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Pageviews vs Unique Pageviews – Differences Simplified

Learn about the differences between Pageviews and Unique Pageviews. And what is more important, pageviews or unique pageviews?

Your Google Analytics panel holds a lot of information, but one of the most popular and basic metrics is page views. There’s a bit more to a pageview than you’d think, so we’re breaking down how to understand pageviews versus unique pageviews on Google Analytics.

What is a Pageview?

Google defines a single pageview as “a view of a page on your site that is being tracked by the Analytics tracking code.” However, most of the time, we visit multiple pages when we go to websites. Multiple page views are defined as “the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.”

So what is a pageview in plain English? Essentially, it’s the number of times someone visits any page on your site. Your total pageview count goes up when a user:

  • Lands on a page on your website
  • Clicks “reload” after reaching the page
  • Returns to a page on your website they’ve already viewed

How is a Unique Pageview Different?

Unique pageviews are a little different from page views. Here’s what Google Analytics says: “A unique pageview aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session.”

Simply put, unique pageviews combine the pageviews that are from the same person, on the same page, in the same session, and just count them as one. Unique pageviews are tracked for each page URL and page title combination. A user could view the same page 15 times and refresh it multiple times as well, but if all of the views come in one session, it only counts as one unique pageview.

To put it simply, the unique pageviews in Google Analytics show how many users visited a specific page, whereas the pageviews display the total number of times any pages were visited, including multiple views from the same user.

What Google Metrics Should you Look at?

This depends on the type of website or blog you have, but typically, you should look at all three metrics we’ve discussed: pageviews, unique pageviews, and sessions. Some metrics may be more important than others, depending on the purpose of the website.

If your website is monetized via ads, for example, your revenue is tied directly to page views and the number of times an ad is seen by a visitor. Ads are displayed when a page loads on the website, and you make money every time an ad is displayed. Because revenue is tied to page views, in this case, sessions and users are not very relevant metrics to track.

 The number of ads served and viewed by users is the same whether a single user views five pages or five different users view one page each. The end goal of the site is to increase the number of page views. You can do this by focusing on getting existing users to click on more pages on the website or bringing in new users.

 On the other hand, if you are a website that makes money from traffic, pageviews are a less important metric. Since users can’t sign up twice, the website needs a constant flow of new users to keep making money. This doesn’t mean that page views and sessions are not relevant in this case, but they are not as important as in the case of websites that are monetized primarily via ads. 

Now let’s try to understand this through a practical example. Say a user has viewed 5 pages on a website in the following order.

  1. /page-1
  2. /page-2
  3. /page-3
  4. /page-1
  5. /page-2

This is what gets reported in analytics: (Behavior > Site Content > All Pages)

Unique Pageviews - Path of User

Observations:

  • A user has visited /page-1 twice in the same session. So for ‘/page-1’, the pageview metrics will simply be 2.
  • Now as per the unique pageviews definition, the number of sessions in which the /page-1 was viewed is one. So you can see 1 unique pageview for /page-1.
  • Similarly, page-2 and page-3 have 1-1 unique pageviews.

So, with every page load, the pageview count increases by one, while the unique pageview count (for a particular page) increases only once per session.

Unique Pageview Metrics

You can enter the page path the user takes on the website. For Eg: page URL as “page A” then “page B” & so on.

google analytics metric simulation tool

You can create different scenarios & check what the final metric values are.

What’s the Next Main Point?

Hopefully, this article has given you a greater understanding of pageviews vs unique pageviews. Using Google Analytics will give you valuable insights into how users are interacting with your site. This is essential if you want your site to be successful in the long term. After all, you need to understand your performance to be able to improve on it and grow.

You should work to increase the number of unique page views and sessions on your site. As these numbers go up, you may see an increase in your earnings over time. It’s all going to depend on the types of offers you are presenting to your audience.

Having a good understanding of your site’s goals is essential for success. If you have any extra questions about the difference between page views, or unique page views, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

1. Why are the total unique pageviews higher than the session?

Don’t confuse the unique pageview metric with the total number of sessions. Some of them try to compare the total unique pageview (3 in the above image) with the total sessions in the Audience Overview report (1 session). There might be sessions that viewed one or more pages.

2. Can a single user have multiple unique page views?

Yes. A unique pageview is a session-level metric. A single user can have multiple sessions and can generate multiple Unique page views for a specific page (i.e. one per session).

3. What is the main difference between page views and unique page views?

Unique Visitors – which one matters most? For publishers, pageviews are more important as each page view confirms every single impression for each ad. Unique page views tell about the unique visitors on a webpage, this is also an important number for your business to grow.


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