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Understanding User Behavior in a Multi-Device World

In this constantly connected world, users can interact with your business across many digital touchpoints: websites, mobile apps, web apps, and other digital devices. So to help you understand what users do in the increasingly diverse digital landscape, we’re enabling you to view web and app data from the same reporting view. This will be rolling out to all accounts over the next week.

Analyze app and web data in the same reporting view
Any data you send to the same property appears in all of the reporting views, regardless of how you collected that data. This means that if you send data from the web or from a mobile app to one property, both data sets appear in your reports. 

If you want to isolate data from one source, like if you only want to see web data in your reports, you can set up a filter to customize what you see. You can also use other tools to isolate each data set, including customizations in standard reports, dashboards, custom reports, and secondary dimensions. 

Measure web apps
We’ve also added some new app-specific fields to the analytics.js JavaScript web collection library, including screen name, app name, app version, and exception tracking. These changes allow the JavaScript tracking code to take advantage of the app tracking framework, so you can more accurately collect data on your web apps.

How these changes affect you
This product change can affect you in different ways, based on how your account is set up and what kind of data you collect and send to Google Analytics. 

The Visitors web metric and Active Users app metric are now unified under the same name, Users. And, Visits are now referred to as Sessions everywhere in all of Google Analytics. We’ll be making these changes starting today, and rolling them out incrementally over the next week. 

If you collect and send both web and app hits to one property in your Google Analytics account, all your hits will appear in all your reporting views starting today. If you want to keep your web and app data separate, you need to add a filter to your reporting views. 

If you don’t send web and app data to the same property in your account, your data stays the same. 

Everyone, however,  will see the unified metric, dimension, and segment names in their reports.  

Until today, some metrics and dimensions used different names in app views and in web views, even though they presented the exact same data. Now, all metric, dimensions, and segment names are the same, regardless if they’re used for web or app data. This gives you a clear and consistent way to analyze and refer to all of your Google Analytics data. 

Our developer site has more information on these changes:

Read the full list of dimension and metric names:
App / Screen Tracking developer guide:
Exception Tracking developer guide:

Posted by +Nick Mihailovski, Product Manager
LaSharn Dozier's profile photoFarhan Qureshi's profile photoVictoria  Nahar's profile photoAngraj Manjhi's profile photo
I am quite confused about the last analytics update: What is a session exactly ? 

In France, we have several understanding of it:

1) A session includes all actions from a users, including all devices in a period of 30min. 

2) A session includes only actions from one single device, which means if the visitor visits my site with his iphone then with his desktop in 30min, then it counts 2 sessions but 1 single user ?

Please, can you please clearify this to me ?

Best Regards,
Hi Jessica , since i am aware of what you want to know , let me tell you session and users are exactly the same . These people just keep changing the terms for some reason or the other and make it seem more sophisticated. Technically , a session over a website (or for a website) is when a user visits it .
+Nick Mihailovski , I think it would be better to create a "turn on/off" option for "mobile + desktop" feature in the "property configuration". And by default have it turned off.
just names changed then... I think this is beginning of something bigger :)
The name change, ok, but we still don't know what it includes...
This is going to cause a headache on Monday. On the bright side less people will understand this and our salaries will go up as a result
+Aniketh Dsouza Yes I know, this is quite obvious actually. There is no reason for a session to expire if the user is active. My message might have been confusing the way it was written. 

+Matt Sidman Thank you for your answer, but you didn't answer my question.

Let me rephrase my question:

Let's consider a user called John. Let's say John has an iphone, a tablet and a laptop. He starts visiting my site with his laptop, then leave my site. He forgot to read something and come back on my site 2 minutes later with his tablet. Then he leaves again and come back 10 min later on the site using his iphone. So the question is: In this situation, how many sessions will be considered in analytics ? three or a single one ? or does it depend on the fact that John is logging-in or not on his devices with the same gmail account ? I want a simple and clear answer. 

When you say "all actions that take place on a website/app within a given time frame (30 min GA default) by a single user" it is still confusing for me, and I still don't know if activities from different devices are considered or not. The link you gave me does not mention anything regarding the use of multiple devices. However, it helped me to understand one thing: session seems to be thought as one or several visit with a single "purpose" (using the same keyword search for instance so the user's intention remains same). I also understand more how session expires, but still. I don't know about devices.

+Hebert Hernandez This is not exactly what I am asking for, but you made me know about something I didn't know. UserID is a very intesting thing, thanks for that.
Ok guys, I found the answer:

In a Google Analytics implementation without the User ID feature, a unique user is counted each time your content is accessed from a different device and at each new session. For example, a search on a phone one day, purchase on a laptop three days later, and request for customer service on a tablet a month after that is counted as three unique users. (found here:

So, If I understand this correctly, the same person coming to the site with different devices creates new sessions AND new unique visitor, unless you implement the userID system. All clarified for me. 
This is a colossal pain in the ass. Google Analytics has become the new Windows 8. Overly bloated and impossible to find what you're looking for. 
<span itemprop="keypoint"> Visits are now referred to as Sessions everywhere in all of Google Analytics.. </span>
This never has anything to do with my daily counts.
Geoff H
Love this change to the terminology -- makes sense.  Will be easier to explain to staff. Visit and visitor were too close and were often getting confused.

Next: Can you change "unique pageviews" ? Or replace the column with "Users"
+Leonardo Cesario I do not think they share. They share the UA account ID but then their property ID's differ with 1,2, depending on the number of sub properties you create. However, I do not know how can I see a combined usage though. May be its done to observe patterns/behavior using segments
is it working now?
I do not think so. I have two type of property, web and app.
If I select web and do filter - include application to yes - the results are same to filter with application to no.
How can I see data from web and app combined and divided?

This is bullshit. I want to see a unified view of my desktop and mobile PROPERTIES. 

Its not unified until I can do that.
The worst case for me is that I can not combine pageviews from web and from
app. Would be nice to have 1500000 pageviews more in combined view
This is strategy.
By unifying names between desktop and mobile apps you are incited to use the same property for your whole universe, web and app.
You can then create views for each web or app by whatever filter you need.
It is better for UserID implementation and data analysis for cross-platform data when property is unique and terms are identical
It also funnels owners to use the same property for all visits and use up the 10 million hits per month of the free plan.
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