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Learn to identify referral spam traffic, as well as best practices to reduce referral spam in your Google Analytics account
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Do hits to the page with different ref codes count as 2 people?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hey everyone! 


Quick question. In the content overview page if I see the same page listed with different ref codes at the end, does Google see those as different or unique people? 


For example, If I hit  and then in the same month I hit directly, does google see that as two unique hits? 


In the screenshot below, I'm trying to figure out exactly how many unique visitors I have. But often people will hit the page with a ref code, and without. So I'm wanting to make sure I'm not double counting them. 

Screenshot at Oct 26 19-17-02.png

1 Expert replyverified_user

Do hits to the page with different ref codes count as 2 people?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

First little clarfication on the terminology, to be on the safe side Smiley Happy

Users have sessions that are collection of hits (page views in you case)


Unless you have additional tracking set up to track user ids you will see the number of unique users correctly based on cookie GA has set on the users device/browser regardless what pages those users load:


I am John, I load page with ref=john today and ref=johnny tomorrow. In GA I am counted as 1 user unless you have additional tracking to separate those sessions to different users.


Same as today ref=john tomorrow no ref=john in any URL that I load -> GA counts me as 1 user


Then another aspect:

If I am John. I load with my laptop Chrome browser your page with ref=john. I later switch to my mobile and load ref=john. I ran out of battery and Chrome crashes, I take Firefox and load your page with ref=john

This leads to 3 unique users in your GA reports.


So to report more reliably your unique users you need some back-end coding that produces user IDs based on login. But in that case you face inaccuracies with do-not-track people and people flushing their cookies etc.


Hopefully this was helpful and gives you enough information to decide where you want to go. One of your options is also to do nothing and take these things into consideration when you analyse the reports.


If you need further assistance we can certainly help you in all of those cases.


To make bad day worse, spend it wishing for the impossible

Antti Nylund, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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