Publishers use many metrics to measure their traffic, readership & audience. One of the metrics used is “returning visitors” – usually taken as an indication of loyalty. But how accurate is this?
Understanding Returning Visitors:
New Visitors are those navigating to your site for the first time on a specific device. If you visit your website from your desktop computer at work, and then visit your website again from your iPhone, Google Analytics would record you as 2 new users. (Google is getting smarter about this—if you’re logged onto your Google Chrome browser and repeat the actions above, you would be recorded as a New Visitor on your desktop, and a Returning Visitor on your iPhone.)
Returning Visitors have visited your site before and are back for more. Google sets a 2-year expiration date on New Visitors. If someone has visited your website within the past two years and returns from the same device, they are marked as a Returning Visitor in our Google Analytics. If it has been more than two years since someone has visited your site, the next time they return they will be counted as a New Visitor again.
But a very important note has to be made: Google Analytics was not developed specifically for publishers – rather, it has been targeting corporate establishments & e-commerce websites. Therefore, results measured are not quite accurate in terms of publishers.
So who is a Loyal Visitor?
Simply returning to a website within a certain time frame does not qualify as loyalty. We can look at it this way: loyalty means a certain “investment” has been made. This can be in the form of:
- Subscribing to your services or newsletter
- Followed a certain topic
- Attended an event or webinar
- Downloaded your app
- Has directly looked up your website (i.e. not a referral from other platforms such as social media)
- Follows you on social media
- Engages with & shares your articles frequently
- Visits your website at least once per week
Convert visitors into loyal readers:
For any business to succeed, fostering consumer loyalty is a must. The latter is built through delivering value & moving away from “a one size fits all” approach. Offering exclusive content, personalized newsletters, relevant content & clear intent are just a few steps. To sum up, the days of chasing traffic are gone.