User-ID is an advanced feature that lets Analytics present a cross-platform, cross-device view of your users' behavior. Analytics creates a single user journey from all the data that is associated with the same user ID.
To use this feature, you have to be able to generate your own unique, persistent IDs, consistently assign those IDs to your users, and include the IDs along with the data you send to Analytics.
Analytics does not provide a method via the user interface to send user IDs. Consult the following articles for information about how to include user IDs with the data you send to Analytics:
- Google Analytics 4 tags: this Google Tag Manager article explains how to set user IDs using your Google Analytics 4 Event tag.
- The Google Analytics user ID: this Google Tag Manager article is written for Universal Analytics properties but the information applies to Google Analytics 4 properties, and the article provides additional context.
- Cookies and user identification: this Google Developer article explains how to include a user ID via the measurement code.
Choose a method to identify user data for reporting:
- By User-ID, Google signals, then device (available if you have activated Google signals): This method uses the more accurate user ID if it is collected to identify a user and unify all related events in reporting and analysis. If no user ID is collected, then Analytics uses information from Google signals if that is available. If neither User-ID nor Google-signals information is available, then Analytics uses a device ID, either the Analytics cookie for websites or the app Instance ID for apps, to identify a user.
When you activate Google signals, Analytics collects demographics and interests data when it is available. As a consequence, your reports are subject to thresholding.
- By User-ID and device (available if you have not activated Google signals): This method uses the more accurate user ID (if it is collected) to identify a user and unify all related events in reporting and analysis. If User-ID information is not available, then Analytics uses a device ID, either the Analytics cookie for websites or the app Instance ID for apps, to identify a user.
- By device: This method uses only the device ID, either the Analytics cookie for websites or the app-instance ID for apps, to identify a user and ignores any user IDs that were collected.
You can find these options in Analytics Admin under Default Reporting Identity (see below).
Changes in user metrics
When you implement User-ID, Analytics begins processing user IDs (when Analytics collects them) for each event, making your reports more accurately reflect your users' logged-in behavior across platforms and devices. As a result, you should expect user metrics to change from the point of implementation onward.
The nature of the change depends on how users interact with your business. For example, the Active Users metrics, which count active users over periods of days (e.g., 7, 14, 28), are likely to experience fluctuations immediately following implementation as individual users may be counted as both logged in and logged out during those times. This is expected, and your data will assume a new normal after the associated period (e.g., 7, 14, 28) has passed.
You implement User-ID first in your site or app, and then in Analytics Admin.
In your site or app
To implement User-ID on your website via the global site tag, follow these instructions.
In Analytics Admin
After you update your site or app to collect user IDs, you can update your property configuration in Analytics Admin to change the reporting identity you want to use.
- Sign in to Google Analytics.
- Click Admin, and navigate to the property you want to edit.
- In the Property column, click Default Reporting Identity.
- Select either By User-ID, Google signals, then device, By User-ID and device, or By device only.
- Click Save.
After you implement User-ID in your site/app and confirm the settings of your Analytics property, you can add comparisons to your reports to compare signed-in data to other types of data.
Without that comparison applied, you see all signed-in and signed-out data together.
When you include only signed-in users, Analytics deduplicates those users. Because of this, you may notice some differences in your data:
- Lower user counts
- Higher per-user values
You'll also see additional data like how many of those users engaged with your business on multiple platforms.
User IDs that you upload to Google Analytics will be used to process audience lists, which can then be made available to any linked ads services, including for ads personalization. Currently, we only support the targeting of the last device seen for any given user ID. You may configure criteria that require usage across multiple devices/platforms (e.g., an audience that requires a purchase event from both web and app streams). You may also configure device-specific or stream-specific criteria to maintain device-centric audiences.
Limits and guidelines
Learn more about the limits to User-ID and the guidelines you need to observe.