User identification


I am new in Piwik and I was going through the user data exported from Piwik and tried to identify different users and then got little bit confused. The use case is:

Suppose a site is being tracked by Piwik. Now, a single user comes on on alernate days from same device, same browser, same network through 3 different channels say 1) by directly writing url 2) by clicking on certain ad 3) by google search.

Now, I exported the user data from piwik and tried to correlate these 3 visits to a single visitor. For this, i tried to compare visitorId, But, i got two visitorId as same but one is different. So, i got confused. What is the exact way by which we can correlate the different visits to a single visitor if he has visited from different channels through same device, same browser, same network.

I got the answer as follows. Please correct me if i am wrong.

If a user visits the site through same browser and same device and same channel with cookie enabled, then this user will be recorded as an unique user only once and then all other visits will be counted as Actions on channel wise on initial visit with same visitor id.

Here, on first visit, Piwik places a first party cookie with visitor id information and record this visitor as unique visitor. but if same user again visit, piwik get the visitorId from the first party cookie it has initially placed on user’s system and thus identify the return visitor with same visitor id by using first party cookie

But I have one more confusion. I have tested following scenario by disabling the cookies.

Case1) Me and one of my friends access a site being tracked by Piwik from our laptop separately by using office network. Both of us have same configuration of laptop.
Result: Piwik report shown both of us as a same user with single visitor id.

Case2) Me and some other friends of mine access the same site from our laptop separately by using same office network with having same laptop configuration.
Result: Piwik here recorded as 2 separate user with different visitor id.

So, here my confusion is that why piwik showed 2 separate users in case2.

Hi there,

Recently I wrote this new FAQ to document how New / Returning / Unique visiotr tracking works. How does Piwik detect unique and returning visitors? (with User ID, Visitor ID from cookie and/or fingerprint) - Analytics Platform - Matomo - hopefully this helps you!