Spec: Alias

The alias method is used to merge two user identities, effectively connecting two sets of user data as one. This is an advanced method, but it is required to manage user identities successfully in some of our integrations.

Since this is our most advanced method we have added sections to each docs page for integrations that use it:

Here’s the payload of a basic alias call that will associate this user’s existing id (email address) with a new one (a database ID), with most common fields removed:

{
  "type": "alias",
  "previousId": "jen@email.com",
  "userId": "507f191e81"
}

If you’re instrumenting a website, then the Anonymous ID is generated in the browser so you’ll want to call alias from the client-side. If you’re using a server-side session ID as the Anonymous ID, then you’ll want to alias from the server-side.

Here’s the corresponding Javascript event that would generate the above payload. If you’re using Segment’s Javascript library, we’ll automatically pass in the user’s anonymousId as previousId for you:

analytics.alias("507f191e81");

Beyond the common fields, the alias call takes the following fields:

FieldTypeDescription
previousId requiredStringPrevious unique identifier for the user

See the Previous ID field docs for more detail

userId requiredStringUnique identifier for the user in your database

A userId or anonymousId is required

See the Identities docs for more detail

Examples

Here’s a complete example of an alias call:

{
  "anonymousId": "507f191e810c19729de860ea",
  "channel": "browser",
  "context": {
    "ip": "8.8.8.8",
    "userAgent": "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/40.0.2214.115 Safari/537.36"
  },
  "integrations": {
    "All": true,
    "Mixpanel": false,
    "Salesforce": false
  },
  "messageId": "022bb90c-bbac-11e4-8dfc-aa07a5b093db",
  "previousId": "39239-239239-239239-23923",
  "receivedAt": "2015-02-23T22:28:55.387Z",
  "sentAt": "2015-02-23T22:28:55.111Z",
  "timestamp": "2015-02-23T22:28:55.111Z",
  "type": "alias",
  "userId": "507f191e81",
  "version": "1.1"
}

Previous ID

The previousId is the existing ID you’ve referred to the user by. It might be an Anonymous ID assigned to that user or a User ID you previously identified them with using our identify call.

User ID

The userId is a string that will be the user’s new identity, or an existing identity that you wish to merge with the previousId. See the User ID docs for more detail.


If you have any questions or see anywhere we can improve our documentation, please let us know or kick off a conversation in the Segment Community!