 1000 via desktop.
- Because they made a larger purchase, desktop consumers are more valued than mobile customers.
- You should invest more in acquiring clients through the desktop.
- With this information, you can cut your ad expenditure on mobile devices.
- You may raise your desktop marketing spend.
However, this is a huge blunder that will almost certainly result in a financial loss.
This is because you would not have gotten your 1000 clients in the first place if you hadn’t advertised on mobile devices.
And without these consumers, you would not have been able to generate an extra $200k in sales via desktop computers.
So, to gain a deeper knowledge of your cross device customer journey, you must follow their behaviors across devices and online browsers.
There is little doubt that GA4 is a significant advance over its predecessor. By adopting all of these identifying techniques, the user count in your CRM and the user count in GA4 will both tell the same narrative. And it makes no difference whether you’re a publisher, marketer, web analyst, or conversion rate expert – cross device tracking GA4 benefits everyone.