Google Signals is a powerful feature in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) that provides valuable insights into user behavior across multiple devices. It is a valuable tool for businesses looking to improve the customer experience, optimize their marketing campaigns, and drive more revenue. In this article, we will dive deeper into what Google Signals is and how you can use it to benefit your business.
What is Google Signals?
Google Signals is a feature in Google Analytics that uses session data from users who have signed in to their Google accounts, and who have turned on Ads Personalization. It provides insights into cross-device behaviour, which allows you to see how users interact with your website across multiple devices. With Google Signals, you can track users who log in and out of your website, allowing you to see how they behave over time and across different devices.
Once Google Signals is activated, Google will be able to anonymously use your user's data and enrich your reporting experience in GA4 by enabling, among other things:
Demographics and interests reporting
How Google Signals Works
Google Signals collects data at an aggregate level by leveraging data from multiple sources, including first-party cookies, Google accounts, and Google's ad network.
Once you have activated Google Signals, you will allow Google to collect data about your user's behaviour across different devices. This data will be used to create a unique identifier that is associated with your user's Google Account. This identifier is called a "Google Signals ID."
When a user visits your website or interacts with your ads, Google Signals collects data from their device and browser, including information about their browsing behavior, device type, and location. This data is then used to build an anonymous user profile, which is associated with the unique identifier Google Signals ID.
Google Signals also uses data from Google accounts, such as Gmail, YouTube, and Google Search, to enhance the user profile and provide additional insights into user behaviour and interests. For example, if a user is logged into their Google account while browsing your website, Google Signals can associate their website activity with their account and use this information to improve the accuracy of their user profile.
In addition, Google Signals can leverage data from Google's ad network to enhance the user profile and provide insights into cross-device behaviour. For example, if a user interacts with your ad on their mobile device and then completes a purchase on their desktop computer, Google Signals can link these activities and provide insights into the effectiveness of your cross-device advertising campaigns.
Benefits of Using Google Signals
Google Signals provides several benefits by allowing you to retrieve from your GA4 data additional insights into user behaviour that were not previously available. Here are for instance some of these benefits:
Enhanced Cross-device Tracking: Google Signals allows you to track users across multiple devices and platforms, providing a more complete picture of user behaviour and allowing you to understand the user journey better.
Improved User Demographics and Interests: Google Signals uses data from signed-in Google users to provide additional demographic and interest data. This can help you create more targeted and personalized campaigns.
Better Data Accuracy: By enabling Google Signals, you allow Google to use its vast data network to improve the accuracy of your tracking data. This can help you make more informed decisions based on reliable data.
More Advanced Advertising Features: Activating Google Signals unlocks additional advertising features, such as remarketing, cross-device remarketing, and similar audience targeting, which can help you reach more qualified users and improve your ad performance.
Notes before activating Google Signals
While Google Signals uses an aggregated approach to collect data, ensuring that personal data remains anonymous and secure, activating it in your GA4 property means enabling Google Analytics Advertising Features. This allows you to collect data from users who have enabled personalized advertising on Google's services, such as Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail, even if they have not visited your website before. As such, it is crucial to comply with Google's policy requirements for Advertising Features, which include providing appropriate privacy disclosures, obtaining user consent, and complying with data retention and deletion policies to safeguard user privacy.
In addition to protecting user privacy, it's important to consider the trade-offs between data accuracy and report performance when deciding to activate Google Signals. If you choose to activate it, be aware that thresholding may be applied to your GA4 property, which means that not all of your data will be included in the reports. Instead, a representative sample of your data will be used to estimate the behaviour of your users. Thresholding is a security measure applied by Google to ensure that the data collected via Google Signals is anonymous and cannot be used to identify individual users in cases where the amount of data is too low. Remember that by enabling Google Signals, you will start collecting data such as demographics, interests and gender.
How to Enable Google Signals
In order to enable Google Signals, you need first to have a GA4 property set up. Once you have your GA4 property set up, follow these steps:
Go to the Admin section of your GA4 property
Under the Property tab, click on the Data Settings dropdown
Click on Data Collection
In the Google Signals Data Collection section, click on the Get Started button
Once redirected to the Activate Google signals page, click on the Continue button
Finally, click on the Activate button
Once you have enabled Google Signals, you can start tracking user behaviour across multiple devices and enrich your data collection with additional data.
Google Signals is a robust feature within Google Analytics 4 that allows businesses to gain valuable insights into user behavior across multiple devices. By activating Google Signals and analyzing the resulting data, businesses can enhance the user experience, develop more precise marketing campaigns, and boost revenue. If you're looking to take your analytics to the next level, enabling Google Signals in your GA4 property may be the solution you need. However, it's important to note that you must comply with Google's Advertising Features policies and carefully consider any potential impact of thresholding before proceeding.
If you have any further questions or concerns about Google Signals, do not hesitate to reach out!