Pageviews vs. Sessions vs. Unique Pageviews

Being a digital publisher requires a whole new set of vocabulary and know-how. It can be difficult to keep track of all of the different terminology when operating a website, especially if you’re a new publisher.

These terms are especially important if you’re using Google Analytics to study and better understand your website.

Below, I go through some of the basic terms that every publisher should know to understand their website and Google Analytics.

What is a pageview?

Google defines a pageview as “an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.”

Thus, a pageview is when a user views a page on a site. An additional pageview would be logged if a user clicked reload after viewing the page or if a user went to a different page and then returned. Each time the user returns is a pageview.

What is the difference between pageviews and unique pageviews?

If a pageview is any time a user lands on a particular page, then a unique pageview is the combination of those pageviews during a session. Google defines unique pageviews as “aggregated 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.”

For example, if a user visits a page on the Best Places to Visit in Colorado, visits another page called Best Places to Visit in Wyoming, and then returns to the page about Colorado, that is one unique pageview for the Best Places to Visit in Colorado.

What is the difference between unique pageviews and sessions?

A unique pageview is the time a user spends on a single page, regardless of how many times they leave and come back to that same page.

A session is the entire time someone spends on a website, which can include multiple pageviews or ecommerce transactions.

Sessions end when there is 30 minutes of inactivity or when the clock strikes midnight. A session can also end if a user comes to a website through one campaign, leaves the website, and then returns to the same website through a different campaign.

In Google Analytics, what is the difference between a user and a new user?

Users are anyone who has landed on your website and begun a session, regardless if they have visited before or not. Users either become new users or returning users.

New users are users who are visiting the site for the very first time, according to Google’s tracking snippet.

How are new users and return users defined?

As stated, users are divided up into two different types when they arrive at a website: they are either new users or returning users.

If new users are visitors who have never visited your site before, then return users are visitors who have been to your site before and are returning.

What’s the difference between page RPMs and session RPMs?

Page RPM and session RPMs serve different purposes for different groups.

Page RPM is more of an advertiser metric; it is what an advertiser pays for every one thousand ad impressions per page, or for every one thousand times a user sees an ad.

Session RPMs are geared more towards publishers. Sessions RPMs are what a publisher earns per one thousand visits to the website.