Basic analytics metrics explained: Visitors, Sessions, and Pageviews
In this article, we will demystify the basic metrics that you see in your analytics. While our focus will be on Lite Analytics, it's worth noting that these metrics are universally adopted in other analytics services as well, including Google Analytics. Additionally, we will touch on the differences between these platforms and emphasize the importance of privacy, and how Lite Analytics maintains a delicate balance between gathering user data and respecting user privacy.
The Visitors metric represents the unique number of individuals who have accessed your site. Privacy-centric analytics solutions like Lite Analytics are designed not to track visitors across networks, devices, or browsers. For instance, if you access the same site from two different browsers, Lite Analytics will count you as two separate visitors. Similarly, if you open the site on both your computer and smartphone, you will be counted as two visitors.
In contrast, Google Analytics delves deeper into user’s privacy by cross-linking user data across devices. Since Google Analytics employs long-term tracking cookies, it can monitor the behavior of unique users over an extended period, such as a month.
Lite Analytics, like certain other alternatives to Google Analytics, abstains from using cookies and limits user tracking to 24 hours. Consequently, even if you revisit the same site next day from the same device, network, and browser, Lite Analytics will categorize you as a new anonymous user. As a result, Lite Analytics cannot provide data on absolutely unique users over time frames longer than one day. However, this limitation is essential to ensure full respect for user privacy and compliance with GDPR regulations.
A single user might visit your site multiple times in one day. Each visit is termed a session. A user's activity on your site is considered part of the same session as long as there is no extended break. If a user takes a break of 30 minutes or longer, their next visit will be counted as a new session. This 30-minute time frame is consistent with Google Analytics, so if you're transitioning from Universal Analytics, this metric will be familiar to you.
If the numbers for visitors and sessions are closely aligned, it suggests that users typically visit your site once per day. A significant discrepancy between these two metrics indicates that users are accessing your site multiple times within a single day.
The Pageviews metric is quite straightforward. Every time a user opens a page on your website or refreshes the current page, a new page view is recorded.
Lite Analytics is committed to providing insightful data while ardently respecting user privacy. By forgoing cookies and limiting tracking to 24 hours, Lite Analytics exemplifies a privacy-first approach, ensuring GDPR compliance, and providing a lightweight, user-friendly analytics solution. You can also read our data policy to understand how we collect and use data.