Sessions vs. Pageviews: What They Are and How to Use Them


Brody Hall

 on July 3, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Joel Taylor

Woman staring at laptop screen while rubbing her temples in confusion

In Google Analytics, "pageviews" refer to the time spent on a single web page by a user, regardless of how many times they leave and come back. While a "session" refers to how long a user spends on a website, which may involve visiting multiple pageviews. In other words, each time someone views a page on your website, it counts as one pageview, and each visit to your website is counted as one session. If someone visits your website multiple times within the same day, it will only count as one session.

Sessions vs. Pageviews: How to Use These Metrics

Both Google Analytics’ sessions and pageview metrics are powerful tools that can provide valuable insights for marketers. Both metrics give marketers insight into how engaged their users are with a website. If sessions and pageviews are decreasing, it may be an indication that users are not finding what they need on a website or that they are not engaging with content in the intended way.

Using these metrics, marketers can determine which pages are most popular and identify any areas of a website that need improvement. Sessions and pageviews can also be used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

If there is an increase in sessions and pageviews after a campaign is launched, it means that the campaign was successful in attracting new customers. Conversely, if there is a decrease in sessions and pageviews, it means that the campaign was not effective.

Are Pageviews More Important Than Sessions?

There is a lot of debate over whether pageviews or sessions are more important when it comes to using Google Analytics. Many people believe that pageviews are more important because they show how popular your site is and how much direct traffic you’re getting.

However, others believe that sessions are more important. Sessions show how engaged your users are and how likely they are to return, or if you need to improve your customer engagement.

Ultimately, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your analytics. If you’re looking for general information about how popular your site is, then pageviews are the way to go. But if you’re looking for information about user engagement, then the session is the metric of most importance.

How Are Pageviews Calculated From Sessions?

When a visitor loads a web page, the session begins right away and begins recording the user’s activity. If a page remains inactive for more than 30-minutes, the session is ended. Each pageview, click, purchase transaction, etc. tracked during this session of activity is recorded as one session. If a previously loaded page of the same visitor opens again at a different time the next day, another session is counted.

How to Track Sessions and Pageviews in Google Analytics

To track sessions and pageviews in Google Analytics, simply head to GA’s dashboard and navigate to "Audience" > "Overview" > "Sessions".

Other important metrics that Google Analytics tracks are cart abandonment and link clicks.

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