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Task: Understand visits

Understanding visits helps you determine whether you have continued interest in your business. Visits can be defined as the number of sessions or the number of times a visitor sees one or more pages of your website.

Report: Analyze total visits

Navigate to Site Metrics > Visits. This report focuses on analyzing the trend of visits to the site over time.

Key insights

Analyzing the total visits to your site can help answer questions such as:

  • Is there continued market interest in your site? The key to a sustainable business is to maintain a steady flow of visits to your site. You can compare recent visits to previous periods to gauge fluctuations.

    Change the view of data from day to week, month, quarter, or year to see trends in larger sets of data. Compare this data with the data available in any competitor analytics tools to see how you stack up to your competitors in the market space.

  • Are your marketing campaigns successful? The total visits also indicate the success of your marketing efforts, both online and offline. Further segmenting this data by other campaign attributes gives you deeper insights into visits by campaign.
  • What is your business’s seasonality? Seasonality varies from business to business. For example, retail businesses see a spike in November and December, and a marked slowdown in January. Websites that have lead-generation forms for work-related products may see high traffic on weekdays rather than weekends.

    These insights will help you optimize your campaigns on the days, weeks, months, or even quarters when traffic is at its peak or lull on your site.

  • Where are your visits originating from? Based on your segments, you can determine which geographical location and referring domain your visits are from.
  • What percentage of visits are you losing? Determine the bounce rate and single-access metrics to understand the attrition of your visits. If the bounce rate is too high, segment the data further to analyze which landing page, channel traffic, or geographical location has the highest attrition.

Interpretation of report data

In interpreting the data with respect to total site visits, keep the following in mind:

  • A new visit is initialized after 30 minutes of inactivity, 12 hours of continuous activity, or 2,500 pages viewed. Inactivity is defined as no pixel calls to SiteCatalyst.
  • SiteCatalyst records the visit on the day the visit started. So if a visit goes past midnight, the day the visit started is credited for the visit.
  • Visits from multiple browsers on the same machine by the same person are credited as two separate visits.
  • Visits from multiple tabs of the same browser on the same machine are credited as a single visit.
  • Visits from multiple devices by the same person are counted as separate visits.
  • In browsers that don’t maintain persistent cookies, if the visitor exits the site or closes the browser and revisits the site after 30 minutes, then a new visit is counted unless the same IP or browser is used.
  • Visits are tracked based on the cookie stored in the visitor’s browser or by a combination of user-agent string and IP address.
  • If your site has power users or bots that contribute to a lot of visits, this data may look skewed.

Code implementation and console settings

Variable s_account identifies the report suite to write the SiteCatalyst data to. A main point to remember is that any page that sends data to this report suite will be automatically included in your site reports. For example, assume you configured this report suite to report data for your production site. If pages on the production server were not tagged due to an oversight, and your staging website erroneously has pages writing to this report suite, then this data could impact the data quality.

One way to check for this data quality is to monitor the Site Content > Pages Report to see which pages from your ecosystem are missing. Another way would be to use a traffic variable or the s.server variable to track the website/hostname that sent the hit.

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