What is a returning visitor?
Essentially, returning visitors are users who have been to your website before. When a new visitor comes to your website for the first time, they are associated with a user ID number in the Google Analytics dashboard. That number is then tracked for subsequent visits, allowing you to see data points about returning and new users, including their number of sessions, session duration, etc. However, the visitor ID is singularly attached to the user’s device, so if they make their first visit on their desktop computer and second visit on their mobile device, it will register them as two users. This is one reason the returning visitor metric can be misleading.
Nevertheless, returning visitors are essential because they show your customer loyalty and increase conversion rates. Their behavior can also tell you a lot about your website performance, including which pages they returned to, your bounce rate, and the success of your e-commerce platform from a user standpoint.