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Source / medium lost after User-ID is set

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all,


I'm having trouble detecting the correct source / medium after identifying users across multiple platforms. Our use-case is a bit complicated but I'll try to go into a bit of detail.


All our users start on our www subdomain, say - at which point they can create an account. After they create an account, we identify the user in GA (note I also have Session Unification turned on). At this point, the source / medium are set accordingly to abc / def


From there, the user is prompted to install our desktop application. The installation provides a separate application which runs in its own browser so it has its own set of cookies, etc. The app is served from the root domain,, but since it's a separate browser (i.e. separate device), as far as I can tell, this would create a new session in GA. Is that correct so far?


Now once the user signs in, we initialized the GA snippet with the `userId` configuration set correctly. After that, any events we fire (e.g. First Sign-in) have the user's id.


The problem I'm encountering is that the source / medium for this session are shown as direct / none. From what I understand, it should be set to abc / def but at this point, I'm not sure if that's correct. Should I expect to see abc / def for this user?

I am using the Universal Analytics snippet with `auto` enabled and I do identify the user at both points. I also have my root domain and www subdomain on the property referral exclusion list. Is there something else I'm missing?


I'm more than happy to answer any questions if anyone needs more detail.



1 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author Danesh

Source / medium lost after User-ID is set

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Hi Danesh,


Referral Exclusion is for cross domain tracking and third party payments... you should not need to set it for this.


User ID will primarily show you cross device behavior but also gives insight into attribution at the time the id is set.  You should see this in the Multi-Channel reports or in User Explorer. If you'd like you can set the values of source medium, etc on log-in to the app and pass to GA with the initial pageview.  This, of course, would require you to store them.   Or you can just do the analysis outside of GA using the user id that you've set and stored.


You can also consider setting a custom dimension with this same value to give you a longer look (>90days) at your data.


Hope that helps.




Theo Bennett

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