Visitor ID and Visit ID Dimensions

In many situations, users of the search system are authenticated, which means that Coveo knows their usernames and can log this information in the analytics. Sometimes, though, users are anonymous, which is the case on most websites. Knowing how many distinct users did a query or opened an item is a very important piece of information. To achieve that, Coveo uses two tracking cookies: one for the Visit ID and one for the Visitor ID.

General Information

  • When sending an event, the Usage Analytics service will generate a visitor ID, if no ID is provided. The generated ID is returned in the response.

  • By default, the visitor ID is supplied to Coveo UA using the visitor (string) query parameter and kept in the local storage of the user browser (see Tracking Sessions and Visitors). A third-party cookie can also be used to store the visitor ID if the current user browser accepts these kinds of cookies.

    Using the visitor (string) query parameter to supply and store the visitor ID requires development work.

  • A visitor ID is lost when:

    • A user clears their cookies;

    • A user blocks third-party cookies and doesn’t store the visitor ID elsewhere.

  • Changing a visitor ID results in a new visit.

  • The visitor ID supplied by default by Coveo UA is a v4 UUID. If you instead provide your own, the best practice is to use a v4 UUID, but any string of up to 128 ASCII characters is supported.

Visit ID

The Visit ID is a random and unique value generated every time a user visits the search site. A visit ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. Therefore, all user interactions over the course of the same visit are recorded using the same Visit ID, allowing you to analyze the user workflow within a visit (see What’s a User Visit).

A related metric to the Visit ID dimension is the Unique Visit ID metric. Unlike the Search Event Count, the Unique Visit ID lets you ignore the count of the same queries submitted during a visit.

If a user submits a query ten times in the same visit, the Unique Visit ID metric for this query will increase by only one, while the query count will increase by ten.

Visitor ID

The Visitor ID is similar to the Visit ID, but unlike the Visit ID, it never expires. Therefore, it’s possible to keep the same visitor ID for an unlimited amount of time. Using the related metric, Unique Visitor ID lets you know the number of distinct browsers in which a query was sent or an item was clicked, counting them only once even if the same search actions were recorded over the course of many visits.

Usually, a browser represents a single user since most users don’t share their computer or mobile device. However, it’s possible that two or more users use the same browser. In that case, the visitor ID can’t by itself differentiate between users.

Visit ID and Visitor ID Differences

The following table highlights the main differences between the visit ID and visitor ID.

Dimension characteristics Visit ID Visitor ID
Different value for each visit made by the same user

Different value across different Coveo organizations for the same user

Different value for many users using the same browser

Expiration

After 30 minutes of inactivity

Virtually never (depending on the implementation)

Required to gather usage analytics events

Can be specified in requests to Coveo Usage Analytics (Coveo UA)

Entirely managed by Coveo UA

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