How Google Analytics Records Visits

Last night, I attended the Boston PHP meetup group’s session Learn Google Analytics presented by Jay Murphy. I learned some information that will change the way I analyze the website statistics as compiled by Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Visits - Sampling

Snippet of Google Analytics' Visitors Overview Page

For example, Google Analytics measures a “visit” in 30 minute chunks. So, if you visit a website and spend 15 minutes on one page and 14 minutes on another, that’s a total of 29 minutes and counts as 1 visit with 2 pageviews during the visit.

When One Visit Equals Two
If, however, when you get to the second page, you then go to lunch, return 40 minutes later, and view a third page. That session will be recorded as 2 visits with 2 pageviews during the first visit and 1 pageview during the second visit.

When One Visit Equals One
In Google Analytics terms, the second scenario renders 1 Absolute Unique Visit with 2 Visits .

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