Google analytics unique users way too high


Does anyone have experience with using the GA plugin to get the number of active users? When I look in GA, my number of active users is way too high. It’s great to look at, but it’s 3-8 fold higher than what I think is realistic. The number of sessions and number of pageviews look OK.

Do you mean “x-day active users” (under Audience) or “active users on site” from Real-Time?

“x- day Active Users” can be a bit misleading.

It’s the one under audience.

Do you know why it is misleading?

How long have you been tracking?

For 3-4 months

Which one is too high ?

That looks fairly normal - your retention is not great (but that it isn’t as bad as mine :slight_smile: ) but you have traffic Monday - Friday.

Or don’t you think you 127 unique visitors a day ?

They are all too high. We don’t have 127 unique visitors a day, that’s way too much. So I think it is counting the same user several times.

So, here is how I think this works.

It is not saying you have 127 unique visitors per day.

Rather, you have had in total 127 users on the site in the past day. But they may not be all new users.

Active Users is unique users who visited at least once on that day. Could be new or returning.

You will certainly get some phantom traffic, that is when you need to drill into filters / segments.

Try segmenting by “non-bounce” sessions. That is where a visitor visits more than just your landing page. Better measure of engaged users.

I know, but it should be 127 different users accessing the site on one day, right?

I think I found an explanation. Quite a number of users download pdf files from our app. And it seems like the service generating the pdfs appear as a new user every time. Need to dig a bit more but I just wanted to post this update in case someone else runs into this in the future.

Thank you for the update!

I have seen ‘phantom’ users in our analytics too. Still not 100% sure where they’re coming from. The situation is similar to yours, I believe a handful of workflows are generating false page views and false user counts, haven’t cared enough to dig in further but I may do that this weekend and share my results.

Interested to follow this. Please keep us posted!

Thanks for this thread. Because of this, I just created a tracking DB for my pages ahead of roll out. Users need to be logged in, so it might be different from your situation. On page load, it just creates a new DB item and records user, page URL, creation date and user location (on a few pages). I’d like to compare my info with the Google analytic results.

But now I’m thinking that it will be nice to flag users who use our site the most often. This way we know we are paying attention to the right customers;)