Unique Visitors

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Unique visitors is the term used for a marketing metric that records the number of individual viewers to one or more of a website’s pages within a selected time period.

This metric only counts the views in terms of the number of individual visitors who have viewed the website. It does not record the number of times each visitor viewed the website. Therefore, it provides a different indication of viewing statistics to the number of times that a page has been viewed.

It is important to note that the main flaw with this unit of measurement is the fact that the same user would class as two different unique visitors if they accessed your website from two different IP addresses. The same effect would occur if a user visited the site from two separate devices, or even from two different browsers (e.g. Chrome and Firefox).

The number of unique visitors to your website or page is calculated over a specific time period. Typically, this is within a month. Alternatively, you could measure how many unique visitors you acquire over anything from a couple of days, to several months. Then, you can check your growth (or the success of any campaigns that you may have been implementing) by comparing the numbers of unique visitors that you currently receive against previous time periods of the same length.

What classifies as a ‘visit’?

A ‘visit’ is simply when a visitor accesses one of your website pages from a source that is external to your website itself. This most commonly occurs when a user is on the URL of a different website, and then follows a link to your page from there. Or, a visitor may have also typed in the URL for your website directly.

A typical example of the former would be by finding your website from the results of a search engine.

Once a visitor has reached your website through this external source, this is the point that their ‘visit’ starts. This visit concludes at the point which they cease to be on your website URL. This could occur if they close the browser tab, or visit another website.

The difference between visits and unique visitors

The traffic that a website receives during a given time period can be measured in two different ways. You can either calculate this in terms of visits or unique visitors.

The number of visits involves calculating how many times users visit your website. So, an individual could visit your website once, and then re-visit the site again the next day, and this would class as two visits by one visitor.

Whereas the number of unique visitors is a calculation of the number of individuals who have chosen to access your page, regardless of the number of times. As a result, this calculation provides a more accurate insight into the extent of the outreach that your site has achieved.

How to calculate the number of unique visitors

A unique visitor to a website is identified through the usage of cookies. This is because cookies contain their own unique browser identification. This anonymous identifier acts as an ID which can then be used to track any new visitors to a site.

There are several different online tools that organizations can use to calculate how many unique visitors their website receives. These tools provide users with an insight into the traffic levels of their company site, and how these rates are fluctuating over a given period.

Tools that can be used to undertake this type of data analytics include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Alexa
  • Quantcast
  • SimilarWeb

 Screenshot of Google Analytics

Screenshot with unique visitors digital analytics using analytics.google.com

Importance for Online Marketing

The number of unique visitors that your website receives can be used as a key performance indicator for your company.

This analytics of views and user traffic can be used to measure numerous important areas, including:

  • The success of a content marketing campaign
  • How well you are using SEO
  • The impact that your social media channels are having on your overall company growth
  • Whether your choice of keywords is accurate and up to date
  • How much you can charge for an advert on your web page
  • How much your audience is engaging with your site
  • The benefits that your online marketing efforts are bringing to the company

This metric gives you a clearer insight into how successfully you are attracting customers, and can further be analyzed as to how many of the individuals that view your website eventually translate into new customers.

Furthermore, as with many types of web analytics, the number of unique visitors can act as a target or a goal that you can work towards. For example, you could simply aim for an increase in the number of unique visitors to your web page over a six-month period. Or, you could more specifically aim to increase this statistic through a specific channel, such as your company’s Instagram platform.

Either way, by using marketing methods to increase the number of unique visitors to your website, you are putting your brand in front of a larger audience, and so you are working to gain more potential new customers for your company.

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