Google Analytics’ default session duration could pollute your data and hurt your business. And I’m going to show you why that may be and how you can change it so you can track your customers and visitors more accurately.
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Now I know you want to get on with how to change it, but first, I think it’s important to understand what a session is and how it works so you don’t end up making the mistake of changing a setting that you don’t need to have to change in the first place.
What is a session?
In the most basic sense. A session is the group of interactions that a user took when they were on your website.
Why might a session end?
Google Analytics’ default session time is set to 30 minutes, so the main reason a session ends is inactivity. A session can also end every day at 11:59 p.m. based on your account time zone.
A session could also end if a visitor enters your website from a different referral source, in which case the latest referral source would be attributed to that new session.
Why should you change the default session duration?
So why might you want to change the setting in the first place? For example, a visitor enters your website and looks around. Then they get distracted and walk away from the computer, or they open up a new tab on their browser and start comparing products or watching some review videos.
After 30 minutes of inactivity, that session is over. So when they come back to the computer, Google Analytics will start a new session. The big problem is that this new session won’t have the source of the initial session attributed to it.
This might be fine if you’re running a blog or something like that, but if you’re running an e-commerce store and running ads, you need the most accurate data you can get your hands on to attribute the right conversion to the right session.
Similarly, if you’re selling high-ticket items, your prospects usually call before making a purchase. That phone call could easily take over 30 minutes. So if the session expires due to an activity when they finally make the purchase online, the conversion will not be attributed to the session that brought them to the website in the first place.
Even if you don’t have an e-commerce website, if you host videos on your website that are longer than 30 minutes, analytics will, by default, attribute two sessions for that one user after the user finishes watching the video, which could pollute your data.
How do you change the default session duration?
Navigate to properties, tracking information, and session settings. Here, you will input your new session timeout duration. You can extend the session duration for up to 4 hours. Don’t forget to hit save, and that’s it.
Below is a video showing the exact septs to take, in case you need it.
Are you a visual learner? Check out my video below, titled “Attention! This Google Analytics Setting Might be Hurting Your Business! GA Default Session Duration,” from my YouTube channel, as I show you all this firsthand.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about making a WordPress website.
What is Google Analytics used for?
Google Analytics is a tool that gathers data from your websites and applications in order to provide reports that give business insights.
Can I use Google Analytics for free?
Google Analytics provides free tools for understanding the customer journey and improving marketing ROI.
Is it difficult to learn Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is challenging to master since it deals with massive volumes of complicated data that are difficult to evaluate and comprehend. However, you will certainly succeed if you dedicate enough time to mastering it.
Okay, so that concludes this article. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this helpful, check out my full blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for reading!