The Growing Importance of Cross-Device Conversions

The percentage of conversions across devices continues to grow. Is your company or agency attributing these properly? If not, you could be missing out on valuable data insights. Updating conversion settings to account for these cross-device conversions, which are happening in every account, is vital for measuring and attribution.

What is a cross-device conversion?

Implementing cross-device conversion tracking will allow you to accurately measure conversions if someone clicks your ad from one device, a smartphone, for example, but then ultimately converts by a different medium (organic, direct, etc.) from a different device, such as a laptop. While this may sound difficult, if a user is logged in on both devices, it is fairly easy to attribute this properly.

Here’s an example of where cross-device conversion tracking could come in handy:

You own a furniture store and are utilizing paid search advertising for your company. A customer has been thinking about purchasing a love seat. In the morning, the customer searches from their desktop on Google “love seat furniture store” and sees your ad. The customer clicks but eventually bounced because he/she didn’t have time to complete the purchase. Later that evening, the same customer comes back to the site organically from their mobile phone and completes the purchase. As long as the AdWords conversion code is on the Thank You page that the user ended up on, AdWords will register this as a cross-device conversion.

Are cross-device conversions common?

Cross-device conversions are becoming much more common as the market shift towards a mobile-first customer base. This article from Google provides a little more context. In general, though, there has been a positive percentage change in cross-device conversions looking at the same time period year-over-year.

Unfortunately, cross-device conversions have been under-utilized because this is not a default setting in the AdWords interface. Once advertisers are educated about the importance of setting this up, though, there really is no reason not to make this switch. Luckily, making this switch only takes a few minutes. You can find the step-by-step breakdown below.

How do I set up cross-device conversion tracking?

Follow these simple steps below steps below in the AdWords interface and gain access to accurate attribution and measurement:

  • Go to Tools –> Conversions, at the top of the account.

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  • On the left side of the screen, click on Settings.

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  • If the Conversion Bid Metric says “Converted Clicks”, change the Conversion Bid Metric to Conversions

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  • Check the second box to Include cross-device conversions in your “Conversions” column.

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  • Click Save.

If you have been previously reporting on “converted clicks” make sure you adjust your columns in the interface to now look at “conversions” moving forward.

Why should you care?

To put it simply, cross-device conversions impact your bottom line.

Ultimately, this tracking helps you better attribute how often sales/leads are occurring across multiple devices, and can highlight the additional value of having a strong mobile presence for your campaigns. It can also help you tweak your strategies and, therefore, increase the success of your paid efforts. For example, if there’s high cross-device conversion activity, you may be enticed to increase efforts on mobile, which can net more sales/leads.

If you were only tracking “converted clicks” and did not opt into cross-device conversion tracking as mentioned above you would be missing out on tracking this conversion completely.

It’s important to note that the cross-device conversions will be rolled up into your “conversions” column total, but the separate cross-device conversion column will highlight how many of those conversions occurred across multiple devices. Then, you can see these cross-device conversions at the campaign, ad group, keyword or ad extension level.


You should opt into cross-device conversion tracking sooner rather than later in order to accurately measure all your conversions. The change takes about 2 minutes to implement and is well worth your while. Have you tried this yet? If so, what results are you seeing? Feel free to leave your comments below.


Did you like this post?  Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Maximizing Reach: Get the Most from Bing Shopping to discover how to profitably capture demand by diversifying your Bing and Google shopping strategies.

About Ben Goldman

Ben Goldman is a Senior Online Advertising Specialist for Fathom's Healthcare Team. He specializes in paid search and display. Ben oversees the day-to-day management of his accounts, proactively coming up with new strategies. Ben is passionate about exceeding client goals. He really cares about his clients and will do whatever it takes to solve their problems. In his spare time, Ben enjoys spending time with family and playing sports.

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