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Google Analytics Cookies Tracking

Author: AK Digihub
by AK Digihub
Posted: Jul 13, 2019

You may know wonder how the internet world knows you better than that your close friends. You would also curious to know that whenever you see ads online, for example, it matches from the last ads you saw in previous searches. How do other websites get to know which website you visited and what pages were you looking for? That’s where you find Google analytics cookies come in. Website Cookies are browser-specific as well as site-specific which means Flipkart will not be able to see the cookies that you saved in

Basically, a cookie is a small piece of information where data sent by the website get stored in the user’s computer while the user is browsing. Cookies vary browser to browser it means they are browser-specific. Basically, it means that your Chrome and Firefox will not be able to see each other’s cookies which are stored in them.

Basics of Google Analytics Cookies

Whenever you access any website then you add the cookie into your browser. And like that hundred of cookies, you would have saved into your computer.

Imagine that cookies are not like a biscuit, it is a tool that helps you to understand who your customers are? It gives you the information about the visitors that visited your website and providing your website analytics.

This seems useful, doesn’t it? It is.

So let’s study about Google Analytics cookies and to gain full understanding I will explain to you further details:

  1. First party cookie
  2. Third party cookie
  3. Google Analytics cookies setup
What are First-Party and Third-Party Cookies

The www (World Wide Web) is made up of two types of cookie which are known as the first-party cookies and other is a third-party cookie. Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to store information about their visitors.

Difference between first party and third party

First party cookies lie in the domain. For example, if you access any XYZ website then XYZ website domain will set the cookies into your browser. These cookies are known as the first party cookie whereas third-party cookies are not set by the domain which is being visited but rather by someone else. Suppose if you are visiting the website then cookies are not set by these cookies will be set by ads that would be running at that time.

In other words, the first-party cookie linked to the site you, visits and user. Whereas third party cookie can be any external assets and popups. It can be blocked by a user that’s why Google Analytics uses first-party cookies, not third-party cookies.

Now I hope you have understood the concept of first-party cookies and third-party cookies.

How are Google Analytics Cookies Setup

Whenever you start with Google Analytics first you will have to generate the tracking code. This code you have to embed to your website. This code will set the cookies and allow your website analytics.

To store the maximum number of information Google analytics uses several cookies. Each of those store different data. One cookie store the information of unique visitors that visits the website and another will maintain the record of time spent by the visitor on to that website.

So in result, you get the detailed result about the visitor’s behavior whenever he/she online.

See Also: how to set up a Google Account Structure.Four Important Cookies Used by Google Analytics to Store the Full Journey of Customer
  • __utma
  • __utmb
  • __utmc
  • __utmz

All these cookies have different workflows. Every cookie, not only the Google analytics cookie expires either it reaches to their expiration date or the browser closes by the visitor.

SEE ALSO: Understanding Google Analytics Account Structure

Let’s explore these cookies and understand their roles

Different Google Analytics Cookies and Website Analytics__utma:

This cookie is used to track for every unique visitor. If someone accesses your website then __utma cookie will generate the client id for that unique visitor. It means if someone comes back to your website through the same browser, Google analytics will get to know it.

How? It because of that client id is generated by the __utma cookie.

And what other information can we get from __utma cookie?

In addition to assigning a unique identification to each of your visitors, the __utma cookie records the time and date of the first visit, the total number of visits, and the start time of the current visit.

Finally, you may find that it is useful to know that __utma cookies usually end in two years.

However, if your visitors come back to your site, a cookie will be updated, and the countdown begins again.

But alone __utma cookies will not be enough to provide useful information about your target market. That’s why Google Analytics uses cookies four different analysis.

In this picture, you will see the client id which is associated with the users. It will be different for different users. Thanks for __utma cookie for this.


This cookie keeps the record of the number of page views and timeouts of your website get. It also records the information of all the start time of each visit.

This cookie expires at every 30 minutes of inactivity on your website. If a visitor goes to the new page of your website then it will be refreshed and 30 minutes countdown will start again.


__utmc is basically for manage session. This cookie keeps the record of every single session. It means as soon as visit ends, the browser close by the visitor this cookie will record this as one session.

The two previous cookies give you a lot of data about the visitor’s behavior on your site. But this cookie seems to give you information about the how visitors have accessed your website: have they typed URL of your website directly into your browser or have they clicked on any link somewhere on your site?

So, this type of information is kept by the __utmc cookie.


__utmz cookie gives you insights into each traffic source. This means it gives the information of that source from which visitors are coming from. You will be able to find all the information on each visit (if the traffic source is coming different from the previous visit). Basically, you will be able to find the campaign name and campaign source.

This cookie expires after every 6 months and it is only refreshed when the visitor’s source changes.

Now that you understand the different Google cookies, it’s time to see how Google Analytics treats users from different devices.

Thanks to Google Analytics cookies, you not only know how long users have been on your website but also where they’re coming from, as shown in the following figure:

Google Analytics Cookies for Mobile, I pad and Website

Nowadays visitors are accessing your website through different kind of devices. These devices might be mobile, iPad, laptop, and desktop. Weather if it on their phone while on away or on their tablet while sitting on their bed.

SEE ALSO: Most Important Google Analytics Insights To Track

Google analytics will need to collect their data together. The four previous cookies are not able to allow you to collect this kind of information across devices.

With __utma, you can remember a visitor from the same browser, but you cannot recognize visitors on different devices. To do this, you must configure the user ID in Google Analytics.

What is User ID in Google Analytics

The user id allows Google analytics to associate different sessions across the devices.

If you visit the Glide website today from your laptop in the standard Google Analytics implementation and fill out the "Contact Us" form the next day from your mobile device, Google Analytics considers you two users. As you can imagine, this means your data is not completely accurate.

Using the user ID can not only help you get better data because, in the previous example, but you also have only one user instead of two. It can also help you understand the relationship between the devices and convey the context and a comprehensive view of your visitors and their behavior.

How to Implement User ID

To set your ID, you must first enable the feature in your Google Analytics account. Once this is done, you need to implement it in your tracking code. You must also set up a user ID view to view the data collected by the user ID in your Google Analytics reports.

So, how do you configure it?

The user ID is at the property level. To find, click on "Admin", "Account" and "Property". Select "Tracking information" and then "User ID". Then you should have a step-by-step guide that will allow you to configure your user ID correctly. Do not worry; you can check every step after you set up your user ID.

After activation, the next step is implementation in your tracking code. Finally, create a user ID view for your reports.

Thanks to the cookies associated with your username, you are guaranteed to capture both the analysis of high-quality websites about your visitors and their behavior on your website.

I have already told you about how to set up a Google Account Structure. you can go through and check it.


I hope you have understood the concept of Google Analytics Cookies and how Google Analytics uses cookies for tracking. If you have any doubt then feel free to ask. If you found this post useful then please comment in the below section and share with your friends also.

Source: AK Digihub

About the Author

AK Digi Hub(Arishna Digital Communication Pvt. Ltd) is the blog where you get Latest updates related to Digital Marketing. Inspired to Work and give the best possible solutions.

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Author: AK Digihub

AK Digihub

Member since: Feb 01, 2019
Published articles: 80

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