Google Analytics User ID Reports – Device Overlap, Device Paths, Acquisition Device

Google Analytics allows cross device tracking through which you can get a better understanding of how users engage and convert on your website across different devices, and over the course of multiple sessions.

Google Analytics provides two sets of cross device reports.

The first set of cross-device reports are available in the standard GA reporting view to those users who have activated Google Signals for their property:

The second set of cross-device reports are available in the ‘User ID’ view. Once you have set up User ID in your Google Analytics property, you can then access cross-device reports via the User ID view:

So you can now take advantage of two different sets of cross-device tracking reports in GA:

Difference Between Cross-Device Reports for User ID View and Non-User ID view

#1 The cross-device reports in user ID view collect and report on cross-device data related to the logged in users of your website.

Whereas, the cross-device reports in the non-user ID view (standard view) collect and report on cross-device data related to those website users who have signed in to one of their Google accounts and who have turned on ads personalization.

#2 The cross-device reports in user ID view do not report on cross-device data related to those website users who have signed in to one of their Google accounts and who have turned on ads personalization.

Similarly, the cross-device reports in non-user ID view do not report on cross-device data related to the logged in users of your website. 

#3 You can apply segments to cross-device reports in user ID view. This is something which is not possible with cross-device reports in non-user ID view.

#4 The cross-device reports in non-user ID view are still in beta. This is not the case with cross-device reports in user ID view.

 

Types of Cross-Device Reports in the User ID View

There are three types of cross-device reports available in Google Analytics for the user ID view:

  1. Device Overlap report
  2. Device Paths report
  3. Acquisition Device report

#1 Device Overlap Report

#1 The device overlap report uses a Venn diagram to visualize the percentage of users who used one or multiple devices. This diagram can display a maximum of three device categories (desktop, mobile, and tablet) at a time.

#2 Each coloured rectangle represents a device category and the bigger the overlap between rectangles, the more users interacted with your website via multiple devices. On the contrary, if you do not see any overlap then it means, users are not interacting with your website via multiple devices.

#3  You can apply segments (both default and custom) to this report for deeper analysis. Each segment appears as a separate Venn diagram which makes data visualization much better:

#4 Through the device overlap report you can:

  1. Determine the device or combination of devices (desktop, mobile and tablet) used by your users to engage with your website.
  2. Segment users by device type and compare revenue and user transaction rate.

Note: User transaction rate is the number of users who made a transaction divided by the total number of users.

So if users who used both desktop and mobile devices are converting more than the users who used only desktop and the users who only used mobile devices then it is wise to advertise/optimize on both mobile and desktop devices and not give preference to any one device.

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#2 Device Paths Report

A device path is an order in which users used different devices (desktop, mobile, Tablet) to engage with your website and to convert.

By default the ‘Device Path’ report shows the last 10 device interactions with at least 1 transition (a transition is a switch from one device to another, not to be confused with the similar word ‘transaction’), under the column ‘Steps in path‘:

The device path in the 3rd row shows the transition from a desktop device to a mobile device.

The device path in the 5th row shows a transition from a mobile device to a desktop device.

The device path in the 6th row shows a transition from a mobile device to a desktop device and then back to a mobile device.

That’s how you can read this report.

The concept of a device path is quite similar to the concept of ‘Conversion Paths’ in multi-channel funnel reports.

You can see up to the last 50 device interactions (with at least one transition) in the Device Path report. To do this follow the steps below:

Step-1: Click on the ‘Path Options’ link in the ‘Device Path Report:

Step-2: Click on the drop-down menu under the text ‘Minimum steps to show in a path’, select 50, and then click on the ‘Apply’ button.

Through ‘Path options’ settings, you can also look at the device paths before and after:

  • Any Goal completion.
  • Any transaction
  • Event Action
  • Event Category
  • Event Label
  • Page Path

To look at the device paths before/after, click on the drop-down menu under the section ‘Adjust the path options‘;

Then click on either the ‘Show steps before…‘ link or ‘Show steps after…‘ link.  If you clicked on ‘Show steps before…’ link, it will show another drop-down menu next to it:

From the second drop menu you can select any action like ‘Any goal completion’, ‘Any transaction’ etc:

#3 Acquisition Device Report

Through the Acquisition Device report, you can determine whether a user converted on the originating device or on some other device.

When the first time a user is assigned a user id, the very first device (desktop, tablet or mobile) he used to interact with your website is known as the ‘originating device’.

The originating device is also known as the acquisition device as this is the device through which you first acquired a user.

The ‘Acquisition Device’ report has got two metrics which are worth explaining:

  1. Revenue from originating device
  2. Revenue from other devices

If people are visiting your website for the first time via display ads on desktop and also making their purchase via the desktop then through ‘Revenue from originating device’ column of the Acquisition Device report, you know that your desktop advertising dollars are working for your business.

On the other hand, if people are visiting your website for the first time via PPC ads on smartphones but returning to the website via desktop to convert then through Revenue from other devices’ column of the Acquisition Device report, you know that your mobile advertising dollars have not gone to waste.

Related Article: Google Analytics User ID Explained

   

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