Identify Users


At Refiner, we distinguish surveys that are operated in Identified Users Mode and surveys that are operated in Anonymous Mode.

Identified User Mode means that you provide an identifier for each user before they fill out survey. Usually, this means that you are surveying “registered” or “logged-in” users. Most of our customers run their surveys in Identified Users Mode and it is the recommend way to set up Refiner (more info below).

Anonymous Mode means that you are not providing any user identifier (User ID or Email). When operating in Anonymous Mode, Refiner doesn’t know anything or track any data about a user until they fill out a survey.

Which of the two modes you’ll be using depends on your use-case and the type of survey you are running.

When to identify users

Whenever possible, we recommend to identify your users. Identifying users unleashes the full power of Refiner, for example it allows you to:

  • Target users based on traits, behaviour and past survey interactions
  • Link survey responses to specific user profiles
  • Sync survey response data to your CRM, product analytics tool or customer data platform

There are however situations where identifying users is technically not possible or not feasible. For example if you want to survey users on a marketing website, or if you are dealing with a huge user base. To cover these situations, Refiner also allows you to run survey without identifying your users (Anonymous Mode).

Identified User vs Anonymous Mode

Whether you identify your users or not affects various product features of Refiner. Below you’ll find all important differences between the two modes.

Identified UsersAnonymous Users
Recommended for …All In-Product Survey use-cases (web & mobile). Whenever users can be identified with a unique ID or an email address that you provide.Surveying anonymous website visitors or sharing survey links with an unknown group of contacts.
Personal Identifiable Information (PII)You decide what PII data you send to us. As a minimum, we need a unique ID for each users. You can choose to import additional user traits (e.g. email, name, …) or behavioral data. You can also attach contextual data to survey responses.No PII is transmitted to our servers on page load or when displaying a survey. You can choose to attach PII data to survey responses if needed.
Segment based user targetingTarget users based on traits, behavior and past survey interactions.No segmentation available for targeting purposes. All users and website visitors are included in your Target Audience.
Trigger Events for Survey WidgetsTime and page visit based trigger events.Time and page visit trigger events
Recognize users for follow-up surveysUser is recognized over a long period of time across various devices. Great for recurring surveys and follow-up campaigns.Previous survey respondents are recognized if they use a single device and don’t clear browser cache.
Data AnalysisAnalyse survey responses with our customizable dashboards using survey responses and your own user traits. Access survey interactions of individual users.Analyse data with our customizable dashboards using anonymous survey responses.
Team AlertsTeam alerts can include survey response data other user traits. Better control over trigger events.Team alerts can be send based on the survey response data.
IntegrationsAll integrations available, including integrations that require a User Id (e.g. Segment,, etc.)Basic integrations that don’t require a User ID.
Monthly Active Users (MAUs) CountAll users that you identify with our client or our API within a given month are counted as Active Users. Usually the MAUs represents the number of users that logged-in to your app in a given month.Only website visitors that interact with a survey (see, dismiss or respond) within a given month are counted as Active Users

Support by survey type

Which of the two modes you’ll be using depends on the type of survey you are running. Some survey types can be operated in Anonymous Mode, and in Identified User Mode. Others are limited to one of the two as shown in the table below.

Identified UsersAnonymous Mode
In-Product Surveys (Web-Client)✔︎limited support
In-Product Surveys (Mobile SDK)✔︎not supported
Email Surveys✔︎✔︎
Survey Links✔︎✔︎

How to identify your users

Depending on the type of survey your are running, you have different options to identify your users.

In-Product Surveys

For web-based surveys, you can identify your users by calling the “identifyUser” method of our Web-Client. If you installed Refiner through Google Tag Manager, you can also identify users when setting up the tag.

Our Mobile SDKs also offers a “identifyUser” method.

In addition to providing user data with our Web-Client and Mobile SDK, you can complement user data with our REST API and integrations (e.g. Segment).

Email Survey

Email surveys work with our without identifying your users. When generating the HTML code for your emails, you can choose from a list of supported emailing solutions. If you select a provider, the HTML code includes special tags that will identify survey respondents with their email address or user ID.

Survey Links

Survey links can be shared with or without user identifiers. Adding URL parameters to your links allows you to identify users, as well as provide additional contextual data.

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