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user acquisition user vs session level

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi,

 

When creating Segments in GA I can choose to filter Traffic Sources on User level and on Session level.

 

1. Is the User level Traffic Source determined the first time user visits the website and nevere changes again?

2. Does the Session level Traffic Source gets updated each time the user visits the website?

3. Does the same user can have a single Traffic Source (first time visit) on User level and multiple Traffic Sources on Session level?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully answer!

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

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Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Tadas P
February 2016

Re: user acquisition user vs session level

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆

There are few concepts you need to understand:
1. General hierarchy
2. Data scope
3. Segments ≠ filters

First, you must understand the general hierarchy of web data which is basically like this:
Users have sessions
Sessions have hits

So the basic numerical relationship is:
users ≤ sessions ≤ hits

Second, dimensions and metrics are 'scoped' by definition. They can be user, session, hit, or product. You will mostly use the user, session, and hit scoped ones though. These scopes define the level at which the dimensions or metrics are applied and stored. Finding a list of these dimensions would be great, and let me know if you do, but mostly you can figure out the scope by just thinking about it logically. There is a metrics list here:
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/reporting/core/v3/segments#metrics-scope-reference

The simplest way to put it is that dimensions are 'overwritten' whenever they are set and metrics 'accumulate' within their scope. If anyone has a better way to put it, then please do.

Third, and last, you need to understand that a segment is not a filter, per se. Segment are a way of grouping data based on the specified scope having attributes that meet your requirements. So to answer your questions:

1. Is the User level Traffic Source determined the first time user visits the website and never changes again?

**Traffic source is a session scoped dimension. So a user-scoped segment will return all sessions for users who had at least one sessions that meet the meet the traffic source criteria.

 

2. Does the Session level Traffic Source gets updated each time the user visits the website?
**Because it's a session level dimension, it's captured almost every time that GA views the visit as a new session.


3. Does the same user can have a single Traffic Source (first time visit) on User level and multiple Traffic Sources on Session level?

**Again, since the traffic source dimension is scoped at the session level, each session has traffic source. The first session by a user will have a specific source that won't change, but it's important to understand that this isn't a user dimension, rather it's an attribute of the users first session.

 

 

 

View solution in original post

Re: user acquisition user vs session level

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
@Tadas P

Hi,

1. Yes, because on Session level you give the information about Traffic Source every Session.
2. Each time of every session (not user of course).
3. Yes, if some users visits your website only Source Direct -> he has single Traffic Source (Direct) with few sessions (every Traffic Source - Direct).

SH
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Tadas P
February 2016

Re: user acquisition user vs session level

Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ☆ ☆

There are few concepts you need to understand:
1. General hierarchy
2. Data scope
3. Segments ≠ filters

First, you must understand the general hierarchy of web data which is basically like this:
Users have sessions
Sessions have hits

So the basic numerical relationship is:
users ≤ sessions ≤ hits

Second, dimensions and metrics are 'scoped' by definition. They can be user, session, hit, or product. You will mostly use the user, session, and hit scoped ones though. These scopes define the level at which the dimensions or metrics are applied and stored. Finding a list of these dimensions would be great, and let me know if you do, but mostly you can figure out the scope by just thinking about it logically. There is a metrics list here:
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/reporting/core/v3/segments#metrics-scope-reference

The simplest way to put it is that dimensions are 'overwritten' whenever they are set and metrics 'accumulate' within their scope. If anyone has a better way to put it, then please do.

Third, and last, you need to understand that a segment is not a filter, per se. Segment are a way of grouping data based on the specified scope having attributes that meet your requirements. So to answer your questions:

1. Is the User level Traffic Source determined the first time user visits the website and never changes again?

**Traffic source is a session scoped dimension. So a user-scoped segment will return all sessions for users who had at least one sessions that meet the meet the traffic source criteria.

 

2. Does the Session level Traffic Source gets updated each time the user visits the website?
**Because it's a session level dimension, it's captured almost every time that GA views the visit as a new session.


3. Does the same user can have a single Traffic Source (first time visit) on User level and multiple Traffic Sources on Session level?

**Again, since the traffic source dimension is scoped at the session level, each session has traffic source. The first session by a user will have a specific source that won't change, but it's important to understand that this isn't a user dimension, rather it's an attribute of the users first session.

 

 

 

Re: user acquisition user vs session level

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
@VariantArray

Really amazing answer Smiley Happy

Re: user acquisition user vs session level

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the great answers. It really provides a more indepth understanding of GA. A quick follow up if you don't mind. If I select to segment data based on - Users level Traffic Source it will segment on the first session source? For example, if user A first visit came via website X, I would like to see his behaviour attributed to website X even though the second time he came through website Y, but not vice versa (if user B first visit was via Y and second via X, I don't want to see user B in the segmented data). So essentially I would like to track a long term value of a particular source.