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Real-Time Definitions - Users and Sessions

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Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all,

 

We have an unnecessarily complex website at hand that is difficult to pin down live users during peaks due to skewed numbers.

 

Please could someone provide a definition of what is a session and what is a user?

 

Sometimes we have one double the other, a few minutes later it's the other way around!

 

Any help much appreciated (we are an arts charity!)

2 Expert replyverified_user

Real-Time Definitions - Users and Sessions

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi, George T,

 

You probably won't get a better definition than what is already out there if you search for it (not meant to be snarky about it!).

 

For example:

 

https://www.gravitatedesign.com/blog/what-are-sessions-users-google-analytics/

https://analytical42.com/2016/users-and-sessions-in-google-analytics/

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2016/05/23/google-analytics-users-two-calculations/

Session definition - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en

 

Again, sorry for not really giving my own (probably incomplete) response of what the differences are, but I'm positive that you'll learn much more reading those than reading two or three of my own sentences on the differences! They give good examples, too!

Nicky Yuen, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Real-Time Definitions - Users and Sessions

Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

Adding to @Nicky Y's great answer - I assume you are looking at the real time reports, when you say 'live'. Do you see see similarly confusing trends in your standard reports (i.e. not real time reports). You should always have more, or at least the same number of sessions than users. It's possible to have exactly the same number of sessions as users, but that would be unusual. I also wonder if real time reporting is delivering what you need - what actions are you taking when you see peaks of traffic? If you have campaigns which are being activated, then real time can be useful to see that they are having an immediate effect but the RT interface is pretty limited. The latency of the standard reports is about an hour - depending on volumes and whether or not you are using premium - which may be sufficient for you.

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
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