5.4K members online now
Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
Guide Me

Campaign Attribution across multiple browsers and sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all,

I'm trying to understand how to find information about which campaigns are driving users to our site and hitting our conversions but I'm a bit confused as to which page/report I should be using. I'm not sure if I'm overcomplicating things as well in terms of the infrastructure setup.

To determine our conversions, we have 2 goals and Ecommerce setup. Goal #1 is based on an event that fires when the user creates an account (e.g. "Create Account"). Goal #2 fires when the user signs into our application for the first time (e.g. "First Sign-in"). The user has a trial period of 14 days, after which they are prompted to pay for the service. When they pay, we activate Ecommerce to track this information. So it (usually) takes 2 weeks from the first time the user is on our site to the moment where they pay.

I believe the problem I'm running into is that a user has multiple sessions so some of this information is lost. Furthermore, some of these multiple sessions are on a different browser altogether. Our application uses a separate browser to run so it has its own set of cookies. I have User-ID in place at each point so the sessions are linked by user identification. However, the problem I'm facing is that the Ecommerce hit is being fired in a separate session from the original one so I cannot trace which campaign it originated from.

Here's a bit of background information on our infrastructure setup. I'm also happy to answer any questions about it as well. All our users start on our wordpress site which is on the www subdomain where they can create an account. After they create one, we immediately identify the user in GA (note I also have Session Unification turned on). We then fire the "Create Account" event to indicate this, which fires the Goal #1 conversion. From there, the user is prompted to install our desktop application. As I mentioned, the application runs in its own browser so it has its own set of cookies, etc. The app is served from the root domain as well.

After installing, the user then signs in for the first time using the account they created. At this point, we identify the user in GA and then fire the "First sign-in" event, which in turn fires the Goal #2 conversion. Then, 14 days later, they go to pay from within the application. After paying, we activate Ecommerce to record the transaction that was made, which fires its conversion. Note that the user is also identified before the Ecommerce transaction is recorded.

So firstly, does this setup sound correct? Have I overcomplicated anything? I have the ability to open the default browser to fire Goal #2 and Ecommerce rather than doing it in the application's browser. That would remove the need for User-ID but Ecommerce is still fired 14 days later so it would be in a separate session anyway. I'm not sure if removing the User-ID necessity would make things easier to traverse though.

We have active AdWords campaigns running. However for Goal #2 and Ecommerce, since it's a separate session, I don't think the campaigns are being attributed. Is that correct or am I missing something? So say a user comes to our site because of Campaign XYZ, when they hit Goal #1, it attributes Campaign XYZ. However, when they hit goal #2 or hit Ecommerce, it's a separate session and I can't find a way to see it attributed to Campaign XYZ.

I'd like to know the following:


  1. Which campaigns drive users to hit Goal #1
  2. Which campaigns drive users to hit Goal #2 (note that this is fired from a different session than the previous one since it's in the separate browser)
  3. Which campaigns drive users to hit ecommerce when they pay (again in a different session from the one they started on)
  4. The original landing page of users at each of the above steps

Where should I be looking to find this information out? I'm looking at our secondary view which has User-ID enabled but things do not look correct. I see a lot of original landing pages as being within the app but users must hit our site to create an account.


Re: Campaign Attribution across multiple browsers and sessions

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi Danish,

I'm happy to chime in. It is a fairly complex setup but from what you describe, this is really what you need to do - and I must say you are very lucky to be able to authenticate users at each step. This is rarely the case.


  1. For #1, look under Acquisition/All Campaigns, and pick Goal #1 in the header of the table (to the far right)
  2. For #2 & #3, even if it is a different browser, with user id and session unification, it should be attributed correctly
  3. For #4, the landing page is per session - or based on the channel they come from. In Behavior/Site Content/Landing Pages, you can also pick the goal at the far right and see if a given landing pages contributed to one of your goals.

Other reports that might help you are Conversion/Multi-Channel Funnels/Assisted Conversions and Conversion/Attribution/Model Comparison. In all cases, you should use the view enabled for user-id.


One thing that might help you:

  • Create a new custom dimension which will hold the "user state", with a scope of "user"
  • Set this dimension to a value that will tell you at which stage they are at, like this: 0-unknown/anonymous, 1-account created, 2-signed-up, 3-subscribed
  • Use this custom dimension to segment your audience and make reporting easier

Landing page = app: could this be because those people created their account before your current GA setup? Or it might be a technical tracking issue - hard to tell without seeing the data and the specifics of your implementation.


Hope that helps - curious to read what others might have to suggest.

Re: Campaign Attribution across multiple browsers and sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks @Stéphane Hamel for such a detailed response! I have some follow-up questions if you don't mind.


  1. Right, that's what I figured since Goal 1 is fired by the main session that brought them there. I have Goal 1 and Goal 2 in the same Goal Set, I was wondering if I should just select that at the top of the page in the Explorer option (under the segments) in Acquisition/All Campaigns instead? I see that this shows sessions though so this makes me think that the columns represents a single session that hit Goal 1 then. If that's the case, it won't be attributed because goal 2 happens in a separate session I take.
  2. Okay that's good to know, should I be looking at the same view then, Acquisition/All Campaigns? In order to link goal 1 and 2 together, I'd have to do what you suggested, adding a custom dimension to keep track of the user then, right? (Assuming my assumption was correct regarding the previous goal set point)
  3. That makes sense. I was looking at Conversions/Attribution/Model Comparison Tool to see if I could get it to show me the original landing page. I have it set to show conversions for Goal #2 with AdWords Campaigns as the primary and Landing Page URL as the secondary dimension. I've flipped over to the First Interaction model as well. Do you know if this model attributes correctly across multiple sessions which have user-IDs as well? I figured it does for a normal set of sessions in the same browser but can't seem to find anything confirming it is across multiple browsers which have identified sessions.

I'm taking a look at Conversion/Multi-Channel Funnels/Assisted Conversions as well, wasn't aware of this one until another member pointed it out!


The custom dimension sounds like a great idea, I'll definitely look into that. I was looking for something like this in the existing segments but just made 2 for each event and was jumping between them myself. So this will allow me to segment the same users specifically, and not just at the session level if I understand correctly?


Regarding the landing page = app, what you said definitely sounds possible, we have some older users that are definitely firing some events but wouldn't have been identified properly. A lot of these landing pages are the subscription page too. Maybe for the time being, I'll look into preventing older users from firing the events to clean up the data we're seeing for the most part.


Thanks again for the speedy reply, it was very helpful!

Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author Danesh

Campaign Attribution across multiple browsers and sessions

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi Danesh - many roads leads to Rome, so there are many ways to approach the problem. Looking at All Campaigns and picking a Goal Set will also work. Under Admin/Property/Property Settings, you might see an option to "Enable Users Metric in Reporting" - if so, turn it on. It will show Users instead of Sessions in most reports and this will help you.


In the mean time, you can always switch the primary metric in the report - as you need. As soon as we talk about "Users", if both sessions were assigned to the same user id, you should see some of them doing your Goal 1 and Goal 2.


Enabling the custom dimension I suggested will allow you to segment at the user level - "Show all users who have completed Goal #2", and even use it for remarketing.


Good luck and have fun! Smiley Happy

Re: Campaign Attribution across multiple browsers and sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Stéphane,


Thanks for the reply, that was very helpful. I didn't realize you could switch GA to use Users instead of Sessions, definitely will take a look at that. I tried switching the primary metric but it didn't seem to yield the results I expected. I'll keep playing with it though.


Once we those up, I think the custom dimension will become very useful too.


Thanks again, appreciate all the help!