If you’re having a website, you will naturally be curious to know about two things.
- How many visitors are visiting it; and
- How many of them are unique visitors.
There will be some who might ask why ‘Unique Visitors’ matter.
That’s because ‘Unique Visitors’ will help you in three ways. They
- Add to your list of site users.
- Indicate how far your website’s reach has come.
- Give you a better understanding of how to grow your business better. This can be judged by seeing how they interact with your brand.
To make things clearer, let us go by an example of your website which has a large email list of people. The same is used by your business for selling electronic products.
Now, take a particular date, say October 30th 2022. Look at the conversion rate on that date. You notice that it is 10 percent.
Again look at the conversion rate for unique visitors. You notice that it is only 1 percent.
This clearly indicates that your business has grown little since the last time. Most of the customers’ are still old ones.
Instead of being content with the overall conversion rate driven by people already engaged with your brand, you should ask yourself why there has been no conversion rate from people who are unique visitors and engaging with your brand for the first time.
This will compel you to change your tactics.
Unique Visitors in Google Analytics refer to the number of non-duplicate visitors (that is, those who are counted only once) to your website over a specific time-frame. These visitors are referred to as ‘New Users’.
- Assigns a unique ID or Client ID (they usually are based on a first-party cookie) to new visitors whenever they land on your website. This allows it to keep track of each user and identify returning visitors against unique visitors over a separate time-frame. Later, the each user’s ID gets stored as a cookie in their respective browsers.
- Filters out visits that are not human. Like visits from crawlers or spiders or any other bots.
Users’ show up on the default Google Analytics dashboard the moment you log into Google Analytics.
The next time when you open Google Analytics, you will notice ‘Users’ and ‘Sessions’ as the first metrics. Earlier, that is, prior to the period before 2014, Google Analytics use to term ‘Users’ as ‘Unique Visitors’ and ‘Sessions’ as ‘Visits.
To make it clear what exactly are Users (‘Unique Visitors’) AND Visits (‘Sessions’),
let us go by an example. An example of four people, say, Andy, Mike, Kalli, & Viv who visited a restaurant for dinner. Visiting a restaurant is akin to visiting your website. Later in the evening, Kalli and Viv drop in at the same restaurant for snacks.
Let us assume that there were no visitors on that particular day when they visited the restaurant. So the unique visitors on that day are four, while the total number of visits is two. Google refers to these as sessions.
Now, if you would like to see a clearer breakdown of unique visits,
- Check out the default report under Audience > Behavior > New Vs Returning. You will notice that all metrics including users and sessions change when the time-period is changed.
Likewise, when you log into Google Analytics first, the date range defaults to the most recent seven days. This will start with yesterday’s date. The dates can be changed easily by using the Date drop-down box in the bottom left-hand corner.
HOW ARE UNIQUE VISITORS TRACKED?
When a user, say Rang, visits your website for the first time, Google Analytics
- Assigns Rang a unique string. This is randomly generated and gets stored as a cookie in Rang’s browser.
- Uses the information stored in the cookie to differentiate a new user from a returning user. This way, it keeps track of the number of times each user visits your website.
At times, user’s data can be inaccurate. This is due to Google Analytics using browser cookies to track unique visitors. As a result, returning users are likely to be counted as new users if they
- Browse the website in incognito mode; OR
- Clear cookies on their browser; OR
- Access the website through different devices; OR
- Use different browsers on the same device.
Likewise, many unique visitors might be counted as one user. This happens when a family of two or more uses one device; OR a group of people numbering more than two access a shared computer system.
Overall, Google Analytics cannot track unique visitors perfectly. However, the deviation will be negligible and will not make much of a difference unless a very small sample size is being used.
HOW USERS DATA HELPS?
- New Users data is useful when running a marketing campaign. Like running a social media advertising campaign or an influencer marketing campaign. The data will allow you to measure and compare the effectiveness of new user acquisition.
- Returning Users data is useful when you have many social media followers or newsletter subscribers’ and your marketing campaign is centered around your site content.
By viewing visitor data in different time frames, you will get a more insightful peek into user behavior. The insights will be especially beneficial during events or marketing campaigns or holidays or special days during the year. You will get to understand how users behave during these occasions.
Unique visitors matter a lot. Without new additions to your customer list, your business will stagnate.
Aside from this, you will not get new valuable data that can otherwise help you identify problems that lurks within and needs to be rectified.