But time and again, we do want individual user journeys mapped out despite having a huge amount of traffic. Mapping individual users have a ton of advantages particularly when you want to tie the hits together differently in your own backend and not rely on the aggregation offered by GA.
Enter Client ID
In Google Analytics 101, you may have already studied what a client ID is. But if not, a client ID is a unique numeric ID that is placed by Google Analytics in a user’s browser via a cookie to recognize the user for repeat visits and all the interactions they have with your website. Basically, a user is identified through Client ID.
Now, if you knew what client ID is, chances are that you have already set up a custom dimension to pull client ID into your reports. If you haven’t yet, you aren’t fully utilizing the resources at your disposal. If you want to get an individual user nav path from GA, you will have to segregate the aggregation. And Client ID unlocks that for you. When you pull Client ID in your GA reports, every hit that’s sent to the account will also send the Client ID along. Once you have all the hits from all the users, you are able to easily associate every hit ot a Client ID, or in other words to an individual.
User Navigation Path – The one dimension we’ve ignored
Once you start capturing Client ID, we are going to utilize the “Previous Page Path” dimension which otherwise also gets aggregated.
So if I go to Site Content > All Pages report and add Prev Page path as a secondary dimension, I then get a beautiful report that tells me the page users have visited before any page. Some of the data (pages) will pertain to the entry so no previous page paths will be recorded.
With Client ID, you can build a custom report with the following dimensions: