How Google Analytics Collect Data Session vs Visit and What is Google Analytics Session and Visit?

Google Analytics all traffic channels report

Is it have same meaning? While the answer is everywhere in internet and despite many of my colleague answer that question, my boss need direct answer from a person, way more traditional. Of course one question will be followed by others questions. Maybe a lot questions ahead. Hehe.


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What is Google Analytics Session?

As I said before, try to understand Google Analytics is hard, but we can learn it (study hard) to understand the data, and the meaning.

Ask Google support, and here is the answer, I shortened the answer:

Still confused? This is my answer for this question, what is Google Analytics Session meaning?

  • You have a beautiful big house on the edge of a busy highway.
  • John always see your house when go to work.
  • Both you and John do not know each other.
  • John really want to come to your house and seeing the interior.
  • John comes to your house.
  • You welcome John warmly.
  • You and John become friends. You explain about exterior and interior of your house to John. John looks very impressed. John spend 30 minutes in your house.
  • John comes to your house regularly.

John is a new visitor to your house. Session is counted when John come to your house, every 30 minutes. John become a new user.

  • John bring Ana to come to your house.
  • They spend 30 minutes in your house.
  • Ana looks very comfortable in your house.

John is a user now. Ana is a new user. They said your house is so beautiful and have furniture that suits their taste. They want to buy a house and furniture like yours. John and Ana have a “Session” in your house.

Then, How Google Analytics Collect Data Session?

Google Analytics will collect session data from every user come to your website and spend 30 minutes in your website. There is a value called ‘start’ on Google Analytics script .js, to say “Hey, John is in your website, let’s start the session now!” Default time for a single session is 30 minutes, but you can change the Session limit time with Session Control. Talk to your website administrator to put it on you website.

Read another Google Analytics article about How to read Google Analytics Audience Report, How to read Google Analytics Organic Channel Report, 10 best free SEO tools for blogger can help, How to create SEO friendly blog post 2020, and How to read Google Analytics 2020 Acquisition Report.

What is the difference between Session and Visit in Google Analytics then?

To answer my boss’ question, I need to give her my answer with a trusted source. So, I search the answer in Google Search. Ignoring url from Google support. I find this.

Since April 2014, session=visit and user=unique visitor.

Then it will be a clear answer. I’ll use that URL to answer a typical questions like that. So I tell my boss’ and she said thanks.

But still, until 2020, this answer from Google Support can make people become mistaken about what is Google Analytics Session/Visit? Is Session and Visit same meaning? What is the difference between Session and Visit? How Google Analytics collect data Session/Visit?

From Google Search

One of my colleague said, visit is number of visitor coming to your website and spend their time on your website and the other said, session is similar to page views. Well, at least this website clear the answer a lot,since I don’t know the history Visit become Session metric.

Hope this explanation make your day more brighter! haha…

Check out my tutorial video about how to read Google Analytics Acquisition Organic Channel here. The tutorial is in Bahasa, and I create in simple way to make you understand the data.

How to read Google Analytics 2020?

Published by Lisda Ikhwantini

Digital Media Specialist and commenter

4 thoughts on “How Google Analytics Collect Data Session vs Visit and What is Google Analytics Session and Visit?

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