Returning visitor using Google Analytics: How to analyze them?
Last Updated on February 14, 2021 by Santhosh Muralidhar
A website without any traffic is like a river without water. Be it with starting a new blog, e-commerce marketplace, social sites, company websites or any type of website needs the traffic to expand their business in this online world.
But what is very tricky & interesting is the quality of the traffic matter more than the quantity of traffic.
Now the term “quality traffic” further encourages us to know about something known as loyalty & engagement. Interestingly in many cases, a returning visitor would have more loyalty towards the website than a new visitor.
Thus it is good to focus on increasing the rate of returning visitors on a website.
In this article let us understand the definition, the metric, the dimension & more about the behavior of a returning visitor using google analytics.
What is the definition of a returning visitor?
A returning visitor is a visitor who has visited the website in the past. This returning visitor could have developed loyalty towards the website and hence is once again visiting the same website to see more interesting stuff on the website. If you would like to see the data & metric related to your returning visitor using google analytics just follow the below-given steps.
- login to your google analytics account.
- ensure that you are in the master data view / raw data view.
- go to audience reports.
- under audience click on Behavior.
- Click on the new vs returning visitor report.
For the purpose of understanding the topic, you can refer to Digital Santhosh’s reports of returning visitors using google analytics.
Pay close attention for a few seconds and analyze the Blog’s report of the returning visitor using google analytics. As you can see the blog has over a total of 200+ users visiting the site from Feb – July 2018. these users had contributed to 500+ sessions with an average time duration of around 3 minutes.
The second row refers to the reports of returning visitors using google analytics. The report says that the blog has close to 10% returning visitors. And these returning visitors have engaged with the website way lot better than 90% of the new visitors. The dimensions of the returning visitor have better values to metric than that of the new visitor. let’s get a bit deep into these dimensions & metrics now.
Session reports of returning visitors using google analytics.
A session is a time interval within which the visitor is staying active on your website. The reports of returning visitors using google analytics suggest that a total of 576 sessions were recorded in the given date range. But the new visitors have contributed to only 38% of the sessions.
Whereas the 10% returning visitors have contributed to over 60% of the total sessions, making up to nearly 350+ sessions. So, we can clearly say that the returning visitors have clearly outperformed the new visitors when it comes to sessions.
Bounce rate report of the returning visitor using google analytics.
A bounce rate indicates the percentage of sessions in which the visitors left your website without viewing not more than one page.
It can also be referred to as the percentage of sessions in which the website visitors were inactive for more than or equal to 30 minutes.
The reports suggest that the blog has over 36.11% of bounced sessions. Interestingly the new visitors who add up to 90% of the total visitors have contributed to around 57% of these bounced sessions.
Whereas the returning visitors who add up to only 10% of the total visitors have contributed to around only 22% of the total number of bounced sessions. Lesser the bounce rate, better is the fortunes for the website. Hence, here again, the returning visitor has proven to be more valuable than the new visitor when it comes to bounce rate.
Average session duration.
As per the google analytics reports the blog has an average session duration of 3 minutes. The new visitors have an average session duration of only 1 minute. But, the returning visitors on an average stay on the website for 4 minutes.
There is no point in putting a ton of marketing efforts just to have your site visitors leave the website very fastly. A long session duration indicates that the visitor spent more time on the website consuming more relevant website content.
Here in our case, the average session duration of the returning visitors is higher than the avg. session duration of the new visitors. Once again the returning visitor has proven to be more valuable than a new visitor.
Pages per session report of returning visitors using google analytics.
As per the reports on an average, a returning visitor views 2.81 pages per session while a new visitor on average views only 1.62 pages per session. Clearly, the numbers are in favor of the returning visitors.
Goal Conversion Rate.
For now, the Blog has a goal of getting more than one page views from each and every session. And I have set up goals in google analytics to track the sessions which get more than one view.
Every time a visitor visits more than one page, GA will trigger the completion of one Goal. Around 60% of the website visitors are completing the goals.
Out of which the returning visitors are contributing to around 67% of the goal conversions. while the new visitors contribute to only 49% of the total amount of goals completed. Once again the returning visitor has an upper hand over the new visitor.
Acquisition Source/Medium of the Returning Visitors
Tracking the path taken by your visitors is a vital thing. Because for a website, marketers will be using n number of tactics to drive traffic. When you get some 50 returning visitors for the website you must be in a position to attribute and determine the exact channels and source of the visitors.
So, to analyze the acquisition reports of the returning visitors you need to perform the following steps:
Go to Audience >> Behavior >> New vs returning
Under User, type click on retuning visitor report
Go to Secondary dimension
Choose Acquisition >> Source/Medium
This will show all those sources and medium which drive the returning visitors to the website. In my case, I have 56 returning visitors coming from organic Google search. Also, my website has good returning visitors traffic from the direct source and quora as well.
Analyzing Landing Pages of the Returning Visitors
This will perhaps help in determining the page or the blog posts which drive returning visitors.
Follow these simple steps to analyze the landing pages of the returning visitors
Set User type to returning visitors as described earlier.
Go to Secondary dimension >> Behaviour >> Landing Page
There are various strategies that a digital marketing consultant could implement to increase the percentage of returning visitors. A few of the popular ones are remarketing, email subscriber list building, audience aggregation, etc.
With all these said, the value of the metrics related to the new visitor and returning visitor in google analytics can vary from businesses to businesses. it isn’t a constant thing. But in general, the returning visitor would have more affinity and loyalty to your brand than a new visitor. Thus creating an opportunity for your business.
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