Returning visitor

When trying to understand your website traffic, checking your Google Analytics metrics for new vs returning visitors can paint a picture of how your marketing strategy works and how your audience and users are engaging with your site. We will explore what they are, how they’re measured, and how to maximize your metrics.


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    Templates using this KPI

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    Integrations using this KPI

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.

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How to calculate returning visitors

Calculating your returning visitor rate is a ratio of returning visitors to unique visitors. It is simple to calculate and can be displayed for you in your analytics dashboard.

Returning visitors formula

Rate of returning visitors = number of returning visitors in a given period / Total unique visitors

What is a good returning visitor rate?

This figure can vary according to the industry, but overall, a good returning visitor rate is anything over 30%. This shows that your new vs returning users are reasonably balanced and that you are getting a solid stream of first-time visitors and building up a dedicated and loyal customer base.

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What is a bad returning visitor rate?

Having avg returning visitors below 30% would indicate that most of your visitors are experiencing their first session on your site. Therefore, you should orient your marketing campaigns to encourage repeat visits. Few conversions are made on a first visit or new session, so establishing a higher returning visitor rate will be essential to brand growth.

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Returning visitor KPI examples & templates

From GA to digital marketing and eCommerce, these reports give you a good view of all your online marketing strategy metrics and overall online performance. 

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Google Analytics template Google Analytics template

Google Analytics is a one-stop-shop where you get an overview of your visitors’ behavior when they’re interacting with your brand online. Get your total number of unique visitors, page loading time, returning visitors vs new visitors, bounce rate, and much more. 

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Digital marketing report template Digital marketing report template

From social media to SEO, this template gives you a good overview of your online marketing strategy metrics and overall user experience. Track your page views and marketing campaigns in real-time or over a certain period of time. 

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Ecommerce report template Ecommerce report template

Regroup all of your important metrics like your total sales, conversion rate, traffic sources, and so much more in an easy-to-set-up eCommerce report.

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Returning visitor best practices

Consider these tips if you see too many new visits on your site and not enough returning visitors.

Unique visitor best practices

step 1 icon Content distribution strategies

Explore your engagement and digital marketing outreach options. Target your desired demographics through social media and cross-channel strategies. Create frequent new content to generate engagement, and increase the number of users interested in visiting your site a second time.

step 2 icon Analyze your website content

Reflect on your visitor data to understand your website behavior, popular landing pages, page views, and visitor type, and focus on optimizing your content for those areas. Or, if you find that your site is reaching the wrong audience, consider retargeting to target the correct user type for your e-commerce sites.

step 3 icon Focus on subscriptions

Getting visitors to sign up for email marketing can increase website visitors from loyal customers, grow your email list, and build the total number of customers you have in your Loyalty base.

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