What is the difference between PV, session, and user?

A website is not only a signboard for a company, but also a starting point for marketing and sales. By using access analysis, you can find hints to improve your website. In addition, by analyzing the behavior of each user and understanding user psychology, it is possible to formulate measures based on user needs.

In this article, we will explain the most important indicators for access analysis, “number of PV”, “number of sessions” and “number of users”. There is no need to memorize all the unfamiliar katakana terms in the tool when performing access analysis. Let’s start by understanding three terms that can tell us how a website visitor reacts.


Table of Contents

First of all, let’s understand “number of accesses”

Let's understand the basics of "number of accesses"

The first thing that confuses people who have introduced access analysis tools is that there is no item “number of accesses” anywhere on the dashboard. In the first place, I would like to introduce what “number of accesses” is and where to check it.

What is access number?

Access analysis began with a mechanism for aggregating access logs left after users accessed a website. The aggregated number was counted as the number of visitors to the website as the number of “accesses”.

Eventually, dedicated access analysis tools appeared, and even today, when more detailed analysis becomes possible, it seems that the term is still used as a general term for website access .

Three indicators for quantitative analysis of “number of accesses”

A more detailed analysis is now possible. As a result, indicators such as “number of PVs”, “number of sessions”, and “number of unique users” are now used to quantitatively analyze the number of accesses to a website, not just whether or not there was an access . .

What are the number of PVs, sessions, and unique users?

The number of page views, the number of sessions, and the number of unique users are all counted when a user visits a website, but each counts differently. Note how the timing of these three counts differs.

Number of PVs

The number of page views refers to the total number of pages displayed on the website.

Since it is a cumulative number, it is counted every time you open a new web page. Also, if one user reads page A, transitions to another page, and then returns to A again, page A is counted as “2”.

number of sessions

The number of sessions is a numerical value that indicates how many times a website has been accessed. It’s the closest thing to what we generally imagine with the word “access,” but it’s characterized by having a beginning and an end.

A session is considered “terminated” when a user visits a website and leaves the page open for more than 30 minutes. If you then go back to that page and do something, it thinks another session has started and counts as “2” even for the same user.

unique users

The number of unique users is a numerical value that indicates how many people visited the website during the measurement period. We call them “unique” users in the sense of “new visitors to our website”. The count remains “1” no matter how many times the same user enters and exits the website. Google Analytics simply calls it “users”, but it still means this number of unique users.

Counting example of number of PV, number of sessions, number of unique users

Were you able to sort out how to count each? Here is a simple example for better understanding.

Example of viewing 3 pages in succession

A user visits a website, reads page A, page B, page C, then leaves the website and moves (leaves) to another site, etc. What will happen to the number of PVs, sessions, and unique users in this case?

The answer is that the number of PVs is 3 because 3 pages A, B, and C were viewed, the number of sessions is 1 because there was no withdrawal, and the number of unique users is 1 because there was only one user.

Example of viewing one page and then viewing another page after a while

The next user visited the website, viewed page A, and then moved on to another website. More than 30 minutes later, the same user revisits page B of the website. After viewing, the user left. What will happen to the number of PVs, sessions, and unique users in this case?

The answer is that the number of PV is 2 because they viewed page A and page B, the number of sessions is 2 because they left and revisited after 30 minutes or more, and the number of unique users is 1.

Now that we know the difference between the number of PVs, the number of sessions, and the number of users, let’s take a closer look at the meaning of each indicator.

How to check the number of PV (number of page views)

The number of PV is also called the number of page views. The number of page views. The number of page views is a particularly important indicator for sites that generate revenue through advertising, such as affiliate sites.

How to check the number of PV

If you use Google Analytics, you can check the number of PVs from “Behavior” > “Summary” on the home screen. In the overview, overall figures such as total number of PVs, number of visits by page, average stay time, etc. are displayed.

If you go to “Behavior” and then “All Pages”, you will see a graph like the one below.

In the table at the bottom of the graph, you can know in detail the number of page views of each page, the number of visits by page, the average time spent on the page, etc.

What can be learned from the number of PV

Since the number of PV can be displayed for each page, it is possible to compare web pages. In Google Analytics, it is displayed in descending order of PV number under the graph, so that you can see at a glance which page attracts a lot of people. By creating content that delves deeper into the same topic or approaches it from a different angle, you can attract more users.

In addition, by comparing pages with high PV counts and pages with low PV counts, not only topics but also various problems such as the comprehensibility of the content, the readability of the page, the comprehensibility of the instructions, etc., were identified and used as a foothold for improving the web page. can.

Number of unique PVs (number of visits per page)

In addition, there are cases where an index called the number of unique PVs is used. The number of unique page views is an index displayed as “number of visits by page” in Google Analytics, and refers to the number of unique page views that the page was viewed per session.

For example, if the user browses “page A → page B → page A”, the number of PV for page A is “2”, but the number of unique PV is “1”.

If a user browses “top page -> page A -> top page -> page B -> top page -> page C”, the top page “3” is counted as the number of PV. However, in this case, it is more natural to think that the user wants to read page B or page C, not the top page, so they return to the top.

If you use this browsing method, the number of unique PVs for the top page, page A, page B, and page C is “1”. So uniques tell you how many people are actually looking for information on your site.

Approximate number of PV

We have summarized the number of PVs, which is generally used as a guideline for whether or not your site is being used for business.

B2B business corporate site 3,000 views
blog 100,000 views
BtoC business corporate site 5,000 views
blog 100,000 views
EC EC site 10,000 views


The number of PVs varies depending on the business content and the length of time since the website was opened, so a simple comparison is not possible. Rather than comparing with other companies, it is important to set your own standard value and compare it with the standard value to check whether it is good or bad. If you set a reference value, you will be able to notice when a problem occurs or the problem of a new measure taken.

When setting the reference value, it is also effective to set the number of PVs of competing sites as the reference value, in addition to setting the month in which your company is located as a “fixed point”. On the separate page, “How to analyze competitor sites? Let’s investigate not only the number of accesses but also from various angles”, we introduce a tool that can investigate the number of PV of competitor sites, so please refer to it.

How to check the number of sessions (number of visits)

Method 1 to check the number of sessions (number of visits)

A session is the period from when a user visits a website to when they leave. A cookie is used to determine if a user’s actions on the website are the same.

A cookie is information that a website stores in a user’s browser. When a user visits a website, the website sends a unique cookie to the user’s browser. If the cookies are different, it will not be determined as the same session.

Even for the same user, a “session has ended” when there is no movement on a web page for a long time, transition to another website, or closing the browser.

How to check the number of sessions

In Google Analytics, you can understand the number of sessions for the entire website under “Users” > “Overview”.

Furthermore, by setting the drop-down menu to “Sessions”, you can display a graph showing the transition of the number of sessions.

Session type

In addition to overall sessions, sessions that can be tracked with Google analytics include sessions by page and sessions by inflow channel.

Sessions by Page

Sessions by page can be displayed by selecting “All Pages” or “Landing Pages” from “Behavior” > “Site Content”. The graph below shows the number of sessions for “Behavior” > “Site Content” > “Landing Page”.

In addition to the number of sessions, the ratio of new sessions to the number of sessions, the number of new users, bounce rate, average session time, etc. are displayed, and you can know the attention of the web page and the ratio of repeaters. .

Sessions by inflow channel

If you select “Acquisition” > “All Traffic” > “Channel” from the menu on the left, you can see where visitors came to the website from, the number of sessions by channel, and the average session time.

By examining sessions by inflow channel, you can understand which channels are generating the most sessions.

unique users

Unique visitors are the number of visitors who visit your website over a period of time. The number of unique users is simply referred to as “users” in Google Analytics, but even in Google Analytics, the number of users is displayed first and can be said to be the most important metric. Let’s look at where you can find the number of users and the difference between unique users and new users.

How to check the number of unique users

In Google Analytics, you can see the number of users from “Users” > “Overview”.

It’s easy to make a mistake, but when you select “number of users” in the analysis tool, it’s actually measured based on the cookies given to each browser, not the “people” who visited the website.

Analytics tools identify users by means of cookies. Therefore, no matter how many times a single user accesses with the same browser, only “1” is counted. (Conversely, if one user accesses from two browsers, the number of users is counted as “2”.)


What is a “new user”?

The number of sessions visited during the set period by new users who have not visited within the past two years is referred to as “new users”. If you’re getting more new users, you know your campaign to acquire new users is successful.

Let’s use the number of page views, sessions, and unique user indicators from five perspectives

As data obtained from access analysis tools, we have looked at the most important indicators, the number of PVs, sessions, and unique users. However, it is not possible to improve the website or analyze user psychology just by looking at the data.

Five perspectives are important for utilizing data.

  1. look for changes
  2. decompose into elements
  3. compare
  4. track user behavior
  5. Hypothesize and implement measures

observe changes

The data obtained from the access analysis tool is graphed, making it easy to visually perceive changes. Decide on a period or time, decide on a comparison, and investigate whether it is rising or falling, increasing or decreasing.

decompose into elements

The data is decomposed into various elements such as the source of each session, the referrer, user attributes, and duration. By breaking it down into detailed elements, you can see the intention and psychology of user behavior.


When making comparisons, it is important to match the conditions between the controls being compared. Compare like-for-like and A/B test to validate.

An A/B test is a test that measures which of two patterns is effective. For detailed measurement methods, please refer to the separate page, ” What is A/B testing? Summary of steps to maximize conversions .”

track user behavior

By tracking page transitions and exits, we check whether the leads are working well and whether the page design lacks usability. By following their actions, we can imagine the user’s psychology and consider web design and proposal methods that meet the user’s needs.

Hypothesize and implement measures

Based on the above analysis, a hypothesis is formulated, and the hypothesis is incorporated into measures. From there, we will collect data using an access analysis tool and verify whether our hypothesis was correct.

If you look at the data from these five perspectives, basic metrics such as page views, sessions, and unique users will become fully useful.

Understand each indicator and use it to improve your website

In this article, we focused on Google Analytics, which has a high introduction rate as an access analysis tool, and explained the meaning and differences of the three basic indicators: number of page views, sessions, and unique users.

With these three metrics, you can figure out how many users came from and how many pages of articles they read on your website. You can also see what content is popular and where most people are coming from. Conversely, you will also be able to identify content that is likely to cause withdrawal.

However, depending on the web page, leaving with a low number of PVs is not necessarily negative. For example, in the case of the FAQ page, you can check the necessary information with only 1 PV, and it can be considered that it is a good page if you leave it.

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