Why Google Analytics "Session quality" is hardly useful
Business summary: Session quality is session scope metric and when creating retargeting segments it's possible to unintentionally exclude valuable users.
We all noticed brand new metric in Google Analytics interface. Majestic "Session Quality". It's already essential part with shortcut to easily create retargeting list based on this number. Let's have a closer look whether it's really as revolutionary as we thought it will be.
The first thing that comes to a mind is its name which contains word "session". That's quite a limitation :(. And I try to name couple of reasons why I think so. When it was announced that there will be such a metric released, I secretly hoped it will be kind of a sophisticated "User scoring". A metric that will identify user's touchpoints which indicate users close to conversion. Then we just retarget them and see how we're rolling in money. Unfortunately, it's not. As mentioned in official documentation:
That's something I'm not happy with. Considering all the user scope transition activities is this metric disappointment. Let's have a look to two hypothetical users's sessions. For better understanding: the higher session quality, the higher proximity to conversion.
As obvious user A is very close to conversion. What if we try to create a segment into campaign in which we will exclude all users with session quality less than 20? We simply lose him and money. Second example:
User B is very unlikely to convert. Very low session quality with one exception, where he did something that boosted it. Again, if we do the retargeting segment including all the users with session quality higher than 80? We'll invest into user, who is unlikely to convert. It'll be nothing, but waste of time and what is more important money.
One more thing. It's a machine learning blackbox, so we have no idea how it's calculated. Maybe it somehow takes into consideration all user's session. If I sum it up, it's to many IFS to rely on it. All of mentioned above wouldn't happen if the metric was user scope, respected multiple sessions and gave us just one actual number for one particular user in time. So, the solution still has to be custom one and fortunately there are many scripts available online. Just do some GTM magic and make it work. The concept of metric is great, but as it is now it has to be used very wisely and when creating segments, please think twice :).
Happy segmenting :)