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The instructions in this help article may be affected by recent changes in the Analytics user interface. See this blog post for details. Help center updates are coming soon.

Difference between Entrances and Sessions

Learn why the number of entrances can be different from the number of sessions in your reports.

At a glance

Analytics calculates Entrances in a different way than Sessions. Although you might expect the number of entrances to be the same as the number of sessions, you may see different values for these metrics in your reports.

Entrances is incremented on the first pageview or screenview hit of a session. In contrast, Sessions is incremented on the first hit of a session, regardless of hit type. Thus, there may be a discrepancy between Entrances and Pageviews or Screenviews for properties where the first hit of a session can be an event hit.

Discrepancies occur when you directly compare Entrances to Sessions, or when you use the Date dimension in some reports.

In depth

In this example, a user enters a website and navigates to two pages:

Enter → PageA → PageB → Exit

You would see the following data for each page:

  • PageA: 1 Entrance, 1 Session, 1 Pageview
  • PageB: 0 Entrances, 0 Sessions, 1 Pageview

The user entered on PageA (which also gets counted as a pageview). The user then moved to PageB before leaving the site and ending the session.

If the first hit of the session is an event hit instead of a page hit, the session might look like this:

Enter → Event 1 (associated with PageB via page parameter) → PageA → PageB → Exit

You would see the following data associated with each page in your reports:

  • PageA: 1 Entrance, 0 Sessions, 1 Pageview
  • PageB: 0 Entrances, 1 Session, 1 Pageview

In this example, the user entered the site and immediately triggered an Analytics event that was hosted on PageB (as defined by the site developer using the dl page parameter). Although the event was hosted on PageB, it’s still an event hit and not a page hit, so Analytics can’t attribute the entrance to PageB. The entrance still gets attributed to PageA, because the first page hit in the session is sent to Analytics when the user moves to PageA as the next step after triggering the event.

Now let’s take a look at another situation to contrast what happened in the previous example. In the following example, you might see an equal number of entrances and page or screen views if both an Event and the first page hit of the session happened on the same page:

Enter → Event (associated with PageA via page parameter) → PageA → PageB → Exit

You would see the following data in your reports:

  • PageA: 1 Entrance, 1 Session, 1 Pageview
  • PageB: 0 Entrances, 0 Sessions, 1 Pageview

Here, the event hit was sent from PageA. PageA was also the first page to send a page hit. The entrance and the session are attributed to the same page in that session.

If you have a session with zero page or screen hits, you might see more sessions than entrances. If no page or screen hits are sent, Analytics can’t count any entrances in your reports.

In this example, there are only two hits in the session, and both are event hits:

Enter → Event 1 → Event 2 → Exit

Therefore, there are zero entrances and zero pageviews in your reports:

  • 0 Entrances, 1 Session, 0 Pageviews

You might see this happen with your data if you create a segment in your reports that includes zero pageviews, and then apply it to a few different reports, like a custom report or the Events report.

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