Big Data

Don’t panic! Google Analytics trades ‘Visits’ & ‘Visitors’ for ‘Sessions’ & ‘Users’

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Google Analytics has modified some key reporting terms, and everyone is trying to figure out what the heck it means.

Without fanfare, the company changed “Visits” to “Sessions.” And the “Visitors” web metric and “Active User” app metric are now “Users.”

In a post yesterday evening on Google+, product manager Nick Mihailovski wrote that “to help you understand what users do in the increasingly diverse digital landscape, we’re enabling you to view web and app data from the same reporting view.”

The changes will roll out over the next week:

“Any data you send to the same property appears in all of the reporting views, regardless of how you collected that data. This means that if you send data from the Web or from a mobile app to one property, both data sets appear in your reports.

“If you want to isolate data from one source, like if you only want to see web data in your reports, you can set up a filter to customize what you see.”

The company added that “if you don’t send Web and app data to the same property in your account, your data stays the same,” although the new terminology will now be in use.

Additionally, app-specific fields have been added to the analytics.js JavaScript web collection library, so that the tracking can better collect web app data through the app tracking framework. These fields include screen name, app name, app version, and exception tracking.

Some speculate that the change was made because the mobile industry doesn’t use terms like “visits” or “unique visitors.”

D.J. Muller, the president and founder of e-commerce platform and services provider Weblink, told VentureBeat that the changes appear to be just one more step by Google “to make its metrics device-independent.”

“If you’re selling widgets,” he said, “here’s how [much traffic] regardless of the platform, and here are some ways to drill down to see device specifics.”

Google’s change could be “nothing more than making it easier for people to understand,” he said, although he added that his “antenna is up to see what will come out” as a followup from the company.

More about the companies and people from this article:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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