April 8, 2020
User ID in Google Analytics – Here’s What You Need To Know

User ID in Google Analytics – Here’s What You Need To Know


Hey there! I’m Benjamin from Loves Data. In this video you’ll learn about the benefits
of implementing Google Analytics User ID. If you can identify individuals as they experience
your website, for example if people can log in, then you can implement the User ID feature. I’ll walk through how user ID can give you
a more accurate understanding of your audience, outline limitation of User ID and show you
how to track individuals coming from your email campaigns. Let’s get started… You can send a User ID when a page view (or
other data) is sent to Google Analytics. This allows you to tie sessions together when
the User ID is the same, even if the sessions are on different devices. For example, if you ask people to log in on
your website and on your app you can connect this data together inside your reports. If someone logs in on their mobile device,
then on their desktop and then on their tablet you can tie these three separate sessions
together and you’ll have a single user reported inside Google Analytics. Now let’s look at the same scenario, but this
time if we didn’t send the User ID with each session. Instead of reporting on one user, we’d be
reporting on three users, three devices and three sessions. You can immediately see the benefit of implementing
User ID. You will have a better understanding of how
people engage with your business, even across multiple devices. So User ID is amazing, but it isn’t perfect
either. Why? Well, odds are only a small portion of your
audience will actually log in across multiple devices. If they haven’t logged in and the User ID
hasn’t been sent, then Google Analytics can’t tie the data together. This is okay since you’ll still be able to
access insights for those people who do actually log in, but what if you don’t have any type
of login? Then what? If you have another way of identifying people
as they access your website, app or other touch points, then you can still make use
of User ID. The thing to remember is that you need to
be able to identify someone. Here’s one idea to get you thinking… Let’s say you collect email addresses on your
website. Those email addresses then get stored in your
email platform and that platform assigns a unique ID to each person that subscribes. You can then add that ID to the URLs contained
in the emails you send. As people click through to your website from
your emails the ID can be passed to Google Analytics and used to tie sessions together. This would mean that if someone clicked through
to your website on their desktop and then later on their mobile device the ID in the
links would be the same and you could see the different devices people are using. So without anybody having to log in you can
identify them and make use of User ID in your reports. And you can easily implement this with Google
Tag Manager… Once you’ve configured your email platform
to add the ID as a query parameter to your inbound links, you can create a variable to
capture the value of the query parameter. Here’s an example that captures the value
of my ‘subscriber ID’ query parameter… You can see I’ve selected ‘URL’ as the variable
type and then ‘query’ as the component type. Then all I need to do is adjust my Google
Analytics tag to use the variable… Here I’m setting the ‘user ID’ field and passing
the value of the variable… Then all I need to do is head into Google
Analytics and enable the ‘User ID’ feature… This will also require you to create a special
reporting view for User ID. That’s it! Now this isn’t about Google Analytics, but
I did want to mention a report in Google AdWords that you might want to check out… It’s the Google AdWords cross-device activity
reports. They’re really interesting because they ‘automagically’
show you cross-device conversions based on people logged into Google accounts. Google’s system starts by observing conversion
data from your conversion tags and then when there is enough data and confidence in it,
it expands this to estimate conversion across users that haven’t been signed into a Google
account. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, it’s limited to our Google AdWords campaigns,
but it is providing deeper insights into our audience and the device paths they’re using
to engage with us online. So if you haven’t taken a look at the Cross-Device
Activity reports, they’re absolutely worth it. You’ll find the reports under ‘Search Attribution’
in the new version of Google AdWords. // So they are the benefits of implementing
the User ID feature in Google Analytics. If you have a way of identifying people as
they visit or log into your website, app or other touch points, then you can gain a deeper
understanding about the devices and paths people are using to engage with you online. And don’t forget to check out the cross-device
reports in Google AdWords, they show Google is innovating how we report on users and conversions
for our AdWords campaigns. Have you used the user ID feature in Google
Analytics? I’d love to know – let me know in the comments
below! And if you found this video helpful, then
please like it, so I know to make more videos like this. See you next time!

11 thoughts on “User ID in Google Analytics – Here’s What You Need To Know

  1. Really like your videos, Benjamin! I have a question though:You mentioned I could capture User ID though an email program – under such scenarios, let's say a user click onto my website through an email on his desktop. The next time a user visits my website through his mobile, wll the userID get automatically tagged or does he have to click on the email on his mobile device to go to the website to be mapped as the same user?

  2. Thank you! I just saw the explanation of ga academy and didn't quit get it. your video helped me with that 🙂

  3. I just started dissecting Google Analytics. I have a t-shirt website that does not require log in. I'm assuming this feature is better suited for people who have an email subscribers list or a log-in on their website. Let's say I did have an email list to use with this feature and I do find out what device their using to visit my website, what is one way I can capitalize on this data.

  4. Hey! Quick question as I was setting up in my google analytics the User-Id feature for come weird reason it would not let me switch the user-Id feature, nor the session unification on. I would click to switch it on but nothing would happen. Have any ideas how I could fix this? Everything is already set up in the code but still wont let me click. Have any idea what it could be? Thank you!

  5. Thanks so much for making and sharing this. It's surprising Google doesn't leverage Chrome, Gmail and Google Analytics to assist with cross-device tracking out of the box. Seems like Facebook might be stronger on this count.

  6. Could you further elaborate on how does the email with the ID work? So, if I open the link on the email on my mobile phone, and later on go to the website, for example, via facebook, will the sessions be tied to me? Or it only works if I use the same email link everytime?

  7. Thank you for the useful tutorial: I have a concern when I follow your steps I get an error toled me "Unknown variable “Subscriber ID” found in a tag. Edit the tag and remove the reference to the unknown variable", but if I delete the {{}} and keep the Subscriber ID Without them I get no errors while enabling the Preview mode.

    My question is how to know if I did it correctly because I have no visitors (just created it for practice)

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