Google Analytics is one of most popular traffic tracking tool on the web. It is being integrated into millions of websites worldwide. One of the most concerned questions related to this tool is whether it is capable of tracking individual users or not?
If you are looking for the answer to the above question, you would definitely need to understand how Google Analytics tracks website visitors.
The purpose of Google Analytics tracking code
As we all know that we have to place the GA tracking code on our website to see traffic details in Analytics. Whenever a new visitor lands on your website, this tracking code places a line of code containing a unique id named as client_id in the visitor’s browser.
Whenever the same user visits your site again from the same browser this id is used to identify as a returning visitor. But if the user clears his browser cookies before visiting your site, he will be assigned a new client id and he will be identified as a new user.
The problem with client id is that a visitor will only be identified as a unique visitor until he is using the similar browser/device to visit your website. The time he switched to a new browser or device he will be assigned another client id.
You can see the client id reports in analytics by navigating to Audience >> User Explorer.
Tracking Individual Users In Analytics – The Alternate
To track every individual user in Google Analytics, you will have to implement User_ID. A user id is a set of unique alphanumeric characters that is used to identify a single user across multiple devices.
User_ids are assigned by you not Google Analytics. We have already discussed in depth about implementing cross-device tracking using user id, you can read it further in that article.