A session is a series of analytics activities taken by a visitor to your website. It is a more comprehensive way of grouping a visitor's interactions with your website:
- Sessions take into account more interactions than just page views - they also include activities such as events and CTA clicks.
- Sessions expire after 30 minutes of visitor inactivity.
- New sessions begin when a visitor returns to the site after 30 minutes of activity or with a new session campaign (ex: the visitor returns to the site from a different traffic source).
- If a visitor has cookies turned off or has an adblocker installed (which prevents HubSpot from tracking page views), and that visitor submits a form, tracking sessions can now infer more of the context around that submission, and can more accurately record the source of that form submission.
The scenarios below outline how sessions are calculated:
- Scenario 1: a visitor finds a site via organic search and reads a few blog posts. The visitor steps out to lunch and doesn't return to their computer for 2 hours. When the visitor gets back to their computer, they go back to the site that's still open in their browser and clicks on a CTA that takes them to a landing page, where they fill out a form to subscribe to more interesting content. In this case, the 2 hours of inactivity expired the first session and a second session is logged with a new source of direct traffic. Therefore, this counts as 2 sessions, each with a different source - the first is organic search, and the second session in which the visitor converted is direct traffic.
- Scenario 2: a visitor has an adblocker installed in their browser, which means HubSpot can't track that visitor's page views. However, HubSpot will know what page they're on if they submit a form. In the past, most of these form submissions were attributed to direct traffic, unless the page URL had a referrer explicitly indicated. In the session-based way of calculating analytics metrics, HubSpot can infer more detail from the form submission through utm parameters. For example, if this visitor landed on the site via a link they clicked in an email, HubSpot will attribute this to the email source.
- Scenario 3: a visitor finds a site via organic search, reads a few blog posts, then leaves the website. Within 30 minutes, the visitor starts thinking about the content they just read and goes directly back to the website. This is counted as just 1 session as the visitor returned within 30 minutes, and this conversion is attributed to organic search.
A visitor is someone who visits your site, tracked by the cookie placed in their browser by the HubSpot tracking code installed on your site. A single visitor can have multiple visits to your site.
A page view is when a page on your site is loaded by a browser. HubSpot counts a page view every time the HubSpot tracking code is loaded:
- Scenario 1: a visitor goes to google.com and does a search for "inbound marketing advice." Then, they click on a search result and view www.hubspot.com. This example would count 1 page view for www.hubspot.com.
- Scenario 2: a visitor goes to twitter.com/hubspot and clicks on a link from a tweet that brings them to blog.hubspot.com. On HubSpot's blog page, they click on a link in the menu to view www.hubspot.com. This example would count 2 page views, 1 page view for blog.hubspot.com and 1 page view for www.hubspot.com.
- Scenario 3: A visitor goes to google.com and does a search for "inbound marketing advice." They click on a search result and view www.hubspot.com. Then, they click on a link on www.hubspot.com that brings them to twitter.com/hubspot. From HubSpot's Twitter page, they click on a link from a tweet that brings them to blog.hubspot.com. This example would count 2 page views, 1 page view for www.hubspot.com and 1 page view for blog.hubspot.com.
Please note: because HubSpot counts a page view every time the tracking code is loaded, if a single page is refreshed multiple times by the same visitor, each refresh would count as its own page view.