Google Analytics – Difference between Users & New/Returning Users

August 16, 2016 ,

Google Analytics is an excellent tool but sometimes its metrics can be tricky to understand.
In Google Analytics Dimensions and Metrics API you can easily understand what the metrics mean:

User: The total number of users for the requested time period.

New User: The number of users whose session was marked as a first-time session.

Visit (now session count): The session index for a user. Each session from a unique user will get its own incremental index starting from 1 for the first session. Subsequent sessions do not change previous session indices. For example, if a user has 4 sessions to the website, sessionCount for that user will have 4 distinct values of ‘1’ through ‘4’.

Sometimes it can happen the numbers not adding up correctly, but that may be related with the fact that you need to give a few hours for Google to properly calculate the sessions and give you a correct ratio of new/returning.