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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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How to find out the REAL number of New Visitors per period?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I created a custom report that displays New Visitors and Recurring Visitors per December 2015.

Then I noticed that for New Visitors Google does not count those who visited the website more than once during December 2015, even if their first session on this website was on this month. I.e. New Visitors in Google's eyes are only those visitors which have only one session per report period.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 23.33.37.png

That is not particularly useful for some of the calculations I wanted to do so I tried to solve it by creating custom segments. I.e. a segment for Date of First Session within December in 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 21.11.12.png

However it turns out that even segment like this does not include users which have more than one session during the report period: 

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 21.12.45.png

So I wonder is there any way at all to find out the actual number of visitors that discovered my website during selected period (say December in 2015) ?

Re: How to find out the REAL number of New Visitors per period?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Visitors aka Users is not a reliable metric. What Google calls "Users" are not really actual users but instances of a tracking cookie that's created the first time someone uses your site. "Users" is inflated a lot. Just to demonstrate using a fictional scenario-
John visits your site from his home computer using 2 different browsers - 2 new users added
He also used his smartphone to visit your site - another new user
...and his tablet - another new user
He went to work and browsed the site there (again) - another user
Every instance of Private Browsing/Incognito mode - another user added for each instance (if the user closes and opens the browser)
Every time a user deletes cookies from his browser, the next time he visits your site, another new user.

If you have a website that requires users to log in to use you can implement the UserID feature, it will help give you more accurate user stats. I would explain this to your boss/client. Me personally, I focus on Session-level KPIs instead of Users.

Re: How to find out the REAL number of New Visitors per period?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I agree with you. It all makes sense, there will be more than one "user" per actual user. But in my case (based on how users typically use the website) I think the difference is not game changing.

By the way - I tried to tackle the problem with "New Users" on my own. I.e. I adjusted javascript to read the first visit's timestamp of __utma cookie (and _ga cookie for universal analytics). And then I pass that timestamp as an additional user dimension to GA. Now I can create user segments based on my custom dimension and it won't add the filter of "sessions=1" the way GA does when I use "Date of First Sessions" method.
I will wait for data to accumulate, hopefully it will work.