Google Analytics Sessions

Set Your Google Analytics Session Based on Your Traffic

The question that we receive almost every day is “why my Google analytics session count is less?” Before we tell you the reason, let’s see why people ask about the session in the first place? Why do they not ask about the daily users count or daily pageviews? It is because when you go over to the audience tab in the Google Analytics reporting, the default view of the Audience > overview in set to “Sessions”, where really a less number of people actually have the knowledge of how the Google Analytics session count works.


What is Google Analytics Session?

According to google, a session is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions. A single user can open multiple sessions. Those sessions can occur on the same day, or over several days, weeks, or months. As soon as one session ends, there is then an opportunity to start a new session. There are two methods by which a session ends, either the time expires or the campaign changes. For example, if a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign, google analytics counts that as a new session. By default, a session lasts until a certain given time that can be as short as a few seconds or as long as several hours, which you can adjust.

How the Google Analytics Session Works

Let’s dig deep a bit and see how Google Analytics Session count works. Google Analytics use cookies to determine session, which has a simple time stamp. By default, it is set to exactly 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the cookie expires and is deleted from the browser. So, if a user visit our blog, looking for learning about how to improve their Alexa ranking then got distracted by Facebook on another tab for 30 minutes, then went back to our site because he/she realized it was time to learn something important, but by that time the UTMB cookie would not be there and the session counter in UTMA and UMTZ advances on the next hit. If however, after every 25 minutes of Facebook distraction, a user continued what he/she was doing on our site, their session would be extended. Sessions also used to end when a user closed their browser. This was due to UTMC. UTMC existed as long as their browser was open.

So what are these, UMTZ, UTMA, UTMB, and UTMC?

UMTZ records whether the visitor came from a search engine, and if so, what the search keyword used, is it from a link or from no previous page or bookmark.

UTMA stores the amount of visits for each visitor, including the time of the first visit, the previous visit, and the current visit.

UTMB and UTMC are used to check approximately how fast people leave. That means when a visit starts and approximately when it ends.

All of these work together beautifully to give you accurate statistic of your traffic.

Do You Know You Can Set the Sessions Count in Just Few Clicks?

Even though for ranking your website, page views, users, sessions, new sessions, and bounce rate all have significant role and all of them are equally important, but you had better set your session count according to your traffic, which you can do in just few clicks.

Please go to Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Session Settings


Then set the session timeout. Usually, 15-30 minutes is good for most of the websites, however, if your traffic only stays 5 minutes at your site, its better you set the timeout according to that. Remember, you will see result of this change not only on your session count but also on the “Avg. Session Duration.” That means your session count will increase dramatically if you set the session timeout less than 5 minutes, but at the same time the duration of average session will decease dramatically too, which plays a significant role in Alexa Ranking.

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