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Improve the accuracy of your Website Visitor tracking

11 Sep 2018

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New cross-device tracking Feature ‘Signals’ is now live within Google Analytics.

Signals allows you to more accurately identify the same user that uses your Website from separate devices. This will allow you to avoid double counting those users, offering much cleaner and more accurate attribution and analysis.

When you’re planning a holiday, are you one of these people who sits down with Pro Plus and a can of Red Bull (other energy supplements and beverages are available) in front of your Desktop and trawl through various travel sites until you’ve booked five nights in Alicante, ten minutes from the beach and five minutes from a local tourist shop? Or do you get a seed of a holiday idea, do a bit of phone research when you’re on the bus, completely forget about it, then two months later revisit the same sites with the intention to book something? I’m definitely the latter.

What does this mean for Website owners and Marketeers who use Google Analytics? If you’re a researcher/booker like me, you appear to be two different visitors to the site owner – one when you originally looked at the site on your phone and then another when you returned later on your desktop.

This might appear to be a good thing for the heads of the business. “We had 200,000 unique visitors this month! Crack open the Champagne!”

Now you get the idea. Four “Unique Visitors” could be one person looking at your site in different places. Wouldn’t it be better to understand the behaviour of this one person across many devices and get a real picture of how your site is performing? Google Analytics’ new embedded feature, Signals, claims to be able to help us with all of this. It will also be brilliant for remarketing as you can target visitors across multiple devices. I’ll focus more on the reporting side of things in this case.

There was previously a cross-device reporting feature within Google Analytics but it had relied on Visitors being logged into your site on various devices to identify them. Nice attempt but in practice impractical as some sites don’t allow visitors to log in. This new feature uses the Google login facility to allow ‘Signals’ to be sent from various devices. If you are logged in on YouTube, Gmail or (extremely unlikely) Google+ on your device then you’ll send out these ‘Signals’.

Let’s look at an example journey of a logged in visitor:

  1.  Jim, sitting on the bus at traffic, searches for ‘holidays in Spain’ and gets shown a PPC Ad for He clicks on it, finds a few nice places to consider, emails himself the links. He gets off the bus, remembers he forgot his umbrella, swears and completely forgets about holiday booking (for now).
  2. Jim hears about other people’s holidays and gets jealous, he goes home to book a holiday in defiance. He sits down with his laptop and opens his emails to find the links and clicks through to site. Books the hotel and feels smug albeit slightly poorer. He emails himself some more articles from the site with Hotel details.
  3. He goes on holiday, listens to too much loud music on the flight and drains his phone battery. Borrows his friend’s phone to find out where they are supposed to go. Logs into emails in incognito mode to find the Hotel links and clicks through to site.
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