Google will soon offer the ability to see how users begin searching on one device but complete a purchase on another, or cross-device conversion, provided they are signed into their Google accounts.
The tracking capability is scheduled to be rolled out as part of the AdWords Enhanced Campaigns update, the most fundamental upgrade to its service since its inception but was not available at launch.
It is understood this will require using the search giant’s AdWords tracking pixel or Google Analytics tools meaning users’ purchase journeys can be tracked across devices provided they are signed into their Google accounts.
Google was unable to provide a direct comment on the reports by time of publication although a spokesman for the company did confirm that cross-device conversion tracking will not be available as part of the initial Enhanced Campaigns launch. Although the website explaining the launch of the AdWords update hints further upgrades are in the pipeline.
“Enhanced campaigns will continue to bring you advanced reporting and new features to help you better measure the return on your marketing investment across devices,” it reads.
Sources close to the matter, maintain they have spoken with Google about the eventual introduction of such a service with most noting that such an insight into the service was key to providing insight to user behaviour.
Berian Reed, head of search marketing and online partnerships at Auto Trader publisher Trader Media Group, says such an insight would help improve its conversion attribution model.
“At the moment it’s hard to tell whether people are starting their journey on a mobile or another device,” he says.
“This means we have to invest a lot in trying to merge our datasets and make some assumptions,” adds Reed.
Meanwhile Ben Wood, managing director of search specialist agency iProspect, says: “This is definitely welcome from an agency perspective as the customer journey is so complex and this gives us the ability to understand consumer journeys in a way we haven’t done before.”
The reports come as search specialist Marin Software published a report today claiming UK smartphone penetration sits at 58 per cent with one in five people currently owning a tablet device with only 37 per cent of people now using a desktop as their most frequent means of accessing the internet.
The survey also found that paid search clicks on mobile devices leaped 65 per cent annually in 2012 with UK advertisers increasing their budgets for such clicks by 94 per cent on average during the same period.
This resulted in increased competition for inventory with the average cost per click (CPC) rates for tablet devices increasing 26 per cent and the average CPC rate for smartphones increasing 24 per cent during the same time.
Jon Myers, Marin Software’s EMEA commercial director, says: “In no uncertain terms, the age of desk-top dominance in the paid-search advertising is coming to an end.
“A high user involvement combined with favorable performance characteristics make search ads on tablets hard to resist for advertisers.
“We expect search ads on tablets alone will be a multi-billion pound market in 2013 as advertisers battle for the attention of tablet users.”