How Piwik PRO recognizes returning visitors?

Piwik PRO uses two mechanisms to recognize a returning visitor. When a visitor is coming back to our website and their last session was not more than 30 minutes ago, then Piwik PRO uses a UserID, VisitorID, or Visitor's fingerprint to collect data about them. When a visitor is coming back later, for example, the next hour, day, or week, then Piwik PRO uses cookies to recognize the returning visitor.

To detect if the visitor is returning, Piwik PRO will check the following: 

  • Visit count
  • First visit time
  • Last visit time

This information is held in a tracking cookie and sent to Tracking API as &_idvc= and &_idts= and &_viewts=.

Additionally, on websites where the ecommerce module is working, Piwik PRO uses the _ects parameter to recognize a returning visitor. When a visitor previously visited the website and ordered something, the time of the purchase is stored in a cookie. Anytime he or she visits the website again, the ppms.js tracker sends the _ects parameter with that time.

For more, see Recognizing Visitors.

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