Why a Custom Report shows more users than sessions

Use Unique Pageviews instead of Sessions to see the number of sessions in which a page was viewed.

At a glance

If you use either a page level dimension (like Page or Page Title) or the Hour dimension in a custom report, the count of Users may be greater than Sessions.

To capture the number of sessions in which a given page was viewed, use the metric Unique Pageviews instead of Sessions.

In depth

Scenario 1: When using a page level dimension

If you build a custom report that has page level dimensions (such as Page, Page Title, or a page level custom variable, Users may be greater than Sessions. This may occur when combining Sessions with any page level dimension because Sessions is incremented on, and associated with, the first hit of the session.

Users may also be greater than Sessions if you apply a custom report filter to only include a particular page or group of pages.

As a general rule, Sessions corresponds to Entrances when you combine Sessions with a page level dimension. However, in some cases, there can be a small discrepancy between Entrances and Sessions. Entrances count the first hit of the session that is also a page, while Sessions captures the first hit of the session, even if it is an Event, transaction, or any other type of hit.

Here is an example of two sessions from two different users:

Session 1:

  • User enters to Page A
  • User navigates to Page B
  • User navigates back to Page A
  • End of session

Session 2:

  • User enters to Page C
  • User navigates to Page B
  • End of session

Summary

  • Page A: 2 Pageviews, 1 Session, 1 Unique Pageview, 1 User, 1 Entrance
  • Page B: 2 Pageviews, 0 Sessions, 2 Unique Pageviews, 2 Users, 0 Entrances
  • Page C: 1 Pageview, 1 Session, 1 Unique Pageview, 1 User, 1 Entrance
  • Totals: 5 Pageviews, 2 Sessions, 4 Unique Pageviews, 2 Users, 2 Entrances

In Session 1, Page A gets a session, while Page B does not, because it was not the first hit of the session. Likewise, in Session 2, only Page C gets a session.

In this scenario, use the metric Unique Pageviews instead of Sessions to see how many sessions included a view of the particular page.

Scenario 2: When using the Hour dimension

A custom report that combines Hour or Hour of Day with Sessions and Users may show more users than sessions for any given hour. If a session spans multiple hours, the session will only be counted for the first hour, but the user will be counted for every hour the session is active. For example, if a session begins at 8:50 and ends at 9:10, there will be a user attributed to 8 and 9 o'clock, one session at 8 o'clock, but zero sessions at 9 o'clock. Therefore, 9 o'clock will have one user but zero sessions.

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