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Make the most of AdWords’ cross-device attribution reports: here’s how

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Google AdWords / February 14, 2017

We’ve all done it: stood on the bus shopping for sparkly superhero costumes, but felt unsure whether we want to dress as Batman or Superman. Then later, you make a more informed purchase at home on your laptop. There are a gamut of reasons why it takes time to decide on the right brand, vendor, or sparkly cape. Most users shop around, or maybe they prefer to purchase at home or from a particular device.

Going even deeper down the mobile and attribution rabbit hole, AdWords has made strides with cross-device attribution reports. Not only do these reports show how your visitors engage with your ads across devices, but they enable you to optimize based on which devices drive more value along a visitor’s path.

What is cross-device attribution?

How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from? The practice of attribution involves optimizing based on a user’s path to conversion, understanding which types of ad interactions, when and where, have contributed to a conversion.

Cross device attribution tells you when a user interacted with an ad on one device, and then made a purchase on your site using another device. Once you have a solid understanding of how and where each device type contributes to your conversions, you can adjust your attribution model and device bids accordingly.

How to access your cross-device attribution reports

Log into your AdWords account, select Tools in the top nav and click on Attribution.
Then in the left hand navigation, choose Cross-Device Activity. If you don’t see this menu option in your left navigation, cross-device attribution may not be available for your account yet. Be patient.

Here you will be able to see how different devices have contributed to your conversions, going back to October 15, 2015.

How can these reports improve your ROI?

Optimize based on your Mobile Assist Ratio

The Mobile Assist Ratio in your Assisting Devices report will tell you how often your visitors clicked on a mobile ad, and then completed their purchase on another device. A Mobile Assist Ratio of 2.3 means for every one mobile conversion, 2.3 conversions were assisted by mobile devices.

The higher your Mobile Assist ratio, the more important it is to increase your mobile bid to take advantage of these mobile assisted conversions.

Adjust your attribution model based on device activity

Many AdWords advertisers are still optimizing campaigns based on last-click attribution — attributing the conversion to the last ad a customer viewed before making a purchase.

By studying your Device Paths report, you may learn that previous interactions make a valuable contribution to your campaign’s success. If this is the case, you may want to test or switch to a different attribution model. Depending on which attribution model you choose, AdWords will assign credit differently across the conversion path.

Need to get a primer on attribution models? Read our post, Let’s geek out on attribution to learn how various attribution models apply to your AdWords campaign.

The more you know, the better you perform

Taking the time to understand the subtleties a visitor’s purchase path can reveal hidden gems and open up new opportunities. With each new report and tool, AdWords is introducing new ways to learn and optimize. By learning about each new development as it comes along and incorporating it into your day to day, you may not only gain but keep your edge in what is becoming an increasingly competitive space for advertisers. What have you got to lose?

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