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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 at 9:53 am

Are Your Existing customers Messing Up Your Analytics?

By Melissa Burdon
February 26th, 2009

If you offer a subscription based product or service, you may find that your “direct traffic” is above average. This could be an indication that your existing customers/members are coming back to your site for additional information they need.

If these customers aren’t tagged somehow and you don’t have in depth analytics in place, you probably aren’t effectively separating their behavior from the behavior of new visitors to your site. This makes it difficult for you to point out stumbling blocks on your site because your existing customers and new visitors may be landing on the same pages and navigating to the same pages on your site even though their tasks may be very different. You should suspect that their behavior would be dramatically different, but you have no way of separating them.

In order to gain valuable insight from looking at your analytics and trying to help new visitors buy more effectively, you need to be able to assess their behavior without the existing customers providing additional noise to the data.

If this rings true for you,  what are you currently doing to be able to make effective assumptions from analytics?

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Comments (19)

  1. Why is it only with subscription-based services that it becomes difficult to separate new and returning visitors? Can’t you use the analytics tool that tells you how many visitors were new and how many were returning?

  2. I use Google Analytic’s advanced segments to differentiate between new and returning visitors – it’s one of the default segments. Then I can apply any of the reports available in GA to just that segment.

  3. I use the advanced segments to filter those who visited the members page (the “homepage” after succesfull log in).

    New vs. returning visitors is an OK filter but non customers can easily be returning visitors.

  4. The way I helped remove some of this skewing of direct types just for logging in, was to actually move the login page, and encourage them to bookmark and return to that page, instead of the homepage.

    You can also set up a segment to get rid of users who only visit the homepage and login.

    Rich Page

  5. One technique I use on all my sites is to have a GA profile which only shows generic search traffic. Although this is obviously only a sample, I find it useful as a proxy for the behaviour of people who do not already know the brand and the site.
    It’s not accurate, of course, but it often provides clues.

  6. We setup a custom filter to only include New Visitors using Google Analytics:

    Custom Filter -> Include -> Visitor Type -> New – Case Sensitive “No”

    This doesn’t answer the question about returning visitors who are not already customers.

  7. It varies by the site (we have four). On one which has high paid subscription percentage we only track New Visitors in GA.

    Another is an ecommerce site with corporate clients doing a significant share of the buying. For this one we created separate “stores” personalized to their “look”wherein all their employee purchase take place. This allows us to easily distinguish the “tied” houses statistics within GA.

  8. We use different segments for Direct traffic, CPC, Referrals, brand name and organic search traffic. This way you can measure and track different activities.

  9. We send existing customers to a different site with different analytics. Problem solved. =)

  10. I use only Google Analytic.

  11. I use only Google Analytic too.

  12. i personally use google analytics to determine which are returning visitors and which are new. then i look at their behavior and which pages they viewed.

  13. Google analytics are great with recency of visits, loyalty,etc. However, they do still put noise. I actually have different analytics for sign in and non sign in users.

  14. This is a very interesting point my friend. How many of those customers which keep coming back and back again are messing up your numbers. Perhap the conversion and CTR numbers are much higher than we think!

  15. I have always segmented my returning customers from the newbies with google analytics. It take a little bit to sort them out, but it works great now.

  16. mastürbasyon yapan kızların erotik videoları.

  17. Great tool for seeking out the best keywords to use.

  18. i find it hard to really doing effective analytics. I just use google analytics which sometimes it’s hard to really differentiate my traffic source, but i gues it’s still the best free tool.

  19. Like Rich Page above we’ve constructed our site with the login page separate from the Homepage.

    This is essential because the site becomes a daily entry point for the subsequently-hired salesmen that the homepage is designed to attract.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

More articles from Melissa Burdon

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