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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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Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi everyone,

 

I am sure this has been spoken about many times before, but I cannot search for the information required and get a clear understanding of what I am seeing in my Analytics so can someone please help?  As I understand it these are the below explanations, please correct if I am wrong.

 

Sessions:

This is any different event that has happened on the site per visitor.  1 person can rack up many sessions.

 

New Users:

These are unique visitors that have landed on your site for the first time

 

Users:

This is total of unique and returning traffic.

 

Returning Visitor and New Visitor:

If we go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning, we see new visitor and returning visitor filtered on sessions.  While this is useful to some extent, i want to know how I can show what my true unique and returning visitors are, is this simply Users minus New users?

 

Additionally, why in my stats do I have new users '2899' and new visitor '2904'.  What is the difference here please?

 

Thanks in advance.

James

Re: Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
You have a few of these mixed up:

Sessions are basically a group of interactions/events that take place on your website within a given time frame by a user. A single user can have multiple sessions. There are two methods by which a session ends:

Time-based expiration (including end of day):
After 30 minutes of inactivity
At midnight
Campaign change:
If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.

Read more: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2731565?hl=en
More: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032796?hl=en

Users : Unique (to the best of Google Analytics ability to define a unique user using cookies and so on.. read more here http://cutroni.com/blog/2014/02/05/understanding-digital-analytics-data/) visitors who may have had one or more session over various lengths of time.

New Users: A visitor who did not have Google Analytics cookies when they hit the first page in this visit. If a visitor deletes their cookies and comes back to the site, the visitor will be counted as a new visitor.

There are MANY subtle differences between these metrics. Try reading this as a place to start
http://cutroni.com/blog/2014/02/05/understanding-digital-analytics-data/

As for your new and returning users, yes use the New vs Returning Report.

A session is the same as a visit. A user is the same as a visitor. I have no idea why those two metrics are different for you, I will look into it!

Re: Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for the clarifications Abbie! I'm also trying to find total users (new + returning) broken down by month. As James mentions above, when I look at the New vs Returning report, only new users is called out. There's a new user column but no 'total users' or 'returning users' column. I tried creating a custom report (to capture the breakdown by month) but didn't see an option to pull all users. Are we missing it?

Re: Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
Sessions is the "simple answer" when asking for a total number of users of your site.

However, if you want to get really granular, I suggest you read this https://www.e-nor.com/blog/google-analytics/google-analytics-new-labels-mystery-of-the-returning-vis... it explains very well the issues with these metrics.

What I think is important to mention though, is why you are using these numbers. What question are you trying to answer with them? At my agency, we take sessions to mean "visitors" and would treat converted/goal containing sessions as "users".

If you want to know how many people are visiting your site within a time period, use sessions.

If you want to know how many people are coming back to your site several times within a time period, use return users.

If you want to know how many people are USING your site, I'd look at conversion/goal containing sessions, and return visitors/multiple sessions

Re: Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Abbie,

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  After having done some further reading I think I have come to an understanding at what I am looking at.

 I have setup a users by user type report showing a new visitor (new user) vs a returning visitor

 

Also a sessions by user type report reporting on the same new visitor and returning visitor.

For me it was important that I manually separated these reports because the data is very different.  For example, I have 43% returning visitors this month, yet out of those 43% they have created 70% of all sessions.

 

Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hey,

Help me on this statement-

It's possible for the value of the metric Sessions to be less than the value of New Users.

 

Thanks in advance.

Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

No,

It looks like every time a user visits a site, a 'client id' is created and stored in the cookies and GA server.  A user could clear their cookies and create a new 'client id'

resouce here: https://www.optimizesmart.com/understanding-users-in-google-analytics/

 

Also a user can have more than one session, i didn't see any documentation that a 'client id' could share a session with another 'client id', technically the same person could use two browsers, but my understanding is that each one would create a unique 'client id', thus 2 or more unique visits from the same device.

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

Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

So, the statement is wrong. Is this what you are trying to say?

If yes, its on google analytics tutorials.

If no, I didn't get which scenario is being refer.

 

Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

When I checked my website analytics, New users are higher than sessions. Is that possible? What kind of error it can be. Have anyone else found such error in your analytics. Can someone let me know how to solve this issue.

 

For Ex: Number of Sessions in a Month are 2,215 Whereas Number of New Users  in the same Month were 2,556

 

can someone help me here

Sessions Vs Users Vs New Users Vs New Visitor Vs Returning Visitor

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

The statement is correct.

Session counts only happen on the first pageview. If you are looking at a segmented report and the users started their session elsewhere then the session will not be incremented within that segment. All other metrics should continue to function as normal.