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4 Google Analytics Metrics You Should Know And Understand

The purpose of this article is to prevent some errors in reports. Especially when answering questions such as “How many visits have come to the X page?”, it is important for us to not have any problems. Therefore, on the most fundamental basis, we will talk about the definitions of 4 metrics to reveal both the relationship between them and the relationship between dimensions. 

What is a User? 

User refers to each unique cookie entering your website. As you know, Google Analytics associates the data to be collected with the web browser cookie. Therefore, actions taken from a website, from the same computer ordevice, but belonging to different browsers (including the hidden tab), areprocessed and reported to different users in Google Analytics.

What is a Session? 

Session means the period of time that users are active on the website. This period may vary for each Google Analytics property (owners can change it), but is defined as 30 minutes by default. This means; “If a user didn’t take any action during a session which Google Analytics would understand, then the session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity.”. Here, 30 minutes starts from the “last moment” Google Analytics is aware of the user. 

So, what is the meaning of “an action Google Analytics would understand?” 

Not everything you do on a website may be passed on to Google Analytics. For example, the action of bookmarking on an e-commerce site may not have been defined as an action by the Google Analytics administrator of that e-commerce site. In this case, Google Analytics will not be aware of the user’s action, and this will not contribute/prolong to the length of the session. 

What is a Pageview? 

Pageview is the state of loading or reloading a page in a browser. The sum ofthis value for all pages is the Total Pageviews of the website. 

What is a Unique Pageview? 

Unique Pageviews means the number of sessions in which a page has been viewed at least once. For example, suppose we view a site “…/example-1” page5 times in the same session. In such a case, Unique Pageviews will be 1 for that session, but Pageviews will be 5

Where Can We Use These Metrics? 

It’s critical to know, exactly what these 4 metrics really mean. Because to get more accurate reports and more in-depth analysis, we need to know which metrics goes with which dimensions. 

Knowing these meanings clearly will give us a chance to understand the answers to some questions correctly. Below, we listed some of the questions that may be asked. 

How many visitors came to which page? 

I did a test and as a new user, I created a visit to analyticsturkey.com from the hidden tab, and I went to the following pages respectively. 

Landing Page: …/affiliate-marketing-performansi/ 

Second Page: …/donusum-olasiligi/ 

Third Page: …/organik-ve-direct-trafik/ 

Fourth Page: …/wi-fi-hucresel/ 

Since I planned this visit as a test visit, I created a custom report and got the following screen. 

The actions of my visit in Google Analytics report is seen as above. 

First of all, there are 1 user and 1 session. For the first time, a visit is made through a new browser. 

If we want to know how many visits come to a page, we can see it within the Unique Pageviews metric. 

In this test, I visited 4 different pages in total. If I visited a page a second time in this session, Pageviews would be 5 instead of 4, but the Unique Pageviews would still be 4. 

If we want to know how many users come to a page, we need to look at the Users metric here. As you can see, there is 1 user in total because this session is created by 1 user. Hence, the number of users who visit each page is still 1. 

We have some important points to make here. 

To see the number of visits to a page, the metric we need to look at is the Unique Pageviews metric. 

Sessions and Unique Pageviews metrics should not be considered together when looking at page-level reports. 

Why are Sessions and Entrances metrics are counted in only onepage? 

Here, no table points are the Session and Entrances metrics. As seen, “…/affiliate-marketing-performance/” page is the only one with these metrics showing 1. This is because this page is the landing page and the visit, starts here first. In other words, this is the first page in this session that Google Analytics  records. 

Why is Unique Pageviews greater than Sessions? 

We can compare these two metrics side by side in reports of hit-level dimensions. If the user views more than one page in a session, the Unique Pageviews will be greater than the Sessions. In the example above, the user is browsing 4 different pages in a single session and this occurs. 

What if the same user performs another session? 

Let’s assume, I came back to analyticsturkey.com the next day, as the same user (same browser with uncleaned cookies). If I visited the “…/donusum-olasiligi/” and “…/organik-ve-direct-trafik/” pages respectively, how would the report be affected? 

First of all, 1 user would have performed 2 sessions. Since the second session is coming from a known browser, Google Analytics would see me as the same user. 

For the “…/donusum-olasiligi/” page, the Sessions, Pageviews, Unique Pageviews and Entrances metrics would increase by 1. 

For the “…/organik-ve-direct-trafik/” page, the Pageviews and Unique Pageviews metrics would increase by 1. 

In light of all this information, many metrics that we follow may vary. For example, the Conversion Rate metric can become a different metric than we think. Visitors to our site’s blog pages may be visitors without conversion goals. As a result, sessions, where these visitors do not convert, may cause us toperceive a “low conversion rate”

We can use the Unique Pageviews metric with dimensions such as Pages and Content Grouping, or with custom dimensions that we will define specifically for a page. For example, we can evaluate the type, category, page title and other properties of a page. 

Berkan Bagci

I am an online marketer who focused on web analytics for years. I did lots of GTM and GA setups for big websites in Turkey. Also I made a success story with Google Optimize and it has released on Jan 2018.

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