Users vs. Sessions in Google Analytics in Layman’s Terms

Users vs. Sessions in Google Analytics in Layman’s Terms

Before 2014, when you logged into Google Analytics, you were given the category names “visits” & “unique visitors” to describe the website traffic you were receiving, which made sense.

Then Google decided to quietly change that terminology to “sessions” and “users” which really makes a lot less sense unless you take the time to understand GA (sigh).

The Gist of What Users Vs. Sessions in Google Analytics Means:

Users = “Unique visitors”, or a person who has come to your website.
Sessions = “Visits”, or different times that person came to your site.

Here’s a simple way to remember:

Think of your website like a restaurant. One person (user) can visit and leave a restaurant multiple times in one day. Each time they visit, do stuff, and leave is a session.

For Example:

In our office, people love Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Let’s say Brian walks to Krispy Kreme tomorrow morning for a dozen doughnuts, then later in the day goes to get another dozen doughnuts for Jeremy (he really likes doughnuts). That would be 1 User and 2 sessions that day.

Sessions should always be the same number or higher than users.


  • Carlos

    Great example. I love it when things are explained that easily. Thanks!

    • Barb Dittert

      Thank you, Carlos! Glad you found the article valuable.

  • Barb Dittert

    Thanks, Silvia! Glad you liked the article.

  • Victoria Weaver

    Thank you! I needed a K.I.S.S. explanation!

  • Anjali Kapoor

    thank you!
    great way of explaination.

Natalie Henley

About Natalie Henley

Natalie Henley is the CEO of Volume Nine, regularly developing strategy to improve our client’s results. Natalie started her marketing career in Communications and Market Research at Edelman PR working on campaigns for Fortune 50 companies. She got into Digital Marketing over 9 years ago and hasn’t looked back. With experience in SEO, Google Analytics, Adwords, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Email Marketing, Natalie also does a lot of speaking and training for Volume Nine.