Returning Visitor Metric

How effective is your website at building an audience?

Digital Marketing KPI | Returning Visitor Metric

Returning Visitor Metric Definition

The Returning Visitor Metric tracks what happens when someone returns to your website multiple times. This metric allows digital marketers to see how effective they are at building and retaining an audience online. This is particularly important to demonstrate the value of content marketing efforts.

The metric organizes visits according to the number of times a visitor has returned to a website using the following groupings: 2-3 visits, 4-9 visits, and greater than 10 visits. This metric also provides information about average browse rate (pages per session) and average time on site for returning visits.

The comparison periods, denoted by the %MoM (month over month) columns, allow digital marketers to see how they are trending over time. The returning visitor metric can be used to reverse engineer traffic patterns to see how content marketing strategy impacts audience behavior.

Returning Visitor Metric Challenges

The problem with the returning visitor metric is that if a consumer visits the website a second time and either their device doesn’t accept cookies, they have deleted the cookies or they are using a different device or browser, they will not be identified as a returning visitor.

Returning Visitor Metric Best Practices

  • Infrequent visitors, (2nd or 3rd visit), does not indicate a lack of loyalty--remember to interpret the data based on the nature of your business. Is your product luxury or everyday?
  • You cannot use %MoM of returning visits as a sole or primary indicator of customer loyalty.
  • Pay attention to Avrg. Pages per Visit--this will indicate whether or not the content on your pages matches what your visitors are looking for.

How to Monitor Returning Visitor Metric in Real-time

The returning visitor metric should be coupled with related web metrics to provide a complete view of your digital marketing performance. Consider tracking this metric alongside the awareness metric, first visitor metric, and online conversions metric.

Learn more about how to track your Returning Visitor Metric on a Digital Marketing Dashboard.

Returning Visitor Metric: Top Resources

How Loyal Are Your Customers? This Metric Has the Answer, Ray Cheng

Google Analytics New Labels: Mystery of the Returning Visitors, Feras Alhlou

Setting Up 4 Key Customer Loyalty Metrics, Tom Capper


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