Identifying unique users in Whatfix Analytics
  • 30 Sep 2022
  • 3 Minutes To Read
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Identifying unique users in Whatfix Analytics

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  • PDF

Article Summary

User Identification

User Identification, as the name suggests, is the process of uniquely identifying users that interact with Whatfix content. Whatfix Desktop uses a combination of parameters, like the user machine’s domain name or username, to uniquely identify a user.

Whatfix provides an API to accurately set and pass the user information. However, if the user information is not configured, then we use browser local storage and cookies to identify a user.

User Identification Method

We recommend using user information so that we can correctly identify users and provide more accurate analytics. User information can be set using wfx_settings. This can also be used along with extra values to segment user behavior.


Usernames and extra information are considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and therefore are encrypted throughout - in transit and on rest. So anything that is passed as user information or user segmentation information is secure.

User Identification from PC

Whatfix uses the current user’s ID as the Username. This username is constant across desktop applications and is used to uniquely identify the user.


The User ID's data is captured in the format, Userdomain-Username.

Use the following steps to obtain the User ID data for your device,

  1. Navigate to the Command Prompt.

  2. Paste either one of the following code and press Enter,

your title goes here

The output is the User ID. For example, here the ID is csedektop-csedesktop.
Screenshot 2021-09-29 at 12.35.57 AM (1).png

Cookie Method

If User Identification for users using desktop is not set up, Whatfix, by default, uses cookies to identify them. When Whatfix is loaded on an application page, a randomly generated value, i.e. a cookie, is set to identify the user. The value of this cookie is passed with every call sent to Analytics along with the user information mentioned.


Cookie values expire periodically, and each user is then assigned a new value. This leads to incorrect data being captured and inaccurate analytics numbers.

Advantages of User Identification

With User Identification you can identify,

  • Users’ engagement rate with your content
  • Unique users and their behavior
  • Users’ content completion rate
  • Weak points in your content
  • The type of content segmentation required based on User roles etc.

All the User IDs are encrypted in an alphanumeric format when captured. They are decrypted for use in Analytics reports only after your approval.

How do we identify users?

Whatfix uses a combination of cookies and the user API to identify a user. We first try to use user information, if it’s present. For events where user information is not available, we rely on the value of the unique cookie set in the event.
Let’s assume that a user, John, is logged in on three different desktop PCs. His user information is available on the first two devices but not on the third.

DeviceIs User Info PresentUnique Cookie ValueUser info resolved
Desktop 1Yes (John)rand_val_1John
Desktop 2Yes (John)rand_val_2John
Desktop 3Norand_val_3rand_val_3
Unique Users Detected32

Whatfix is able to retrieve and use the username in the first two devices. However, in the third device, we do not know who the user is, and so we fall back to the unique cookie value.
The number of users detected by our algorithm is 2.
In case no user information is passed for the same example, the number of unique users detected completely relies on cookies and therefore is recorded as 3.
If user information is set in all the calls, then the user detected is 1.
Every time Whatfix loads, it looks up the unique cookie. If absent, a unique ID is generated and saved as a cookie. Subsequent sessions use the same cookie value to identify the user. This user ID is sent in all Analytics events.

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