Last Updated on by Dan Stevens
Originally Published May 27, 2021.

What is the difference between sessions and visitors on your Shopify store?

sessions and visitors

Do you own a Shopify Store? If yes, understanding different metrics like sessions and visitors is very important. So what do these terms represent and what is the difference? Let’s explore this in detail.

In order to understand and leverage the Shopify Analytics, you must understand the difference between sessions and visitors on your Shopify store. 

What are sessions?

Sessions refer to the duration of a customer’s stay in your Shopify store.

A session ends in 30 minutes of a customer doing their first activity in your store. Sessions reset every day at midnight. Due to this, a single visitor can have a number of sessions. As a result, the number of visitors is almost always lower than the total number of sessions. 

A session can have multiple activities in the given time frame, such as:

  • Transactions
  • Page views
  • Events
  • Social interactions

Since the average benchmark for session duration is about three minutes, any session longer than that is considered good or fruitful for your store. 

Although sessions help you understand user interaction, it’s better to monitor the Unique Page Views, since a single visitor can have multiple sessions in a day. 

Do admin accounts’ sessions count?

Shopify altered their policy about admin sessions on April 6, 2017. 

When you log in to a device as a Shopify admin, your sessions on the online store will not be counted in the total number of sessions. 

What are visitors?

While sessions give you an insight into the customers’ length of stay on your store, the number of devices a customer uses to access your Shopify store determines the number of visitors. Both of these metrics depend on cookies.

Cookies are files stored on your customers’ computers, phones and tablets when they visit your store. The cookies identifying the customers’ duration of stay and the device are different. 

Lets explain the difference in sessions and visitors with an example 

Here’s an example. If a customer comes to your store for 25 minutes and then returns again in three hours, Shopify counts it as one visitor and two sessions. Their behavior is recorded as two sessions because a session expires after 30 minutes. 

On the other hand, if this customer stayed in the store for 10 minutes and then returned in 15 minutes, Shopify would count it as one session and one visitor.