Varos Glossary

Google Signals

What is Google Signals?

Google Signals is a standalone service that integrates with Google Analytics to help improve cross-device tracking and reporting. The goal of the Google Signal app is to solve the problem of misattributing sessions or conversions that involve multiple devices.

On top of cross-device traffic, Google Signals also paves the way for cookie-less tracking, which is an ongoing push for many tech companies, users, and governments. The service innovates new ways to stay aware of the same user across devices and on repeat visits without using legacy tracking methods.

However, Google Signals only works for users who have turned on ‘Ad Personalization,’ which does limit its usefulness but is necessary for data privacy compliance.

How Do You Use Google Signals?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the recent upgrade from Universal Analytics, released a number of upgrades to Analytics, and many of them are paving the way for full cookie-less tracking.

Integration with Google Signals on top of other ways to track users is one of these upgrades, allowing organizations to piece together different tracking methodologies to have an accurate understanding of all visitors. GA4 allows you to leverage three different reporting identities:

  1. User ID: This method is arguably the most accurate, but without cookies will only work with logged-in users. As such, it won’t be able to help with cross-device conversions for new customers or leads.
  2. Device ID: Similar to user ID, device ID is a challenge when cookies aren’t involved. The problem with using a device ID is that it can result in counting the same visitor multiple times if cookies are disabled, as a new ID will be generated each time.
  3. Google Signals: Signals is the answer to the problem of the above options. Data is collected without using cookies or other personal information. Signals still are not quite as accurate as cookies, but as more users block cookies, it becomes necessary to supplement that lost data with a solution like Signals.

Learning how to integrate and use Signals with your app or website is crucial as we head towards full cookie-less tracking. Take the time now to learn how to put Google Signals to work for your property.

How Do Companies Utilize Google Signals?

Google Signals data collection is designed to integrate with Google Analytics while remaining compliant with data privacy regulations. All data is anonymized before being reported to your Analytics dashboard.

So how are companies putting Google Signals to work to better understand their user base? Let’s review some of the crucial use cases that have emerged since the platform was launched.

Audience Targeting

Understanding your audience is vital for any marketing efforts, including paid ad campaigns and optimizing your site for conversions. As cookies become a thing of the past, marketers will need to pivot to new ways to track and understand audiences.

Google Signals allows you to gain insights about your visitors that would otherwise be unavailable without cookies. As a result, you can reach similar audiences with paid ad campaigns and have a better understanding of gaining repeat purchases from existing customers.

Funnel Analysis

Signals allow you to analyze cross-platform users, which equips you to better evaluate and refine your conversion funnel. With legacy methods, the same user may be lost if they change from mobile to desktop, but Signals analyzes them so you stay aware of each user.

You’ll be ready to identify friction points with a higher degree of accuracy, refine conversion funnels for cross-platform users, and ultimately increase conversions.

Budget Allocation

Accurately tracking cross-device users, or users with cookies disabled, gives you better insights into the effectiveness of various marketing channels. 

For example, if someone first discovers your brand from an Instagram ad, then visits your site again from their laptop, you’ll still understand they initially discovered you from Instagram. Without the right tracking mechanisms, you’d see them as a new ‘direct’ visitor and misattribute the conversion.

You’ll then be able to modify your budget based on accurate user tracking, investing in marketing channels that generate the most revenue.