Understanding Google Data Studio

Google Analytics counts every action taken on the landing page where your widget is embedded once the widget loads, as well as within your Engine after a user enters their address. If you are comparing your Google Data Studio to your Clickstream User Data, it is likely that the Google Data Studio numbers will be higher than the Clickstream User Data numbers. Similarly, if you are comparing your Google Data Studio to Google Analytics for the domain where you are hosting your site, your Google Data Studio numbers could be lower than the Google Analytics for the domain where you are hosting your site depending on how quickly users leave the landing page. If you have questions about the relationship between different aspects of your User Data, please reach out to your Customer Success Lead. 

What is the difference between pageviews, sessions, users, and bounce rate?

The most common metrics you'll see in your studio are sessions, pageviews and users

  • A pageview happens anytime your page is loaded on any platform, at any time, by any user.
    • This includes anytime someone visits your site and reloads the page, or clicks a social media link and then returns to the voter guide
  • Sessions are counted when a unique user visits your site any number of times within a half hour.
  • Users are identified as any unique visitor to your site.
  • Bounce Rate is the percentage of users that leave your site after visiting only one page. On a voter guide, this would mean they didn't click on any positions, candidates, or measures.

For example: Lori from Chicago visits your site at 11:30 AM, clicks on a link to a candidate's Twitter account shortly after entering the site, and returns to the site at 11:40 AM. Then she leaves her computer to walk her dog, and returns to the site at 12:10 PM to save a candidate or decision for every position or measure and finishes at 12:35 PM.

  • This would be counted as 3 pageviews, because the page reloaded 3 times, 2 sessions, one starting at 11:30 AM and ending when Lori was inactive while walking her dog, and one starting at 12:10 PM, and 1 user, since nobody but Lori was visiting your site. Your bounce rate from this one interaction would be 0% since Lori visited different pages and filled out a full ballot.

What do all of these graphics mean?

Users and Sessions

  • The top left of the studio shows you a count of sessions on your site over the date range specified.
  • You can see a peak around May 21. Turns out, that was the date of Pennsylvania's primary election, and voters tend to procrastinate.


  • To the right of that is a map. This shows you which geographic areas your users come from. Each dot is a different city, and the size and color of dots is correlated with the number of sessions.
  • This example was mostly used in Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, the surrounding areas.


  • Below the map and graph are a couple charts and tables. The left side shows you how your users found your site by showing what percentage, and what raw amount, of sessions come from which sites. To the right shows a table representation of the map above. Below that is a graph of the number of sessions from links on different social media platforms.
  • As you can see, this example data was found mostly through a link on the seventy.org site or directly, and facebook links dominated other sharing methods.


  • The very bottom of the Users and Sessions section shows the demographics of your users by age and gender.
  • This data shows that our example trended female and "young but not too young" as 25-34 year olds were most represented and 18-24 year olds were least represented.


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