Session conversion rate vs user conversion rate

What you need to know abut the two metrics, the benefits of using each, and how to set up user conversion rate in GA


You may have heard the term ‘user conversion rate’ and not thought much of it compared to the usual conversion rate metric you hear about, but user conversion rate is an important metric to understand.

The differences between session conversion rate vs user conversion rate

You’ll typically see your session conversion rate in Google Analytics, labelled ‘ecommerce conversion rate’ if you’ve got ecommerce tracking set up, or you’ll see ‘goal conversion rate’ if you’re basing your conversions on goal completions.



If you have 10,000 sessions in one month, and 100 transactions, then your session conversion rate is 1%

When working out session conversion rate vs user conversion rate, the difference is which figure you to define visitors; sessions or users.


Session: The period of time a user is active on your site or app. By default, if a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, any future activity is attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.

Source: Google

The problem with using sessions to calculate conversion rate is that users can have multiple sessions. Somebody might be looking at your website during their breaks at work throughout the day, let’s say this was 3 sessions. If they then converted later that day, your conversion rate for that one person would be 33%. That’s why User Conversion Rate is a more robust metric to use.

User conversion rate is the proportion of individual users, based on Google’s 6 month cookie (rather than the one which goes on 30 minutes of inactivity we talked about earlier), that are converting on your website.

There are caveats of course, for example it’s hard to track one person across different devices, and if somebody deletes their cookies regularly (or uses an incognito browser) then they’d end up counting as more than one user.


How to find out your user conversion rate

Out of the 10,000 session figure we used before, let’s say you have 8,000 users in one month, and the same 100 transactions, now your user conversion rate is 1.25%. Just by using users instead of sessions, you can see the difference in conversion rate. This doesn’t mean you’re making any more money, but you now have a more stable metric to analyse that won’t vary like sessions can.

You can add this metric into your Google Analytics account by following the steps below:

  1. Go into the ‘Admin’ section of your Google Analytics account
  2. Go into ‘Calculated Metrics’



3. Create a ‘New Calculated Metric’


4. Name it ‘User Conversion Rate’, change the formatting type to ‘Percent’, and add the following formula in: {{Transactions}} / {{Users}}


5. Now click ‘Create’

6. Now create a custom report with your new metric. Data will be available immediately for you to view.

You can also use our user conversion rate calculator to calculate user conversion rate for anything you’d like. When deciding between session conversion rate vs user conversion rate, we recommend you use the ‘User Conversion Rate’ metric wherever you can. Especially for A/B testing.

If you’d like to learn how to improve your user conversion rate, then Worship can help. We’re a CRO agency with specialist expertise in ecommerce and financial services. If you’d like a free CRO strategy call, call 0161 713 2434 or email [email protected].


Lee Preston

17th September 2019

Need help with your GA set up?

We can perform a GA healthcheck and give you advice on tracking.

Get in touch

Are you ready to improve your website’s conversion performance?