With online marketplaces and the internet in general taking over various aspects of our lives in a storm, we ought to be more and more knowledgeable of everything that’s related to websites, traffic, search engine optimization, you know, the whole deal. As such, we must be able to understand, know and gauge all the terminologies that we may come across while in the never-ending realm of digital marketing and any or all associated concepts. So, let’s start with Google sessions; more specifically, what are the sessions in Google Analytics and how can you measure or gauge them?
If you know anything about digital marketing or even the internet in general, you will know that websites are the basic building block of anything that is related to the internet in general. You get all your information from different websites, all the major social media platforms are basically websites, and so, knowing the ins and outs of websites and making sure that everything is working fine is imperative. In this regard, one of the most commonly-heard terms and metrics is the session; which is what is under discussion. What are sessions in Google Analytics and how can you use them for your website’s benefit.
For people more confused by Google Analytics rather than sessions, well, Google Analytics is a tool provided by Google to measure metrics for your website. Since it is free and provides a lot of information, virtually everything that you need to know regarding your website is displayed there in a user-friendly manner. The professionals or long-time users aside, it is equally useful for beginners and should be used by them.
Now, without any further ado, let's get into what are sessions in Google Analytics, and its related concepts and topics.
What are sessions in Google Analytics?
So, a session, according to Google, is a period of time that a user might spend on any website. But a session is not just that simple; it has got more to it than that. Google stipulates that a session is defined by two factors; activity and time. Let’s look into it in a little bit more detail.
- Activity: For Google to record any interaction between the user and the website, there needs to be activity on the website, whether it's browsing pages, interacting with the chatbot, or even making a transaction. The theory behind this is that with activity happening, a user is actually actively engaging with the website, and as such, is an active user.
- Time: The second factor which is imperative for Google to gauge in order to determine the actual occurrence of a session is time. Again, the search engine giant has a square figure behind it: a session will be a session as long as every 30 minutes, an activity happens on the website. In other words, if thirty minutes go by without any action taken on the website and something does happen on the 31st minute, it will be counted as a new session. We’ll discuss more of it details below.
- Explanation: To understand sessions in Google Analytics, you have to understand the behavior of a typical user. Since it is unpredictable and Google isn’t about to invade privacy by monitoring every user if they are on their seat or not, therefore, the way a session can go varies wildly. Here are some scenarios where sessions occur and where there isn’t a session counted by Google Analytics.
So, a session starts whenever a user lands on a website. For instance, if you have a website or a blog, and somebody accesses it, their session starts the minute they open it. Now things can go one of two ways from here; the user will either stay active on the website, interacting with the elements or reading a blog, making a purchase, or doing whatever constitutes an activity in the eyes of Google Analytics.
On the other hand, if the user switches to another tab, gets up from their seat, or basically goes AWOL from the website, and this continues for more than 3o minutes, the session ends automatically and will either resume when the user returns and posts activity on the website, or will not resume, such as in the case of the user closing the tab and ending the entire session altogether. Let's simplify this even more.
What is a session according to Google Analytics?
· Any user activity recorded on a website within a thirty-minute window.
· This activity could include surfing, reading the blog, general interactions with the website, or making a purchase or transaction.
· If after thirty minutes of inactivity, a user resumes their session on a website and again is active on it, it will be counted as a new session by Google Analytics.
· If a user accesses your website three times a day or 10 times a week, all of them will be counted as separate sessions, regardless of what time or with how much frequency they accessed.
What is not a session according to Google Analytics?
1. If thirty minutes have passed before any activity has been recorded on the website, the session will be ended immediately and it will not be counted as a complete session, but rather one with an abrupt ending.
2. If the user clicks a link and does not find what they came for, causing them to move back to the SERP (search engine result page). This session will be too low in time to be recorded as a proper session by Google Analytics so it will be ended.
3. Any period of inactivity on any website will not be considered a session, regardless of how much time the website has been accessed or how many times has it been opened.
4. If a user closes down the website after more than 30 minutes of inactivity, the session will not be counted.
Why are gauging sessions so imperative?
The most viewed section of Google Analytics is the session because it determines how well-presented your website is and what the average time of activity per user is. For instance, if your sessions are low in number and people stay inactive on it most of the time, you will need some serious overhauling of the website, the content, and an overall bettering website. Good websites that attract thousands of users will see sessions that are long, and filled with constant activity.
Therefore, sessions are a good indicator of how better your website is, and a general overview will also tell you what issues are there that need to be rectified, and what is it that is hurting your numbers.
How to find sessions in Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a very useful and user-friendly tool. Even if you are not the most tech-savvy and digitally literate person out there, the interface is simple and easy enough that you can easily find any metric that you might be looking for. To see and view or monitor your sessions in Google Analytics, open the dashboard of Google Analytics and access the left-hand column. From there, select ‘Audience’ and select the first option that drops down Overview.
In the Overview menu, you will find your sessions according to the time period selected in the lower right corner of the window, and you can change the time it displays from the top right. Pretty easy, right?