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Terminology Poll: Sessions, Visits & Visitors

Our lifetime summary stats allow you to keep track of the number of Page Views, Unique Visits and Returning Visits since you added your project to StatCounter. These stats are independent of your normal log size, have no storage limit and are recorded on a daily basis, allowing you to see weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly totals.

If a visitor to your website has 5 page views in the morning, and returns to your website later that day for another 3 pageviews, we record this as 2 Unique Visits for that day. On another day, if you have 2 different people viewing your site in the morning, this would also be recorded as 2 Unique Visits.

Recently we’ve been working on adding a new stat to record distinct visitors to your site, so that in the above example, you’d see 1 visitor for the first day and 2 visitors for the second day.  The terminology between ‘Visits’ and ‘Visitors’ could be confusing though, so we are proposing to rename ‘Unique Visits’ to ‘Sessions’ in advance of adding the new stat. Let us know what you think in the poll below!

Current: Unique Visits (New Visitors stat will be in pink)

blog-unique-visits

 

Proposed: Rename Unique Visits to Sessions

blog-sessions

Note: Returning Visits hasn’t been shown in these screenshots, but it would likely be renamed to Returning Sessions.

 

We’d really love your feedback about what terminology you like the best and find easiest to understand. Please post your preferences in the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Pick your terminology!

View Results

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[Update: Thank you for all the great feedback so far. It’s a difficult decision and it’s very helpful to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please keep the feedback coming.]

121 Comments

  1. Like the idea to also track visitors.

    My suggestion is to keep existing names the same and add new names for new functions.

  2. None of the above!

    Keep everything as it is now — but just add one new statistic for the new metric that you want to capture and display:

    UNIQUE USERS.

    That way you avoid confusion for everybody, while expanding the information provided.

    So it then becomes:

    Page Views
    Unique Visits
    Returning Visits
    Unique Users

    Done.

    1. Hi JBR,

      We strongly considered ‘Users’, but decided that ‘Visitors’ was better as a ‘User’ can imply that the person has logged in to your website.

  3. Unique Visits if more descriptive. Recommend you keep it. Session is a lot more ambiguous.

  4. No. Keep it UNIQUES. Sessions suggests one person can have many sessions.

    1. Hi Frackas, actually with the current ‘Unique Visits’ stat, one person visiting the site on two occasions the same day will add 2 ‘Unique Visits’ to that days total. If I understand your comment correctly, the current terminology is throwing you off?

  5. Sessions/users is what Google Analytics uses instead of unique visits and visitors, and for that reason I vote to use those words. I remember being confused by the different terminology used by Statcounter and Analytics (at least with respect to visits/sessions) when I first started out.

    I also think it would be nice to use the same cutoff threshold for determining when a visit/session has ended as Analytics uses. I believe it’s 30 minutes of inactivity, whereas I believe the threshold for Statcounter is longer (I can’t remember how much longer, and I can’t find it in your documentation, but I think I asked you about it in email once). Anyway, streamlining with Analytics as much as possible would be good in my opinion.

    Keep up the good work! Looking forward to the new statistic!

  6. “Sessions” makes exponentially more sense than “unique visits.” Hands down, not even a question. Excellent idea on your part.

  7. While I loathe changing things that we already use and understand, I think sessions is more explanatory. Here’s my logic. I understood unique visitors and have marketed it this way, that is, that a person comes to the site in the morning visits 2 pages, then the same person comes in at night and then visits two more pages. However, you guys call that 2 unique visits, when in fact that person, that day is not unique. He was on in the morning, and same person on in the night. I’m actually just learning this now that you guys counted unique visitors this way. To me that’s one unique visit if you’re counting users to your site per day.

    Sessions is more explanatory such that one person visits two pages in the morning in one “session” of his time on a website. Later that night, this same person sits down to visit two more pages, another “session” of his time; another “session” of visiting pages.

    If the metric you’re measuring is how many times a person, any person, browses a site, then session is a better word syntax wise for explaining this.

    My question is: how much time must elapse before a session is considered over and another session begins per 24 hour period. THIS is key to knowing how sessions is measured.

    1. Hi Genevieve,

      By default, 30 minutes must elapse before we count a subsequent page view as starting a new ‘Unique Visit’. This can be changed in your project settings under ‘Idle Time Between Visits’.

  8. I personally prefer unique visits and visitors, session is more like the visitors space than website owner space.

  9. Sessions to me implies current connections i.e. it’s happening right now – not past connections. Unique Visits implies past visits and possibly current ones too. So I believe that “Unique Visits” is more explicit and accurate.
    Come to think of it, Sessions doesn’t imply something unique either. I can have several sessions on a system and each one is individual. You’d have to say “Unique Sessions” which would be even more confusing as each session is already unique! Maybe “Unique User Sessions” or “Unique Visitor Sessions” would be required, in which case you may just as well stick with “Unique Visits”.

  10. however sessions seem to be a modern term but it gives no sense, in my opinion statcounter should use unique visitors terminology

    1. Hmmm, this is an example of the problem; the current stat is ‘Unique Visits’ which is very different to ‘Unique Visitors’ which you both mention. This is the confusion we want to avoid!

  11. I like the idea of using “sessions”. I’ve been seeing that terminology more and more and moving that direction makes sense on both the meaning of the metric and the context in which we see it on other platforms and tools.

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