Google analytics tips

Google Analytics for Beginners: What's a Pageview?

If you have a website, you’re likely using Google Analytics to track website performance and behaviours. If you aren’t, you definitely should be!

Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your visitors. For example, it can tell you:

  • The number of visitors who have been to your website
  • The number of pages that these visitors have browsed through within a specific timeframe
  • Number of views, or “pageviews”, per webpage

Unless you like to collect statistics for fun (stats nerds, we see you), you’re going to want to know exactly how this information will help market your business. How do pageviews work? More importantly, how do you use this information to better understand your target audience so that you can build a website that sells and converts?

Pageviews vs. Sessions vs. Users

Before we dig into pageviews, let’s learn about the differences between pageviews, sessions, and users – three terms that are commonly used in the Google Analytics and web analytics space.

  • Pageview: Google defines a pageview as “an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser”. Every time a user opens and views a page on a site, (regardless of whether the user is loading or reloading the webpage), the page gains one pageview.
  • Session: A session is a period of activity completed by a user. Google Analytics records a session every time a user visits your website. Sessions start as soon as a page is opened,and end after the user has been inactive for 30 minutes.
  • User: A user is an individual who visits your page. Every new user gets a unique client ID that’s stored in their browser cookie, which lets Google track and identify their sessions.

What Is a Pageview in Google Analytics?

A pageview occurs when a webpage is loaded or reloaded. For example, if a webpage is loaded 10 times, the page’s pageview is 10.

It’s important to note that the number of pageviews is not equal to the number of users. A single user can contribute to multiple pageviews in one session by refreshing the page.

In the example below, a user loaded page 1 three times and therefore contributed three pageviews to page 1:

SessionPage 1 Unique PageviewsPage 1 Total Pageviews
User visits page 111
User reloads page 11
User clicks through to page 2
User clicks back to page 11
Total13

Without gaining these insights, it’d be easy to assume that these pageviews came from three separate users. Luckily, Google offers a better way to measure a webpage’s popularity: unique pageviews.

Pageviews vs. Unique Pageviews

Unique pageviews show how many views are from individual users. This makes unique pageviews a better measurement of a website’s popularity.

Unique pageviews are tracked by client IDs that Google Analytics assigns to each unique user (user A, user B, user C, etc.). This is why unique pageviews are always less than the total pageviews; a user can refresh a webpage three times, causing the webpage to generate three pageviews while the unique pageview remains at one.

Unique pageviews are arguably a better indication of your site performance because they provide more specific data. Google Analytics allows you to view your pageviews and unique pageviews side by side, giving you a direct point of comparison between the two metrics.

Google Analytics Pageview

How to generate more pageviews

Ensuring more users is important to driving more brand visibility and sales for your business — so how can you increase your pageviews? Three good tips are:

  • Improve content quality

Create quality content that your target market wants to read. Whether it’s a 60-second how-to video or a full-length article, ensure that your content is engaging, valuable, or entertaining enough to capture audience attention and leave them wanting more.

  • Optimize website layout

Use headers or sidebars to ensure that your website is visually appealing and easy to navigate d. If viewers can find your pages easily, pageviews will naturally go up.

  • Minimize the bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site. Generally, a website’s bounce rate ranges from 41% to 55%. That said, you should ideally aim for roughly 26% to 40% bounce rate. Minimizing your website’s bounce rate means that your website visitors are visiting different pages on your website and increasing different pages’ pageviews!

What’s a Good Number of Pageviews?

There’s no standard number of pageviews. Pageviews depends on many factors, including your industry, how established you are, where you’re based, and who you’re targeting. That said, businesses should see growth in pageviews over time as they gain brand awareness, popularity, and grow their customer base.

Have a question?

Get in touch today!