Active Users vs Total Users in GA4

Active Users vs Total Users in GA4 - What's the difference?  If that's the question you have on mind then this post if for you.


If you have been using Google Analytics for the past several years then you might be familiar with Total Users and New User Metrics that are provided in Universal Analytics (old Google Analytics).  However, in Google Analytics 4 or GA4, google has introduced yet another metric called Active Users.

So now you have three metrics instead of two

  1. Total Users
  2. New Users
  3. Active Users

So let's take a look at all these metrics to and clarify what these are

What are the Total Users in GA4?

Total Users is, as the name indicates, the total number of users as identified by their unique identifier e.g. cookie, user_id, etc. that visited your site or app during the time frame that you are looking at in your GA4 reports.

The New User count is similar to what you had in Univeral Analytics.

What are the New Users in GA4?

The number of Active Users who have no previous sessions.  That means these are the users who came to your site or app for the very first time and were active. So keep in mind this does not count users who were not active.  This is where it gets confusing because in Univeral Analytics if a user visits your site or app then are counted in New Users metrics, even if they were not "Active Users".  So that brings up our next metric "Active Users".

What are the Active Users in GA4?

The number of users who visited your website or app and were engaged session on your site/app or when analytics collects:

first_visit - the first time a user visits a website or launches an Android instant app with Analytics enabled

first_open - the first time a user launches an app after installing or re-installing it.

user_engagement - when the app is in the foreground or webpage is in focus for at least one second.

Active Users is the default metric used in GA4


Google Analytics 4 (GA4) online courses

We have several Google Analytics 4 courses to help you learn at your own pace.  These GA courses cover Reporting, Analytics, Administration, and Implementation. Check out GA4 Courses on Optizent Academy.

Need Help with Google Analytics 4?

We provide Google Analytics 4 consulting and training services. We can set up Google Analytics 4 as well as train your team to be self-sufficient. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation.


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