What are Users in Google Analytics (GA)
In Google Analytics,a User is a person who interacts with your website or app. It is an important metric for measuring the website growth and popularity over a time.
In order for Google Analytics to determine which traffic belongs to which user, a unique identifier associated with each user is sent with each hit.
Each time the tracking code is triggered by a user’s behavior (for example, a user loads a page on a website or a screen in a mobile app), Analytics records that activity. Each interaction is packaged into a hit and sent to Google’s servers
Users are segmented into two types,
- New Users
- Returning Users
New Users Vs Returning Users
In simple terms, New Users are the people who have never visited your website or app before and are visiting for the first time from a specific device, whereas Returning Users are the people who have already visited your site.
For e.g, If someone visits your website 100 times with the same device and browser, they are still considered as one User. For the first time they are considered as New Users and for the remaining 99 times they are considered Returning Users.
Based on the cookies in the user's browser, Google Analytics segments users.
What are Active Users in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Russell Ketchum, Director, Product Management, at Google Analytics says that Google Analytics 4 will replace Universal Analytics on the 1st of July 2023. So let us understand what users mean in GA4.
In Google Analytics 4, users are replaced with ‘’Active Users’’. Active Users are users who are engaged on your site over a certain time period. GA4 looks at active users in terms of one day, 7 days and 30 days.
How does Google Analytics separate New Users from Returning Users
Anytime a new visitor lands on your website, Google Analytics will assign them a unique ID or client ID, that’s stored in a cookie in your browser.
So when someone visits your site, GA will check for the client ID. If client ID is not present, then they will be considered as a New User and New User ID will be generated.
If the Client ID is already present, then they are considered as a returning user.
If a User who visited your site, deletes their browser cookies, and returns to your site afterwards, they are counted as a New User too.
It is possible for the same person to be considered as a New User, even if they have visited your site before, if they access your site using a different device or browser than they did the first time.
How to count Users across all devices as one user?
Cross-device Tracking in Google Analytics is the tracking of users activities across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
Cross-device tracking helps identify the user behavior across multiple screens and browsers and the way any specific activity is being done.
Why do you need Cross-device tracking?
Cross-device tracking is important for accurate analytics reports about the User behavior.
In order to access and use the cross device reports, you have to activate Google Signals for your GA property. Google Analytic starts collecting cross-device data from the day you first activated Google Signals for your property.
To learn more about implementing Cross-device tracking in Google Analytics Read here
Why is measuring Users in GA important?
User is important metrics for measuring the website growth and popularity over a time.
The New User metric in Google Analytics is important to see whether New Users have been generated with the new marketing strategy that you executed e.g. paid advertising to acquire users.
The Returning User metric indicates how many people return to your site after their first visit. The large number of Returning Users could indicate that your site has valuable content.
How to measure Users in GA?
User is one of the key metrics Google Analytics provides and it is easy to find in the Analytics Dashboard.
There are several methods to analyze user metrics on your website, the most common ones are listed below:
Audience overview Report
The Audience overview report gives a high-level view of the number of users and new users who reached your site during a specific timeframe.
New vs Returning Visitor Report
In analytics, go to Audience in the top left of the page, then Click on Behavior, then click the New vs Returning Users Report
How to measure Users in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
To open the Active Users report in GA4:
- Sign in to Google Analytics
- Navigate to your view
- Open Reports
- Select Acquisition> Acquisition overview
- View Users
How to visualize Users?
There are a few options to visualize User data in Google Analytics, you can view the data as a line chart, or view the overall number as a summary chart.