How to leverage user ID in Google Analytics during user acquisition analysis

All analytics tools including google analytics offer a feature called user ID. It unifies the multiple sessions by a single user through many devices into one single user for an accurate customer journey analysis.

Most analytical tools like Google Analytics record hits, views, sessions and users. But you know that already.

What you are probably miscalculating in your user acquisition analysis, is that all the users that the analytical tool counts, may not necessarily be different individuals but the same person logging in using another device.

One customer can visit your website through multiple devices and be recorded as many because in the language of an analytical tool, a device or a cookie is also a customer. This means that the actual number of users visiting your website is probably lesser than what the analytical tool claims and there is no synchronisation between the visits and the purchases by a single person. This is a serious lapse that usually goes undetected in the user acquisition analysis and affects your overall customer experience.

If you go by the analytics-customer, you are spending a fortune through all your marketing efforts on the same person! And are also barraging a customer with numerous touch points.

Problem in customer acquisition?

We know what you need to change in your user acquisition strategy.

Luckily, Google Analytics and other analytics tools offer a feature called user ID. And we have detailed out the process of leveraging user ID/visitor ID tracking in multichannel marketing to help you improve your customer acquisition through an enhanced customer experience.

This is how the feature benefits your user acquisition strategy:

  • You get an accurate view as well as the count of the unique users, enabling better understanding of the customer journey analysis on your website.
  • It facilitates Cross device tracking and ability to integrate offline/CRM data with the analytics data in user acquisition analysis.
  • It helps you establish relationships between your customer acquisitions, engagement and conversions.
  • It enables you to create more audience segments for marketing tools such as Adobe Target, Google Survey, Google Optimize etc.
  • You are offered various reports by analytics tools based on user ID / visitor ID for further analysis.

The feature works as an integral part of user acquisition strategy:

As shown in the diagram below, when a user visits your site and logs in, he leaves behind information such as email ID, phone number etc. The analytics tool assigns a unique ID to the user based on this information.

In the image below, an user leaves the site while accessing it from a laptop and continues his journey on a mobile device. But when there is a user ID in place, the user is identified as one across all the devices.

How do you enable the user ID/visitor ID tracking in multichannel marketing?

  • Generate your own unique and anonymous ID and assign it to the user, based on his logged-in email, phone number etc.
  • Associate that user ID with every server call made by the user across all modes.

Use this ID to stitch the data of each user across offline and online modes such as CRM, analytics tool, CMS etc., The user ID should be anonymous and should not include personal information such as email addresses or phone numbers. Also ensure that the email or phone number is encrypted or hashed.

In Google Analytics

  • For effective user acquisition analysis, enable ‘user-ID with session unification’ in Google Analytics property. Then create a view to see the data with user ID.
  • Identify a unique attribute such as an email ID or a phone number that the user logs in with. Generate your own unique ID by decrypting the unique attribute and update it on the website dataLayer for all user interactions.
  • Before sending the pageview server call, set the unique value, {{USER_ID}} to user ID as shown in the code below:

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXXX-Y’, ‘auto’);ga(‘set’, ‘userId’, {{USER_ID}});ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Here is a sample screenshot of the user ID (uid) captured in the network call as a part of a browser.

Adobe Analytics

  • Identify a unique attribute such as email ID, phone number etc. that the user logs in with. Generate your own unique ID by decrypting the attribute and update it on the website ‘digitalData’ object for all user interactions.
  • Before sending the pageview server call, set the unique value to s.visitorID as shown below.

    //All the s-code settings remain the same

    s.visitorID=”visitor_id”;

    s.t();

    Here is a sample screenshot of the visitor ID (vid) being captured in the network call. If marketing cloud ID is purchased, then ‘mid’ can be assigned as the visitor ID (vid)

    You may also pass the visitor id into a conversion variable (eVar), so that you can breakdown any report using this eVar and do further analysis.

  • To import offline data into the tool, use ‘Data Sources’ or ‘SAINT Classification’ feature of Adobe Analytics. You may specify visitor ID as the key and import data into analytics tool.

user ID/ visitor ID tracking in multichannel marketing through the analytics tools is extremely powerful for user acquisition analysis. By configuring it into your user acquisition strategy you accelerate its impact and evoke a renewed level of data accuracy in your reports for a great customer experience.

Use it right and it stands to give you great insights into your customer journey analysis.

Drive better results by understanding customer data