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How can Google Signals positively affect advertisers?

Google Analytics is a website analytical and performance measurement platform that allows you to monitor website usability. It also has some cool features such as audience profiling and performance segmentation by channel or device.

What are Google Signals?
Recently, Google Analytics released a new feature called Google Signals. Signals allow advertisers to enrich their Google Analytics data by acquiring additional user-level information about people who have visited their website. The reporting feature this unlocks is cross-device data, which can be used to create granular retargeting audiences and create more relevant look-a-like prospecting audiences.

Historically Google would gather this data by analysing people who are logged into a Google Account (such as Gmail) across multiple devices, they would use this sample to make assumptions about how your users move from one device to the next. This made assumptions about how media performance should be attributed at a device level for more informed media planning. But now Google is starting to record how people are engaging with other websites across their network from one device to the next.

For example – if someone is profiled a fashionista on a desktop, they may be a technophile on mobile, so why target the same audiences across all devices and hope for the best when you can make your audiences even more granular?

How is this possible since GDPR?
Since GDPR, cross-device data has become harder to collect. Now, in order to receive any customer-based information the user must ‘opt-in’, giving Google (or anyone for that matter) explicit permission to do so. For this reason, Google decided to change tact and launch Google Ads Personalisation.

This is a feature in every single user’s Google account, which gives Google permission to collect information about the user to help refine the ad content they receive. This feature has to be activated by a user before their information can be collected for Google Signals. It is similar to a cookie consent you would see on most websites since GDPR. No data for individual users is ever exposed, it only reports in aggregate, so there are no GDPR issues. The retention of data is limited to 26 months unless you have set your data retention setting to less, in which case that is respected.

All Response Media viewpoint
Cross-device tracking has always been the holy grail in the world of media, yet it is one of the few things that is hard to report against accurately. Any momentum that Google can pick up in this space is always a blessing as they have a wealth of customer/user data to ensure that the sample data used is as robust as possible, making the assumptions more accurate in the long run.

Google Signals do not use any assumptive data. Someone can only be profiled with different cross-device interests or behaviours if they have opted-in, making the sample 100% reliable.

By creating granular audiences based on the potential performance of users on a specific device, we can ensure that we are targeting people with the correct ad content, on the correct websites and at the most relevant part of the consideration cycle. Having this data available will certainly lead to increased conversions rates and a more considered approach to media planning in future.

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