How Google Analytics Determines Real-Time Active Users

How Google Analytics Determines Real-Time Active Users

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You may have used Google Analytics (GA) to tracks your website traffic and have been familiar with Real-Time feature that shows number of Active Users, Pageviews per Minute, and PageViews per Second.

But, Have you ever imagined how Google Analytics determines those numbers? 

1. Pageviews per Second

This section shows number of pageviews per second, not surprisingly. It just shows the number of pageviews, so if Alice for example open 3 page on first, second, and third second respectively, those pageviews will be displayed in this section. 


2. Pageviews per Minute

There are no much different in this section compared to previous section. Except, this section uses minutes as a time unit.


3. Active User (Right Now)

Active User section shows number of unique visitor that currently open your site.

This section widely questioned by web developer. Because we know Google Analytics doesnt track your visitor in realtime, such as have visitor closed the browser or have visitor moved to other site.

Active User is a unique visitor in last 5 minutes. For example :

  • If Alice opens page A on 20:00, so Alice will be treated as Active User until 20:05. Despite Alice have closed the page A on 20:01.
  • If Alice opens page A on 20:00 and page B on 20:02, so Alice will be treated as Active User until 20:07.
  • It doesnt matter how many pages that are opened by Alice, the number of Active Users still counted one, because Active User is the number of users and not the number of Pageviews.
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