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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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Users vs sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello.

 

Can somone please help me understand the user and sessions data ?

 

I have had GA on my site for a month ... I have 3.232 users but only 1,851 ... 

 

Shouldn't users be equal to or higher then sessions ... or is users counting return visitors as a new user ? If so how can I see unique visitors?

Thanks you for you help ... I feel that these are amatuer questions ... but I'm an amateur so that's okay Smiley Happy

Cheers
Ryan

Users vs sessions

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Ryan,

 

Sessions


The definition of the session - a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. (default is 30 minutes). Let me give you an example because this might be hard to envision. 

Example 1:

 

Basically, I am Taavi and I visit yourwebsite.com and I go there at 3PM and then I look around and view a couple of pages on that website and then I leave and I don’t come back until 4PM. So basically, I come back one hour later, so it means that I have created 2 different sessions because these visits where not within that 30-minute window.

 

Example 2:

 

If I visit the website at 3PM, then leave and browse the other websites and come back at 3:20PM, that would be one single session because it’s within that 30 minutes window. When I first arrive on your site, the session is set to expire at 14:31. As I continue through your site, viewing pages and triggering events, each of these additional requests moves the expiry ahead 30 minutes. So basically, that’s how it works.

 

So a session is basically an each unique time frame that somebody is looking at your website. The window of 30 minutes is good for almost every single situation so you can stick it with 30 minutes but there are some places where you might need to have either a longer or shorter session duration.

 

For example when you’re having long blog posts on your website that may take more than 30 minutes to read or you have longer than 30 minutes videos on your site, then you should think about changing this session duration.

 

There are many other things that might affect the number of sessions in Google Analytics:

 

1) Session timeout

2) Midnight timeout

3) Acquisition campaigns

4) Referral exclusion list

5) Cross-domain tracking

6) sessionControl parameter

 

If you visit this official page, you can read more about that stuff.

 

Users

  

Basically, users are the number of unique cookies that have been seen over a specified period of time.

 

What I mean by that is, when we are looking our data for a month of our website and we’re saying “I want to look at everybody who visited my website over the course of the last 30 days.”

 

If somebody came into your website 5 different times outside of that 30-minute window they would have 5 different sessions but they would still just be one user because that person you have seen over and over again. They have 5 sessions and 1 user.

 

Basically, a user is just an aggregate of the number of unique computers or cookies that we have seen on our website. Now, this can be an inflated number when we think about things like people clearing their cookies and people visit our page with mobile devices or with our browsers.

 

Keep in mind, the number of users that we have is an inaccurate number of how many unique computers we have seen.

 

If you'd like to dig deeper, I recommend reading those 3 articles and you'll learn a lot more (I just don't wanna go too deep right away ):

 

1) https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2992042?hl=en

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

3) https://www.optimizesmart.com/understanding-users-in-google-analytics/

 

Sessions are counted on the landing page - the first page of the session. Basically, if you're looking at pages in your report (if your custom report for example), the sessions column shows the number of times that page was the first page in the session. If you would like to see the number of sessions that included the page, you should use unique page views instead.

 

One more thing, Google Analytics does not report on unique users. You can analyze New Users and Returning Users separately but Google Analytics also count both new users as returning users if users return within the selected time period. Thus there can be an overlap between new and returning users. A new user can also be labeled as a returning user by Google Analytics.

 

Let's be honest, Google Analytics is not that simple but hopefully, you learned something new. Smiley Happy

 

Hope this helps.

Taavi

Users vs sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thank you Taavi ....

Just to clarify I am seeing more users then sessions not the other way around.

 

i.e. 3,232 users but only 1,851 sessions ... could this be because of people using different devices ?

 

Once again I'm sorry for my ignorance in this area ...

Ryan

Users vs sessions

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

From which dashboard or report did you get this information?

 

This may occur when you're viewing the session-level metric against any sort of page-level dimension because sessions are incremented on, and are therefore associated with, the first hit of the session.

 

It usually occurs (you'll see more sessions than users) when you're using hour dimension or page dimension in a custom report along with sessions and users.

 

Here you can read more about that: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2934985?hl=en

 

Taavi

 

Users vs sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks again Taavi...

It is my audience overview page... no added "vs"

 

I just click audience then overview. 

 

Is this what you mean ? ? Thanks again for your help

Users vs sessions

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Ryan, could you please share the URL of your website?

 

Have you configured any non-interaction events on your website?

 

This is not normal that you see more sessions than users in your Audience report.

There needs to be something wrong with the implementation or either there's just a

lot of spam in your reports.

 

Thanks,
Taavi

 

Users vs sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

my webiste is

 

www.animaltrainingacademy.com

 

But it's more users then sessions ... just to clarify ...


Users vs sessions

Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 8
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi @Ryan C

Can you paste screenshot of this report ? after striking out any any info that you want to keep confidential.

Regards, Nik
LinkedIn  |   @nikhilparachure | My Blog

Users vs sessions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Nic.


Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it ... Here's some screenshots

 

Cheers
Ryan

Re: Users vs sessions

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

More users than sessions implies that you have sessions that have no page views at all. You can identify if this is the problem by creating a segment for:

 

"Include Sessions where Page Views = 0"

 

This is how this segment looks like in GA:

 

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 06.51.19.png

 

You can import this segment to your GA account from here are well. I already created that for you.

 

If you apply this segment, what do you see in your reports? Do you see any sessions?

 

Another question that helps to understand the situation - could you please take one more screenshot of your report where all the Top Events are shown? (Reporting > Behaviour > Events > Top Events)

 

top events.png

 

Do you see any events in this Top Events report?

 

If you have some events there, take a look at this report in GA with and without this segment that I mentioned above. Do you see any difference there?

 

Hope this helps. Looking forward to hearing from you Ryan.

Taavi