what are users and sessions? – WAU

Google Analytics is one of the main online monitoring tools on the market. If you want to have a successful digital marketing strategy, then you need to closely monitor how each action is performing. However, it is very common to think that Analytics is just a tool that measures and provides numbers. Good, […]

Google Analytics is one of the main online monitoring tools on the market.

If you want to have a successful digital marketing strategy, then you need to closely monitor how each action is performing.

However, it is very common to think that Analytics is just a tool that measures and provides numbers. Well, that’s not true!

The data that is collected by GA is a valuable source of insights and ideas for your company, as they follow:

  • The behavior of your visitors;
  • What are your favorite pages;
  • Which AdWords campaigns are performing best;
  • Where the highest volume of traffic to your site comes from and more.

But to start with Analytics, you need to understand some basic points about this very complete monitoring tool.

To take the first step, understanding what users and sessions are is fundamental!

Follow now a post made especially for you who want to better understand Google Analytics and start using this very important tool.

Come on?

The Complete Google Analytics Guide

Understand how to use this amazing analysis tool.

Why use Google Analytics?

If there is an advantage that digital marketing has brought to the marketing teams, it is the possibility to measure and monitor each aspect of the strategies adopted by the business.

However, many teams have not yet understood (or prefer to ignore) the importance of numbers and data for marketing.

The variety of channels available is a factor that makes it difficult to measure results. But, fortunately, GA is a tool that manages to bring together the vast majority of them!

You can’t create a blog and not track the volume of hits, can you?

At the same time, your AdWords and Facebook Ads campaigns need constant monitoring.

And which will be the social network that is directing more hits to your website?

If you’ve been thinking about how to keep up with all this time, guess what the answer is? O Google Analytics!

It follows all these processes in a super simple and practical way.

With the installation of an HTML code on your pages, or with the accompaniment of a conversion Pixel, it is possible to monitor the vast majority of your channels and collect interesting data on the behavior of your users.

What makes us think: what are users for Google Analytics?

What are users?

Users are all visitors who interacted with your website or blog, over a period of time.

In the past, this metric was called “visitors”, being divided between unique and active visitors. Now, the division is made between users and active users.

A user is defined as a visitor who came to your site and browsed at least one page.

This monitoring is done through cookies that the websites store in your browser. These cookies allow us to identify a user who returns to your website and constantly browses your pages.

Active users are all unique users who have started a new session within your website or application, in a given period of time.

If that user stays active within your site and accesses multiple pages, he will still count as just one user.

How is the “users” metric calculated?

There are two ways that Google Analytics uses to calculate this metric. They are divided between pre-calculated data and immediately calculated data.

Pre-calculated data uses the number of sessions within a specific period to calculate the metric.

This information is known as “customer schedule”, as it maps that visitor’s access points and fills a table with this information.

Thus, whenever necessary, Analytics can consult this data and export a report for users in a certain period of time.

The immediately calculated data is more complete. This method is used when more variables are inserted into a report, for example.

To add any filter, GA will calculate users based on the cookies stored within each visitor’s browsers.

Then, a set of data stored in the browser of your readers will determine if that is an active user, what pages they have visited, where they are from and will collect all relevant data for your marketing team.

What are sessions?

A session is a set of actions that users perform within your website or blog.

For you to understand how this metric works, it is important to understand the following: if the user has been inactive for 30 minutes, that is, he has not interacted with any page on your site, then his session is automatically ended.

If he left your page and came back after 30 minutes, then he held two sessions.

But, if he left and returned within that time frame, then the session remains the same.

The same is true if the user continues to browse your pages for more than 30 minutes. As long as it is active, the session is the same!

A user can open multiple sessions over the course of a day, week or month. The sessions bring together all the actions performed by the user within the site.

How the “sessions” metric is calculated

Let’s assume that João arrived on your blog through a Google search.

After reading his article, he clicked on another article, then interacted with a CTA and downloaded an e-book. All of this lasted 40 minutes.

As you already know, a session expires in 30 minutes, but as João has remained active, all of this navigation counts as one session!

To understand this metric a little better, imagine the following: at 2 pm João opened the first post, so his session is set to expire at 2:30 pm.

However, at 2:15 pm, he clicked on the second post and his session was postponed to expire at 2:45 pm.


For each new event within a page, Google Analytics sets up that session to expire in 30 minutes.

But what if John takes a lunch break of exactly 31 minutes?

Upon returning to browse his blog and leave the period of inactivity, João will have started a new session. Therefore, it will be the same user making a new session on the blog.

Do you understand?

There are also two more ways to create a new session within Analytics.

The first is with the change from 23: 59hr to 00hr. The start of a new day automatically creates a new session, even if the user is active within the site.

The second form is called “campaign change”.

Suppose John came to your blog through an organic search on Google, but soon after, he performed a new search and clicked on an advertisement for your company.

Each of these clicks resulted in a new session, as the means of capturing this user were different.

What are the main Google Analytics metrics?

Sessions and users are two of the main metrics in Analytics.

But they are not the only ones! They are also often confused with others.

So, how about we take a look at the differences between the main metrics used by marketing teams?

Clicks vs. Sessions

Clicks are counted within AdWords and sessions within Analytics.

Apparently, clicks and sessions are two metrics that are constantly confused because both are measured through user actions.

But will we see the difference between them?

If a user clicks on an AdWords ad multiple times, your campaign will show multiple clicks.

But, if he performed all of those clicks within 30 minutes, Analytics will show only one session.

Do you remember why?

Because while the user is active within 30 minutes, he is still in the same session!

As the origin of the same user was always through the campaign of sponsored links, the continuous session as unique, there is no so-called “campaign change”.

Sessions vs. users

To understand a little better how these metrics relate, let’s see how a new session with the same user appears.

At sessions represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all users of your site.

If the user has been inactive for 30 minutes or more, the session is automatically ended.

But, if that user returns to browse your site, a new session will be created, however, the same user will be counted.

Future sessions by the same user are counted as new sessions!

Pageviews vs. Unique Pageviews

Page views are all individual views within the same session.

If a user is on a page, returns to the home page of your site and then returns to the same page that was before, then 3 pages were displayed in total, even one of them being repeated.

The display of single pages unifies all displays within the same session.

A single page view represents the number of sessions during which the same page was viewed one or more times.

Single page views vs. sessions

As you saw just above, the unique page views and sessions are closely linked. But they don’t mean the same thing!

If the same page is displayed in the first and third sessions of a user, it will have a single page view equal to 2, right?

However, the user will have a total of 3 sessions.

Understanding this difference is important to not confuse the metrics, but to understand how they can be used to improve the analysis of user behavior.

3 tips to increase the number of users

AdWords campaigns

Sponsored link campaigns on the search network are good tactics to attract more users to your pages.

If you have a blog, you can create ads for the main posts. In an e-commerce, create ads for the main products you sell, and so on!

Share on social networks

Creating a community from social media is one of the best ways to attract new visitors to your website.

You can share in groups, share your content and even create new posts, like on LinkedIn.
Social Media Marketing Kit

Expand keyword search

Creating content for new terms is a good idea. More users will have contact with your pages, since the content you will create addresses topics sought by people who are not yet part of your network of followers.

3 tips to increase the number of sessions

Create a newsletter

Increasing the number of sessions means increasing your users’ engagement.

New users generate new sessions, but repeat visitors can be encouraged to access your pages more often.

You can start by creating a newsletter. It will share the latest updates from your website, blog or store, and attract new sessions!

Improve email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is a sensational tool to activate users. Through a well-designed campaign, it is possible to send the right content, at the right time, to the right person.

Thus, you will engage that user and encourage him to click on your CTA. You can use email marketing to advertise an e-book, a post or even a product.

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By |2020-03-07T06:58:35+00:00March 7th, 2020|Digital Marketing|