Visits and Visitors – two pillars of Web Analytics

visits and visitors

Understanding Visits and Visitors Concept is as important as understanding the formula —–> (a+b)² before learning other concepts of Algebra.

We are living in an era where digital marketing is reaching its new height and is evolving every single day. By looking at the astonishing figures on how much companies are spending on their digital marketing, we can understand its importance. It has almost become a compulsion for companies to move into this platform or else they will surely be left behind.

Applying various tools of marketing, investing in ad campaigns and social media becomes meaningful only when you are able to analyze what you are getting out of it. The investment and application is the first step of marketing but understanding its results and behavior is the main point.

There are lot of features which we discuss when we talk about analytics but the most important and key factor is to understand its basics. Experts always recommend digital marketers to clear their basics first and then jump to any reports of analytics. It is advisable to avoid any kind of incorrect predictions and misunderstanding of the data available.

This blog from digihooks will only focus to deliver you an insight and in-depth knowledge of the two most important and basic phenomenon of web analytics. The two pillars which we are talking about are – VISTS and VISITORS. All our analytics revolves upon these two things and our major goal is always to increase both, on our website. Thus, not understanding these two facts will surely lead to the failure of a campaign.

Before we move on to visits and visitors directly we will have to know what do we mean by a PageView? As we can understand from the word itself, it has something to deal with viewing any page. By page here we mean a webpage of a website. A PageView is the number of times a person is coming and viewing your webpage. Even if the person is just scrolling and not clicking on anything it is counted as a PageView.

Cookies are second most important phenomenon to know before we move on to visits and visitors. A cookie is just like an “Adhar card” or an “identity card” for each user. It is a unique Id for every user that visits a particular website. A cookie in technical definition is packet of small data which hold the ID of a user. It is called on from the server each time a user visits a website. Cookies are browser based. This means internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google chrome, opera will have different cookie for the same user. Cookies are used by websites to know the user behavior, pattern and provide a customized experienced for them. We can use one single cookie for many products on our website by use of sign- “D limiter” .It is best used in the E-commerce industry where they cannot have one single cookie for each of their product. Cookies also help them to track the customer which helps them in remarketing campaigns. We will talk a bit more about it when we take on web analytics.

Now, as we got the concept of a page view and cookies, we are in the best stage to take on the most important topics of analytics- Visits and Visitors. These two topics are very easy to understand but is very confusing.

Visits / Sessions – In simple language it is an interaction between a user and a webpage of a website. If we take an example from daily life- Just imagine you went along with your family to visit your uncle in the US, this will show that this is your 1st visit or we would say one visit. If you go there second time it’s your second visit.

Only thing to remember here is that in case of Google Analytics ,a visit gets over when there is 30mins of inactivity by the user. Inactivity means no clicks or change of page by the user. Even if the user is just scrolling on the webpage for more than 30mins or is just reading something on it without clicking anywhere without changing the webpage, it means the visit will get over. After 30mins a new session starts i.e. a new visit.

EgJohn comes on an about me page of www.digihooks.com at 12:45 pm and at 1:20 PM he is on the same page then the visit got over at 1:15PM and a new visit starts at 1:15PM. But, if John clicks on a column of Media at 1:14, then the number of visit or session remains 1 as the activity has been done before 30mins.

In case of Adobe analytics, even 12hours of continuous activity on a webpage also leads to a new visit or session. It is different for different analytics platform but the concept of visits and visitors remain the same.

In the next blog, digihooks will provide better examples which will make things clearer.

Visitor/Users – A user that makes a visit to your website is known as a visitor. In the previous example, you are one unique visitor visiting the US and each of your family members are unique visitors. Just as in real life, each of you are identified as unique user or visitor, in web analytics also, each visitor is identified by its unique ID that is there in the cookie. As explained, the unique id is in the cookie which holds your identity. This means, when John visits www.digihooks.com , the websites puts a cookie and stores the information about John (no personal info), to understand John’s behavior over the website and internet. It will be identified by the cookie whenever John comes back to their website.

Things to remember about visitors:

  • When a user comes to a website from different campaigns it is considered to be a different visitor. For eg- If John comes on www.digihooks.com from an email marketing campaign and on another tab he comes on the same site www.digihooks.com from Facebook ad and in the third tab he comes to the same page by directly typing page url on the browser. Then the Google Analytics will consider it to be as 3 unique visitors visiting your website.

It shows number of visits and visitors are counted on the basis of different campaigns they are coming from.

  • As we know, visitors are identified by cookies and cookies are browser based, therefore it would be better to say that the visitors are also browser based. For eg- If John is visiting www.digihooks.com from Mozilla and he is coming to www.digihooks.com from Internet explorer he will be considered as two different users or visitor.
  • Remember, if cache memory is deleted from the PC then the user visiting any website after that will be considered as unique visitor.Number of visit will also be considered as 1. The reason behind this is, deleting the cache memory leads to deleting of cookies. This means next time a new cookie has to be installed for that particular user by that website.

For eg– Imagine www.digihooks.com has reports about John that his number of visits is 5 and number of visitor is 1. But, after John deletes his cache memory then he will be considered as a new visitor and a new a visit by www.digihooks.com as a new cookie will be installed for him.

A few more real time examples will make life a bit easier for us. You can expect some brilliant examples in the next blog only explaining you the concepts of page views, cookies, visits and visitors.

Watching the video below by ConversionUniversity will surely help you to brush up the above concepts of visits and visitors.

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