Google updates Analytics: More insight on traffic source value

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Google has made an update to how it calculates a session in Analytics, and it hopes this will give users "a clearer understanding of website interactions."

Earlier this month, Google updated how it calculates sessions in Analytics. The change may help marketers determine which traffic sources result in the most conversions.

As Google explained in its official blog post, it used to close an Analytics session when there was more than 30 minutes between a single visitor’s pageviews, at the end of a day and/or when a user closed a browser. In the update, the first two parameters will remain intact, but the company will change the third. Now, an Analytics session will end:

When any traffic source value for the user changes. Traffic source information includes: utm_sourceutm_mediumutm_termutm_contentutm_idutm_campaign, and gclid.

Previously if a user landed on a page through your PPC campaign, left to do some research, then arrived at the same page within 30 minutes through another source (let’s say Twitter) and converted, Google Analytics would count it as one PPC session. Now, this activity will merit two separate sessions, and marketers can see that the hypothetical visitor converted when he or she came from the social source.

Google claims the update will result in about a 1 percent change for most users, but it hopes this will give users “a clearer understanding of website interactions.”

Interaction info is something marketers should be on the lookout for, as experts agree that it may be a sign of site’s SEO health. As Brafton reported, marketers at SES San Francisco shared insight suggesting that positive interaction metrics are key to SEO success.

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