What Are Unique Visitors?

You have probably noticed that there are 2 main numbers on your analytics dashboard: sessions and users.

Most of the time, sessions count is much higher than users as one user can equal to multiple sessions.

In this article, you will learn what a unique visitor means, differences between unique visitors and sessions, and the importance of tracking unique visitors.

What is a unique visitor

Unique visitor is a metrics that’s defined as the individuals who have visited a website at least once. If they visit a website multiple times from the same IP address, they are still counted as one unique visitor.

When a user visits your website, your analytics software creates a unique ID for them based on their device information, IP address, browser, etc., so if the same user changes their browser, device, or IP address, your analytics software would count it as a seperate user.

Google Analytics‘s definition for unique visitor metric: “Unique Visitors are the number of unduplicated (counted only once) visitors to your website over the course of a specified time period.”

Unique user metric is in no way perfect, but analytics softwares take a lot of precautions to ensure that the data is as accurate as possible. For example, HockeyStack has bot filters, which means bot visits are not counted as users.

P.S: If you are looking for free and paid tools for your landing page, check out this article!

Unique Visitor vs Session

So what exactly is the difference between unique visitors and sessions?

When a user enters your website they are counted as a unique visitor, but keeping their browser, IP, device, etc. the same, if they enter your website again, it’s counted as a new session. That’s why sessions are higher than users on your analytics dashboard.

Essentially, if someone visits a page on your website and then visits other pages, leaves your website, and returns to see more pages, he is counted as a unique visitor, but multiple sessions.

A session ends when a user’s inactivity reaches 30 minutes, or if they leave your website and enter from another page.

Analytics tools end user sessions after a certain time as visitors might leave their tabs open and not take any action on your website. Ending those sessions ensure a better data accuracy and decrease the load on your analytics.

Fun Fact: Google was using the term “unique visitors,” but stopped using it because one user can be counted as different users due to a change in IP, browser, device, etc.

If you want to know when will Google Analytics be unable to identify sessions from the same user by default, you can check out this article.

Why is it important to track unique visitors

It is important to track and measure your unique visitor count over a time period because if you don’t acquire more users, then your marketing campaigns don’t work as expected.

While it’s important to turn your unique visitors into returning users as a customer has multiple touchpoint before converting, it’s integral to get more new visitors to your website each month. Without new unique visitors, your potential customer count decreases.

Also, if you are working on your SEO, but your unique visitor metric decreases, then your SEO probably doesn’t work. Because SEO is all about getting in front of new people who are looking for the solution you provide.

On the other hand, if your session count is really high, then you probably have a low bounce rate. That’s a great achievement as it means your internal linking works, and your pages lead customers to read more about you.

How to Analyze Unique Visitors and Sessions

Insights

Understand who converts better with a single click. All automatic, no-code.

  • Know “who” is likely to complete your goals with one click.
  • Click on “see in users” to automatically filter your users by the goal.
  • Change a single filter to analyze the visitors who didn’t complete this goal.
  • Understand visitors’ pain points and optimize your pages.
insights

Goals

With HockeyStack’s Goals feature, you can define your conversion goals in under 30 seconds with no-code and start measuring all your goals on one page.

After you define a goal, you can see which pages referred the most customers to your store, which pages your customers viewed before buying one of your products, and their user properties, such as which country they come from, which device, browser, etc. they use, and which marketing campaigns led to most conversions.

Also, if you didn’t define a goal and want to define it now, you get all the historic data. No data is lost!

hockeystack goals

Automatic Goals

On the other hand, you don’t even need to define a goal with HockeyStack! Get automatic goals and define them by giving a name with 1 click.

automatic goals

User Journey

HockeyStack collects every action automatically with no-code and gives you a step-by-step user journey for each unique visitor.

You can filter your visitors by your goals, session & user properties, and pageviews so that you can find the exact visitors you are looking for and analyze their sessions.

It’s much faster than watching session replays!

user journey

Funnels

With funnels, you can understand which page leads to most drop offs. If your users experience technical difficulties, or if they don’t understand something on the page, then they might exit your e-commerce store.

HockeyStack’s funnels feature will allow you to improve your user experience, fix technical difficulties, and decrease your support load.

hockeystack funnels screenshot

Page-based Metrics

Which pages lead to most entrances/exits, bounce rate, etc. You can analyze your pages’ metrics on one table using HockeyStack!

If one of your products lead to a lot of exits, then probably there is a problem with that product’s page.

page-based metrics