Session vs entrance

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In this article, we’ll discuss why the Experimentation Hub avoids the concept of visits and instead concentrates on entrances and sessions.


While the concept of visit is avoided in the Experimentation Hub, it’s still an important concept in Coveo Usage Analytics (Coveo UA).

See visit for the definition of visits in the context of Coveo UA.

Why avoid visits and entries in the Experimentation Hub?

Visits and entries are both commonly used in the web analytics industry to report site metrics. Visits is defined as set of page views for a visitor and an entry constitutes the page on which that visit starts.

Unfortunately, there’s much disagreement as to what constitutes a valid entry, with some definitions including a significant time period since the last page view, or being referred from an external web page. This is further complicated by some external web pages not implying a new visit. For example, if a visitor makes a payment via Paypal, it shouldn’t break a visit, nor should selecting a button to share or 'like' web content.

It can also happen that the browser may block the referrer URL, making a succession of page views within a visit look like a series of direct entries.

Entrance and session

To avoid this confusion, the Experimentation Hub avoids the concept of visits, with its ambiguous definitions and complications, and instead concentrates on entrances and sessions.

An entrance is defined as any sequence of page views where the first page comes from an external link, entered URL, or bookmark and where all subsequent page views are triggered by a selection within the site.

A focus on direct entrance

A view in the same session as the previous view that lacks a referrer URL, and therefore might be considered a direct entrance, isn’t treated as a new entrance but as a continuation of the previous one. The view will only be treated as a new entrance if it has UTM parameters that suggest it really is a new entrance.

A session is defined as any sequence of page views with less than 30 minutes between each view.

A good example of how the Experimentation Hub applies the concepts of entrances and sessions can be seen in the Experimentation Hub’s Behavioral Attribution. We count the purchase time from the start of the session in which the visitor purchases. But because a session may have multiple entrances, it can appear as though the visitor entered after the purchase happened, when in reality there were multiple entrances. We calculate last click value, and true last click value based on this fact.