Google Analytics: New Versus Returning Visitors

Posted on 8/20/2015 by in Google ANalytics seo New Web Visitor Reports Web Analytics Keyword Referral Top Landing Pages Top Exit Pages Bounce Rate

Google Analytics can help you better understand your web visitors, and in this case, new visitors versus returning web visitors. It's great that you have web traffic that keeps coming back to your website however growing a new visitor base is critical to the growth of your online business. Keeping an eye on those analytics is important.

An effective internet marketing strategy will not only keep your current web visitors coming back for more, but will attract new visitors, new business prospects and should ultimately lead to more customers. You can glean insights about your new and returning web visitors under the Behavior menu in your Google Analytics account.

The default report for visitors will show you how many user sessions for new visitors and returning visitors, and then for each group the average bounce rate (how many users exit the website from the page they landed out without clicking anywhere), the average numbers of pages viewed in a session, and on average how long each group is on the website in one visit. At this high level of data, try not to make too many assumptions about web successes and failures. You probably want to dig another layer deeper to see perhaps why the bounce rate is higher than you'd like or why the number of pages per session is lower than you'd like.  It could be that your returning visitors have a product page bookmarked, and when they re-order they hit that single page and the checkout page, so their pages per session are low, but they are converting traffic.  So be careful when looking at these high level reports.


Google Analytics - Returning Web Visitors

When you start to dig deeper into your visitor behavior, segregate between new and returning.  Look at what pages your returning visitors are looking at, look at their top exit pages and landing pages. Looking at this data can help you develop content that you already know your returning visitors are interested in based on the pages they are viewing. You can also see which are the top pages for returning visitors and run promotions on those pages, or add additional information or calls-to-action that may deepen your relationship with those customers and prospects.

Google Analytics - Returning Visitors Landing Pages

You'll want to look at exit pages, landing pages and top content for your returning visitors.

For new visitors you might look at top landing pages, keyword referrals, website referral sources (where your new traffic is coming from), and pages with high bounce rates on new visitors. A page with a high bounce or exit rate with your new visitors might tell you that some of your landing pages need some work. You may need to fine tune your content, add a clear call-to-action, or clean up the usability of a page. This data can help you better understand if your visitors aren't finding what they are looking for when they enter your site.

For new visitors, compare keyword entry to landing page and exit rate or bounce rate.  It could be they are landing on a page based on a keyword, that isn't well represented on that page. This type of analysis can also help you fine tune your SEO efforts at a more granular level.

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