Get a fix on User, New user, Session and Pageviews of Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most alluring visitors’ tracking tool to a webmaster. I think, as a free tool, there is no alternative to Google Analytics for tracking, controlling and analyzing visitors’ behavior and activities accurately from different angle from a single place.

But, though a free tool, it is not free (not easy) to understand all the features and functionalities. You must employ time, energy, efforts and attention and go through years of experience to capture it completely and draw full benefits out of it.

New Analytics user are likely to halt frequently while trying to get desired result. However, we’re here going to clarify the most wanted terms User, New user, Session and Pageviews which might be puzzling to you whether new or old users. If you haven’t yet connected your site with Google Analytics, consider the following articles to be the set-up guideline-

User, New user, Session, Pageviews- What is what

If you’re a passionate blogger and GA user, where you want to cast your eye first in the morning after night-long waiting is Audience Overview page in Google Analytics. This is the screen (screenshot below) where you stare at the glaring or frustrating matrix values that consciously or unconsciously make you sad or glad. however, if you’re not quite sure what each term exactly means, this cannot draw any picture of your site in mind.

User, Session and Pageviews
User/New user

When any user/visitor enters your site for the first time, he/she is New user (Suppose Mr. David). If Mr. David revisits your site next time, he is Returning visitor/user. User is the total of New user and Returning user. New user is also called Unique visitor.

Now, how can Google identify/calculate whether a visitor comes for the first time or next time; in other word, whether a visitor is New or Returning?

Does Google identify by name or email or IP Address?

Simple answer is: Google identifies a User by user’s device IP Address and by the help of Cookie sent to User’s Browser. Learn more about IP Address here

The whole process is: When a New User enters your site, Google assigns a Client ID and stores that ID in a sent Cookie in user’s browser. Google does not know a person but treats user’s device (in other word- device IP) as a person. When the same visitor from same device enters your site next time, Browser sends the same Client ID back to Google. Thus Google recognizes the prestored ID in their database and considers it Returning visitor.

Cookie: In web transmission technology, Cookie is related with web browser. Different websites send a text file to the browser when a visitor browses that site first. This is especially done to make browsing easier and pleasant for that visitor when he/she visits next time. This piece of text is called Cookie. Cookie records user’s activities. During next-time visit, Browser sends recorded Cookie to the server. Thus server knows user’s trend, search preference, language, address, log-in info and much more things which are essential to make browsing easier to users.

QUESTION: Suppose Mr. David visited a site ‘’ from his Desktop device first time. Next he visited the same site from Smartphone? How would he be treated to GA?
ANSWER: As New User. Two devices bears different IP.

QUESTION: What if Mr. David visits same site from same device but by different Browser? Suppose he first visited by Mozilla and then by Chrome.
ANSWER: He’ll be treated as New user. GA sends different Client ID to different browser Cookie.


Session is a single period of time a user spends on a website. Simply when a visitor enters a site, a Session starts and ends when he/she leaves. GA considers all the surfing, views and inter-activities during that period as one Session.

Pageview is simply view of a webpage. When a user land on a page, it is a Pageview. Then he clicks a link and reaches different page. This is another pageview.

Reloading and revisiting a page is also counted as separate pageview. So, during a session, a user can records numerous Pageviews.

QUESTION: Mr. David started to visit a site; after a while he went to bathroom and came back in 20 minutes and started browsing again. Will that be counted as one or two sessions ?
ANSWER: One Session. GA records end of a Session after browsing remains inactive for 30 minutes.

Hope you already got the gist of this presentation on User, New user, Session and Pageviews in Google Analytics. Expect comment!

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