What Are Google Signals and Why Should You Use Them?

Digital MarketingSEO
By Michael Angel | February 28, 2024 | 4 min read Reviewed By Bryan Phelps

Google Signals are an integration for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) that can help you gather valuable data about people’s online activities. Let’s take a look at Google Signals’ features, how to turn them on (and whether you should or not), and how they can benefit your SEO marketing efforts.

What Are Google Signals and GA4?

First things first: GA4 provides you with advanced insights into your website’s performance. With GA4, you can gather valuable data about users’ online behavior so you can optimize your marketing strategy to align with people’s interests and preferences.

Now, we can talk about signals. 

Google Signals is an analytics feature you can activate inside GA4 that collects session data from websites and mobile apps associated with users who are logged in to their Google accounts

Google Signals only tracks users who choose to enable Ads Personalization.

When Google Signals populate user demographics in GA4, this includes the following data from every user:

  • Location
  • Search history
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Country
  • Language

What’s So Special About Google Signals?

Signals enhance the cross-device tracking metrics data you’re able to collect. In this case, you can measure the total number of users—instead of devices.

“Enabling Google Signals allows for cross-platform reporting, remarketing, and advertising reporting features. This will help you understand how users interact with your website across multiple devices and sessions.” -Emma Franklin, Digital Marketing Specialist at Big Leap. 

Why does this matter, you ask? Because it gives you a much better picture of your website traffic based on the user. 

Imagine you have someone who’s been watching an expensive product in your store for a while. It’s on their dream list, so sometimes they visit your site at home on their laptop, and other times they gaze longingly at the product page on their mobile phone during long subway commutes. 

With Google Signals, you can follow the story that unfolds about that user’s interaction as they shift from one device to another. Get it?

What Are the Key Benefits of Turning On Google Signals in GA4?

Google Signals are great for remarketing campaigns because now you can associate that long-term search history with more than one device. You can optimize your ad campaigns based on a purer analysis of user interests, preferences, and general online behavior. 

This helps you:

  • Understand ad performance.
  • Optimize your individual ad performance.
  • Improve insights on specific user activity.
  • Better understand the user journey across multiple devices.

If you know what you’re doing, Google Signals makes it possible to tighten your ad campaigns and run A/B tests based on behavior across devices. Ultimately, your messaging can speak more directly to your target customer’s behavior and help you develop a more effective sales funnel experience.

How to Turn On Google Signals in GA4

First of all, a word of caution: Once you enable Google Signals, you can never completely disable them, so make sure it’s really what you want to do.

To turn Google Signals on:

  • Go to Admin.
  • Under Data Settings, click on Data Collection.
  • Next to Google Signals data collection, toggle the button to the right so the checkmark is all the way to the right.

Wait 24 hours before you look for new data to appear in GA4. Google Signals should start to populate in your demographics overview, and details report once that time has passed.

Additional Advice from Our AI Experts

Learn About the Power of GA4 and Google Signals from One of Our Experts

We love talking about this stuff, so get in touch if you’re interested in unleashing the power of GA4 and Google Signals for your online ad campaigns.

Meanwhile, check out our social channels for other great tips!

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