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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
 
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Clarification on new vs. returning users for time period

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# 1
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I want to make sure I'm correct on this.

 

Let's say I want to run a New User report for Dec. 1-7

 

If  User X visited my site on Nov. 25, then again on Dec. 5 with the same cookie, would that user show up as a new user in my report? My understanding has always been no because the cookie already exists.

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Re: Clarification on new vs. returning users for time period

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Andy
This is actually surprisingly complicated. The answer is, it depends where you're looking (what report).
For non-time based dimensions and without any custom segments etc., you are correct, the user will not show up as new (in new -vs returning) as they still have the cookie.
There are a number of situations where this is not the case though. This article explains what happens and why it happens: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2992042?hl=en

Re: Clarification on new vs. returning users for time period

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# 3
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Hello Dave Smiley Happy
Fancy bumping into you here! Hope you're keeping well!

I'm trying to find out how GA defines and tracks a "new" or "returning" user- cookies/IP? Is there a set time period that if they've visited longer than that period they then show as "new user" or is "returning user" mean "Of all time"; anyone who has ever visited your site? (Unless they've cleared cookies/changed IP)?

Re: Clarification on new vs. returning users for time period

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
Hi Claire. Long time, no speak. Hope you're well too!

The answer is, it depends. The cookie is browser based, not IP based and it actually contains a few parameters to differentiate sessions and activity and to throttle requests going back up to 2 years.

The dev doc explains this pretty well, better than I can actually: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage#customization

Let me know if you have any specific question relating to that chart/table and I'll dive a bit deeper.