Analytics Defintions: Visits, Visitors, Pageviews and Unique Pageviews

Analytics Defintions: Visits, Visitors, Pageviews and Unique Pageviews


Google Analytics presents your data across a range of different metrics, and it is important to know exactly what your data means. Having 10 000 visits can be very different to having 10 000 visitors, which is again different to having 10 000 pageviews. Here is how Google defines 4 basic measures of traffic, and what each one means.


The concept of a visit in Google Analytics is important to understand because many features, reports, and metrics depend on how Analytics calculates visits.

A visit is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example one single visit may contain multiple pageviews within it, as well as numerous events, social interactions, custom variables, and ecommerce transactions, all in the span of one visit.

A visit is begins when a visitor enters the site and concludes when the visit ends. A visit can end via:

  • Time-based expiry (including end of day):
    • After 30 minutes of inactivity have elapsed
    • When a new calendar day beings (at midnight)
  • Campaign change:
    • If a visitor arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign, then this will be counted as a separate visit.

Unique Visitor

A unique visitor is a person who visits the site. However, a single visitor can open multiplevisits. Those visits can occur on the same day, or over several days, weeks, or months. As soon as one visit ends, there is then an opportunity to start a new visit. These multiple visitsall account for one unique visitor.

The initial session by a user during any given date range is considered to be an additional visit and an additional visitor. Any future sessions from the same user during the selected time period are counted as additional visits, but not as additional visitors.


A pageview is defined as a view of a page on your site that is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code. If a visitor clicks reload after reaching the page, this is counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview is recorded as well. Thus pageviews are often in the highest volume of all the traffic measurements, because they are counted at such regular intervals.

Unique Pageviews

A unique pageview, as seen in the Content Overview report, aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session. A unique pageview represents the number of sessions during which that page was viewed one or more times. As such, simply reloading or renavigating back to that page during one session will still only count as oneunique pageview, whereas it would count as multiple pageviews.

As can be seen, each definition has various nuances. One visitor may entail multiple visitsacross the time-period. Each visit may contain multiple pageviews of a single page, but only one unique pageview of each page. Each measurement is helpful to tell a different story, and it is important to be aware of what story you are telling with what data.


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