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"USERS" count for a years usage of our system doesnt make sense...

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭



We are using Google Analytics to give us better statistical data/reports from our Learning Management System, and for monthly and daily counts of "USERS" the numbers makes sense. The system has 90.000 registered users, and of these there are realistically max. 40000 active users.

However when I chose a timespan that spans a year, I get a "USERS" count of 280916 users. I dont understand this number - we dont have that many registered users and only the loginpage is publicly accessible.

The definition of "USERS" in the "Audience", "Overview" part of Google Analytics is:

""Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users."

So why would there be more "USERS" in the report than there are registered users on the system?


Best regards


Thomas Nielsen

Aarhus University


1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: "USERS" count for a years usage of our system doesnt mak

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

a User is not really a User - it is the clientId which Google Analytics library generates and which is sent with each hit within a session. This client Id is usually stored as a cookie (_ga) on a device. If a user has multiple devices it will usually be tracked as a separate user (in case of Google Analytics).

So for example you use 3 devices - tablet. smartphone and a desktop pc for GA if you visited the site with all 3 devices the user count will be at least 3 (as each of the browsers on a single device may be seen as a separate user).

If you need a more realistic count of users note that there is a new feature available with universal analytics which uses a new dimension, UserId, which in a way stitches all devices into one single user (a prerequisite is that the person logs in from all devices and you can supply that value for all GA hits (pageviews, events ...)) - more info on the subject can be found here -

Kind regards,
Web analyst @

Re: "USERS" count for a years usage of our system doesnt mak

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Since it Includes both new and returning users, count would be approximately doubled or tripled as compared to your registered users in the system.


please refer:


also try to run report in :


for ga:users metric.

Re: "USERS" count for a years usage of our system doesnt mak

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
From your metrics, I can sense that you are using the Classic Google Analytics.

There isn't any cross device tracking in this version (universal Analytics had this feature). Because of this if a same user visiting the site from three different devices then it will be counted as Three users instead of single user.

Because of the above reason you getting users number greater than the actual registered users.

Hope this helpful.