When it comes to understanding the popularity, demographics, and engagement of your website, there are perhaps no greater identifiers than unique visitors.
But what exactly are unique visitors, and how can they be useful to business owners?
What Is A Unique Visitor?
As its name might suggest, a unique visitor is a person visiting your website for the first time.
Obviously, from an analytical perspective, these first time visitors represent several things, which makes them a very important piece of statistical data that business and website owners would be wise to take note of.
Google classifies unique visitors as the number of unduplicated (counted only once) customers who have visited your website over a specific, defined period of time.
Many of these time periods are viewed in daily, weekly, or monthly increments, allowing businesses to properly gauge the influx of visitors they receive.
How Are They Useful?
Unique visitors are important due to the information they provide to the website host or business owner.
Firstly, when each person enters a website, information is saved on them, and provides a ‘footprint’ of sorts, based on their history, what they search for, and their general behavior.
This allows business owners to get a sense of the demographics that they appeal to, and the behavior of the people who frequent their site.
This can be great for targeting content to specific customer bases, thus increasing the popularity, applicability, and hopefully the level of engagement that your products, services, or content have to the people.
It can also be a good way of noticing where there is growth (demographically), or where there are short falls – that is, areas of society where your business, products or services are not landing as well as others.
User flow is very important from a logistical point of view, as it shows the website owner the processes that visitors will take through the website to complete a specific task.
This can yield a lot of information regarding the accessibility of the site, how easy it is to complete key tasks (such as purchasing items), and in some sense can gauge how well their content is reaching their key audiences.
Frequent site visitors will have predetermined ways they do things, but new visitors can provide a lot of information, especially with regards to how functional and understandable a website is to first time visitors.
Businesses can use this information to make changes where necessary, such as in the accessibility of the features and services, or even simple things like layout, positioning, the amount of information on each page, and optimized color schemes.
Business owners can also learn a lot about customer behavior by taking note of unique visitors.
Frequent visitors to a website will have clearly defined patterns of behavior, be it in terms of their search times, their session lengths, the things they look at, and the items they purchase.
However, new visitors are fresh, pure pieces of data that can give a lot of insight into how a new face will interact with what you have to offer.
It can also be a good way for companies to gauge how well customers are responding and interacting with the specific content they put out.
For example, if customers have followed a video link that takes them to the company’s website, but they leave immediately (or a short time) afterwards, then the company might want to re-examine their video, and possibly make changes to make it more entertaining or engaging – particularly if this is a frequent statistical occurrence.
Attrition of sales is when a customer reduces (or stops entirely) their spending.
This is obviously only applicable to certain types of websites – those who sell products and services – but can be a great way for those companies to gauge their own shortcomings.
These shortcomings could then be fixed by way of new product lines, targeted discounts to long term customers, or specific advertising campaigns based on best selling products.
When owning a business, it is even more important to see where you are failing, than it is to see the successes. Failings cause financial losses, and thus it is important to plug these leaks as soon as you can.
You can also see the performance of products, and how well they are selling, based on what new customers purchase.
When you combine this information with that of long term customers, you can begin to notice certain patterns, and identify which products are firm favorites, and which ones are frequently ignored by new and old customers alike.
This is used all the time by clothing companies, who will then place those items in the sale bin when this trend is recognized.
This allows them to potentially increase their sales on these failing products, and recoup some losses from a less popular item.
How Are They Monitored?
There are countless pieces of software on the market, but popular choices include Google Analytics, a Google owned system that allows business owners to hone and filter the information they receive.
This can allow them to monitor old customers (who they can then target with promotions etc), keep track of new customers (to monitor spending habits etc), and cater the service they provide to the types of customers they are continuing to receive.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about unique visitors, and how they can be important and useful for business owners and website hosts alike.
Obviously there are many pieces of useful information that unique visitors can provide, with the most important being the ability to make key changes in your business practice to attract and maintain more customers.
This perhaps goes some way to explain why analytics are continuing to be such an important part of modern business practices and online marketing.