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User-ID view vs. non-User-ID view: User tracking

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# 1
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Hey everyone,

 

I'd appreciate any help on this matter, as it's driving me a lil' crazy, and I want to be prepared to answer questions about it.

 

I've recently enabled the User-ID feature and created a User-ID view for company's website. I tried to read up as much as possible how different data collection is between the two views, but I'm stumped a little regarding the number reported for the "user" metric.

 

A little context:

  • I've also recently started passing "customer no." (user scope) as a custom dimension. This will obviously only be sent if the user is signed it.
  • I have a custom report with only "customer no." as the dimension, and one of the metrics is "users"
  • I've enabled this report in both the User-ID view and the non-User-ID view
  • I understand that users are calculated differently in the User-ID view (by reading this). But I also know that without the user-ID, GA will try as much as possible to identify the same users by assigning the Client-ID in cookies (by reading this)
  • We have incredibly low mobile users (in the single digit), and I highly doubt our customers wipe their cookies so often

 

The confusion:

 

When I looked at audience overview, I saw that:

  • users under the non-UserID view = 12K
  • users under the UserID view = 5.9K
  • I thought this was believable, perhaps we have that many guests/users who don't sign in

But by looking at the custom report described above (customer no. as dimension), for the past 3 days, where supposedly only sessions with an assigned cust. no. will show up... I'm still seeing almost the same discrepancy in number of users, ~5.9k vs. 12k.

 

One explanation I thought of was the custom dimension scope (user). And how maybe it's being applied to sessions where the user is not signing in.

 

However, wouldn't the GA's cookie do a better job at grouping users via the client ID?  unless I'm mistaken, the Client-ID won't change as long as the same cookie exist... or would it?

 

This has been a head scratcher, and I hope my explanation somewhat makes sense. The higher number of users in the non-UserID view is simply throwing me off. I previously would have considered all those users as potential new users, but it seems they all have existing customer numbers, and the number of users is simply inflated.

 

Please advise.

 

Thank you,

Mo

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Accepted by topic author Mo B
May 2017

User-ID view vs. non-User-ID view: User tracking

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# 2
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Hi Mo,

 

You are exactly right when you say this:

 

One explanation I thought of was the custom dimension scope (user). And how maybe it's being applied to sessions where the user is not signing in.

 

While I can't be 100 percent certain without looking at your data, what you are seeing is expected if users are signing across more than one device. 

 

If I sign in on my work pc and home pc, then I'm one user in your user id view while signed in.

 

Subsequent visits from both machines where no sign in occurred would not be in the user id view, would have two client id's (two users) but the same customer no custom dimension.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Best,

 

Theo Bennett

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
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View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Mo B
May 2017

User-ID view vs. non-User-ID view: User tracking

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Hi Mo,

 

You are exactly right when you say this:

 

One explanation I thought of was the custom dimension scope (user). And how maybe it's being applied to sessions where the user is not signing in.

 

While I can't be 100 percent certain without looking at your data, what you are seeing is expected if users are signing across more than one device. 

 

If I sign in on my work pc and home pc, then I'm one user in your user id view while signed in.

 

Subsequent visits from both machines where no sign in occurred would not be in the user id view, would have two client id's (two users) but the same customer no custom dimension.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Best,

 

Theo Bennett

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: User-ID view vs. non-User-ID view: User tracking

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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Yes! That makes total sense. Thank you, Theo!

 

It opens up a new question though: is it a good idea to scope customer number as user based, or dial it back to session based?

 

I kind of like having a better idea of whether those "users" in the non-UserID are actual customers or new guests,  but not at the expense of the data integrity and best practices. 

 

A customer number technically is user based and rarely changes. I scoped it that way on principal. 

 

Best,

Mo

Re: User-ID view vs. non-User-ID view: User tracking

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# 4
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I would keep it user scoped.


-Theo
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn