Making new vs. returning visits more human centric

September 6th, 2011 by Dawn

This past Sunday morning, we made a change to the way we measure new vs. returning visitors to your site.

chartbeat

We think it’s important to measure humans rather than clicks, which often means a departure from traditional analytics. Up until Sunday, we considered a new visitor anyone who was on the first page of their first visit to your site in the past 30 days. This was useful for identifying which pages were most effectively driving new traffic but caused issues when trying to understand the broader behavior of new visitors. We wanted to take this type of behavior into account, so for people who are coming to your site for the first time in the past 30 days, we're now counting them as "new" for the first 30 minutes they spend on your site, regardless of how many pages they have visited.

newsbeat

After this time, they will be considered a “returning” visit, which will also be true if they visit your site again within 30 days. If they haven't revisited your site in 30 days, the clock resets and they're treated as a new visitor again. This change means you might see a slight increase in the percentage of new visits on your chartbeat or newsbeat dashboard. If you have alerts set up for new visits, there’s a chance this increase will trigger an alert for you. Please let us know if you need help managing the alerts. (For all of you who are thinking “What’s an alert? Chartbeat has alerts?” don’t worry! You can explore and set up customized alerts through your chartbeat alerts tab or newsbeat settings page.) As always, we really want to hear what you think. Send us your feedback, thoughts, and examples of how you use new vs. returning metrics, on our site or elsewhere.