While not designed with individual user behavior in mind, Google Analytics is able to track individual users with some caveats.
Limitations Of Google Analytics
First off, each user must have a user ID which you would need to implement and will typically be used for known visitors only. Meaning, the user must log in to your site, and then you could assign a user ID.
Once the user ID is generated and enabled in the Google Analytics settings, you can push a limited amount of data to this profile. Currently, that limit is 20 custom properties, and any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is presently against their guidelines.
Another big asterisk in individual tracking in Google Analytics is reporting on these now identified* users. Once the user has been assigned a user ID, creating a report with emails requires mapping to the ids and a completely separate Chrome extension.
Suffice it to say, using GA for individual user tracking is akin to the situation on the Apollo 13 mission of fitting a square peg in a round hole. While it’s “possible,” it’s neither easy nor the intention of the tool.
There Is an Alternative and a Better Solution
For individual tracking, a tool such as Woopra is a much better fit. Woopra’s goal is to clearly map the end-to-end user journey across your site or platform with a laser focus on individual behaviors.
You can harness much deeper insight into your users with nearly limitless custom visitor properties such as emails, names, and the list goes on. And not only identified users. Woopra also automatically creates individual profiles for all anonymous traffic that could later be identified, keeping all the user’s behaviors in one profile.
This adds tremendous transparency in seeing what specifically drove the users to purchase or what needs to be improved on your site to help conversions.
In all, it’s fair to say Google Analytics does a decent job at tracking aggregate data and giving you a general sense of what pages are viewed the most.
However, if you are looking to understand individual user behaviors on a much more granular scale while also gaining insight into trends on your site, a tool such as Woopra will help you get there.
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