Google Analytics Metric #1 – All Users

Users or all users is one of the primary metrics we would like to track for our website in Google Analytics. It gives a cumulative value of new and returned website visitors to our website for the specified period. On a more technical front, users are visitors to our website who have initiated at least one session. Today we will have a look at this metric.

This is the first metric that is visible in our Google Analytics dashboard under the audience overview section. To determine whether a user is a new or returned user, Google Analytics creates a randomly generated string for a client ID field stored within a user’s browser cookie. Using this string, Google Analytics can match and label any additional sessions coming from the same browser on the same device as a returning user session. In simple words, Google Analytics will look for this client id. If there is this string present, then it a returned user; if not, then it is a new user.

Why should we track this metrics?

It gives us a holistic idea of how many users are coming to our website. We would not only want new users to visit our website. Also, we would not want to only engage with our returned users. For any business to sustain itself for a longer period of time, it should have a mix of new and existing customers. Similarly, if we want our website to generate good quality leads, it becomes important to engage with existing users and attract new users. The All-users metric helps us understand how our strategy of attracting new users and retaining the current ones is working.  We need to look at a graph for a fixed interval over a period of time. If the graph is growing, we are doing a good job attracting new users and retaining existing ones.

Skeptics might say that how can we say that the customers are a mix of just looking at one piece of data. We will not look at it individually; this piece of information is more directional. We need to look more into two different metrics, viz. news and returned users, to understand that; we will explore them in a different blog post.

Points to remember when analyzing the ‘All User’ metric in Google Analytics:

All user data is not an absolute sum of new and returning users for a given period of time.

To understand this, let’s take an example, if new users are 20 and returning users are 10, all users might not be 30 in most cases. This is because a returning user might also be counted in the new user column as the user was considered a new user then. And when he is returning to the website for a specified period of time, he is also counted as a returning user. Hence, the total of new and returning users will always be less than or equal to the sum of new and returning users. For most websites, it will ideally be lower.

– The number of users and the number of persons visiting the website are not the same

Google Analytics uses the client id to understand whether a user is new or returned. This is stored in the cookie of the browser from where he is accessing our website. If a visitor uses a different browser or incognito mode in the same system, it will be considered two different users and similarly for different devices. He might even be considered a separate user if he clears his cookies and again visits the same browser. In reality, it might be the same person who is using different devices or browsers but Google Analytics will consider that person to be more than one user. We should be aware of this.

Leave a Comment