Why Google Analytics Show Zero Sessions?

You may sometime see zero sessions assigned to a page but at the same time see pageviews, user count, exits and other metrics for the page:

How come a page has got pageviews but is still not a part of a GA session?

How come a page has got 1 user but still no GA session is assigned to it?

This happened because Google Analytics assign session count only to the first hit in a session.

A hit is a user’s interaction (pageview, screenview, event, transaction etc) with your website that results in data being sent to the Google Analytics server.

A group of hits recorded for a user in a given time period is called ‘session‘.

A session count is the number of sessions recorded by GA in a particular time period.

When a person enter your website via a page (called the landing page), it triggers a pageview hit.

If this is the first hit sent to the Google Analytics server then GA assign the session count to the ‘pageview’ hit.

But GA does not assign session count to subsequent hits in the session.

As a result landing pages are assigned session count.

So in your GA reports you can see session count for all landing pages.

You should not see zero sessions assigned to any landing page:

Any page which is not a landing page does not trigger the very first hit (like very first pageview, screenview, event, transaction etc).

As a result no session is assigned to such pages and you see zero sessions reported by GA.

For example, in the screenshot below, the page ‘/ ecommerce installation’ is not a landing page. That’s why zero sessions are assigned to it:

Now how come this page has got 1 user, 1 pageview, 1 unique pageview and 1 exits, despite of zero sessions?

Google Analytics assign 1 user to each page in the session.

For example, if a person entered your website via the page: ‘/ecommerce/’ and then navigated to the page ‘/ecommerce/utility/’ and then to ‘/ ecommerce installation’ then here is how GA will report user count for each page:

Here GA has assigned the same user to each page he visited in a session.

But since it is still a single user, GA reported only 1 user (in the total column).  

If GA doesn’t do that then the ‘users’ metric will be inflated and you will see more users than the one, who actually visited your website.

You may find this type of reporting weird but that’s how it is, for now.

Since only the landing page is assigned session count, GA will report session only for the page  ‘/ecommerce/’:

A Pageview is counted every time a page loads into a web browser:

A unique pageview is counted only once for a page in a session:

An exit is counted only for the page from which a user left your website.

Now if the user left your website from the page ‘/ ecommerce installation’ then it will be assigned exits count. All other pages will be assigned zero exits:

Since GA assign session count only to landing pages, any metric based on sessions (like ‘pages / session’, ‘% new sessions’ avg. session duration etc) is also assigned only to landing pages and not to subsequent pages visited by a user:

Here, ‘/ ecommerce installation’ is not the landing page, so all session based metrics are reported zero by GA.

You are more likely to see zero sessions in your report when you create and use custom reports which query session metrics with hit level dimensions.

So you could see zero sessions assigned to an event category:

Similarly, you could see zero sessions assigned to an ecommerce hit like ‘Internal Promotion Name’ 

Another example,

You are more likely to see zero sessions in your report when you create and use custom reports which query session metrics with hit level dimensions.

So avoid doing that and you should be fine.

Related Articles:

Learn about the Google Analytics Usage Trends Tool

The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.

Do you want to Learn Web Analytics in 8 Weeks?

  • Learn and Master Web Analytics, Conversion Optimization & Google Analytics from Industry Expert in 8 weeks.
  • Lifetime access to the course + Lifelong FREE course updates.
  • New study material added every few months (lifelong learning).
  • Up to date training material.
  • Most exhaustive course on Google Analytics on the internet.
  • Hundreds of Assessments to test your learning.
  • Your 24/7, 365 days a year reference source.
  • Learn at your own pace and from any place.

Take your Analytics knowledge to the next level. Checkout my Best Selling Books on Amazon

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

error: Alert: Content is protected !!