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What Are Return Visitors
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Return Visitors

What Are Return Visitors

Definition of Return Visitors

The metric of return visitors is a useful way of analyzing and segmenting the audience of your website. On a very basic level, return visitors are users who have been to your site before.

Every visitor to a website generates a unique random number, and a first timestamp, which combines to create their User ID, and allows their visits to the site to be tracked. For returning visitors, the timestamp allows analytics software to determine their status.

The difference between new and return visitors

Although the difference between new and return visitors might at first glance seem blindingly obvious, when it comes to Google Analytics there are some slight nuances in how they are assessed.

New visitors are defined as people visiting your site for the first time on a single device — so each first visit on your laptop, smartphone, and tablet counts as a separate new visit. 

Returning visitors have a time limit of two years, so if a single visitor waits more than two years to return to a website, they will be counted as a new visitor again.

Why is the return visitors metric useful?

A single website visit rarely converts a visitor into a customer, so return visitors are crucial for commercial success.

Understanding your return visitors — why they come back, what attracts them, which page brings in the most Return Visitors, etc. — is key to the performance of your website. If you can increase the number of return visitors, you are far more likely to be able to convert them into customers or deliver the information you intend to.

General FAQ

What are some common promotion methods that will bring return visitors to your site?
Businesses have several techniques at their disposal for bringing return visitors to their site. One is to share new content via social media as soon as it has been published. For example, any blog post or video added to your site should be shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc. immediately. As a result, new content will reach those visitors who may have forgotten your site but still follow you on social media. Another technique is to launch an email newsletter. But it’s vital to gauge frequency right: sending too many too often can frustrate customers and cause them to unsubscribe. Finally, try retargeting with paid ads. This promotion method leverages website cookies to display ads to users who have visited your site. They may include offers to incentivize returns, such as free shipping or discounts.
What are the most common problems that will make visitors not return?
One of the biggest reasons for visitors to abandon your site and never come back? Slow load times. Google research shows the probability of bounce increases by 123% on pages taking as long as 10 seconds to load. Another is poor formatting on smartphones. More than half of all website traffic now comes from mobile devices, and websites should incorporate responsive design to deliver the highest standard of the browsing experience for every visitor. Other issues include failing to target the right audience, weak CTAs, and inefficient navigation.
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