If you’ve been using Google Analytics for a while now, you’ve probably become acquainted with some of the popular features of this nifty web analytics tool. I love how it gives me an accurate picture of how popular my sites are, based on the number of visits and number of unique visitors.
Data on Returning Visitors
If you’re fairly new to Google Analytics – or if you’ve been monitoring the number of page visits only – then there’s a big chance that you’re missing out on an amazing set of data: returning visitors.
To view this piece of data, log in to Google Analytics, then go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning. You should see a line graph of the total number of sessions per day, and a table of returning visitors and new visitors at the bottom of the page.
Wondering what this particular Google Analytics data means for your website? In a nutshell, the New vs Returning data allows you to check on two essential areas of user experience:
- The level of engagement that your website has
- The probability that first-time site visitors will return to your site for more content
These two areas alone are more than enough for you to start monitoring the ratio of new to returning site visitors. If you’re looking to increase user engagement, you will find this information extremely useful.
Tips To Improve The Rate of Returning Visitors on Google Analytics
Here are some techniques that you can use, in order to amp up the number of returning visitors to your website (as measured by Google Analytics):
1. Start an email subscription list
This strategy has been around for decades, but hasn’t seen much decline since its inception. Maintaining an email list for your website is a convenient and ultra-effective technique to keep tabs with your site visitors, and give them opportunities to come back for more interesting content on your website.
Some of the best ways to make sure that casual visitors subscribe to your email list include the following:
- Offering a free downloadable product or discount coupon
- Sending a free whitepaper or how-to tips
- Reminding them about their last visit to your site
If your website runs on WordPress, you can use email opt-in plugins to make things easier for you to set up email lists.
2. Point them to your social media pages
Integrating social media to your website is another great technique to inform your followers about updates on your site. What’s great about social media is that your followers can share your website links through their timeline or newsfeed, so that their friends get referred to your site.
Here are some quick tips on how to effectively use social media to drive more returning visitors to your site:
- Avoid posting too many ads or obvious promotions. Mix it up by posting a single promotional entry for every 4 or 5 non-promotional posts.
- Steer clear of auto-likes, and avoid setting up fake accounts for the sole purpose of jacking up the number of likes and followers. Always rely on organic following.
- Use social media to engage with your target audience, rather than blasting them with too many promotional posts.
On top of this, you may also want to consider using sponsored posts or promoted posts on the social media channels that you operate on. These services may cost a bit of money, but they allow your website links to get exposed to more online users. Just don’t overdo it, because nobody wants to get flooded with your sponsored content.
3. Offer freebies and incentives for returnees
Who doesn’t like to get free stuff? I know I do! I’ve seen a lot of e-commerce websites displaying a welcome banner for returning customers, and offering them an exclusive discount just for returning to the site. You may also use this kind of strategy for your site, but you will have to use plugins or apps to generate this kind of functionality.
Another strategy is by gamifying the browsing experience in your site. For example, you can encourage them to visit more often by giving away points for their visits. As they accumulate these points, they can exchange the points for special rewards or tokens.
Other Google Analytics Metrics To Monitor
Website owners who use Google Analytics can find advice on how to improve their website following, by monitoring the data available in the interface. Here are some of the best and most helpful analytics metrics that you might have missed out on, aside from returning visitors:
- Audience > Demographics: You can get an overview of the profile of the people who visit your pages, based on age and gender. This is helpful if you want to either target a specific age group or customize your site to favor a particular gender more than the other.
- Audience > Geo > Location: If your website is focused on a particular local area, then this data could be helpful to check if you’re reaching the right location. Otherwise, there might be a need to either change your content or shift to another target location.
- Audience > Mobile: Ever wonder what kind of device your site visitors are using to browse through your pages? By checking this data, you can custom-fit your web design and content to a specific device preference. Better yet, make your web design responsive or mobile-friendly to accommodate just about any screen size.
- Acquisition > Channels: This section of Google Analytics shows which channels refer online users to your site. Whether it’s through organic search, social media, direct domain access, or other referrals, knowing the acquisition source lets you zero in on strategies to boost your visibility in referring channels.
- Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages: The importance of this data lies on the fact that online users will arrive at your website through these landing pages. If you know which pages serve as the most popular landing areas of your site visitors, you can enhance these pages in terms of navigation, advertising, or marketing.
- Behavior > Site Speed: Everybody wants to wait for the page to load… said no one ever! At this day and age when internet speeds are blazingly fast, your pages should load quickly. This information from Google Analytics helps you to check the average page loading time. From this, you can troubleshoot problem areas in terms of page loading speed.
Resting on your laurels is never a good idea when you want to stay on top of the competition. By making use of Google Analytics data – and now that you know the importance of the data on returning visitors – you can maximize the potential of your website to reach more people. You may also find your website slowly inching its way to the top of search results.