April 12, 2010

How Unique Visitors Tie to Your Bottom Line


Hostway Team

By Meredith Barnhill

Users who visit a Web site are also called "visitors." For analytical purposes, they are divided up into two groups: unique users and returning users. How many and what types of users affect a Web site's rating within Internet measurement companies like Nielsen and can directly affect your page rank within a search engine like Google.

What Makes a Visitor Unique?

Unique visitors are users who have never visited your Web site before. Tracking users involves depositing cookies, which are digital footprints of where the user has been, or reading individual IP addresses, a specific connection to the Internet. It's important to note that unique user statistics can be misleading because cookies eventually expire and individual IP addresses can contain more than one user.

Unique Users

If the Web site experience is good for unique visitors, they will become returning users. This means more page views and more valuable advertising space.

It is also important to distinguish unique users from returning users. If your unique user statistics are high but returning users are nonexistent, it might indicate that there is something wrong with your Web site. The user experience might be bad or ineffective at retaining a large user base. Knowing that statistic might help a company determine what changes to make to retain users.

Unique Users and Advertising

The more unique users visit a Web site, the more users will be viewing advertising for that particular site. The primary business model for Web sites today is an ad-based revenue system based on page views. The more users who visit a Web page, the more valuable the ad space is. When presenting advertising packages to companies, your knowledge of how many returning and unique visitors can sell an advertising package.

More unique users mean that a larger group of people have seen the content on your Web site. An increase in unique visitors could mean that a recent marketing campaign was successful and that the reach of the Web site has been extended into different demographics. More analytics would reveal which audiences responded to the marketing strategy.

Knowing which marketing techniques are affecting traffic to the Web site can help determine future marketing campaigns. This means less money wasted on ineffective marketing by tailoring campaigns to users based on analytics.

About the Author

Meredith Barnhill is a multimedia journalist who has been working on various Web sites for almost three years.

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