Users are the number of unique visitors to your website during a specific date range.
Every day, your website sees traffic—people visiting your site—and activity. To understand your site traffic, there are some terms you need to know: users and sessions.
Users are the number of unique visitors to your website during a specific date range. Those users perform sets of actions on your site. We can think of a user as a site visitor.
That singular user might visit your website on various occasions. So, a session is a visit or one of the times a user visits your site.
The number of users coming to your website is a valuable metric to track, in addition to page views, as it helps you understand another metric at play: conversion rate.
Users (or site visitors) = the total individuals who’ve visited your ecommerce website
Data source: Google Analytics
Suppose you run a clean cosmetics brand and you’re looking at the number of users visiting your website in Google Analytics.
In April, you had 300 unique users visit your ecommerce website. They might have come to your website various times throughout the month, but we’re only counting unique visits in this case.
Out of those 300 unique site visitors, some of them converted into paying customers, meaning they placed an order on your online site. With this data, you can calculate your conversion rate for April.
A user is like a brand-new customer visiting your local bakery for the first time.
They could purchase a baguette on their first visit, or they may not. Or, they might come back many times throughout the month and buy a wide variety of baked goods. When they come by the bakery for their initial visit, they’re a user. But, when they stop by multiple times after that, the user count wouldn’t increase. This would increase the number of sessions.
Seeing high traffic volumes to your website is exciting, but seeing the difference between unique visitors (users) and sessions adds even more clarity. You want to drive traffic to your home page, but you also want your customers to place orders.
Tracking the number of users to your site is beneficial in understanding site traffic and how many visitors are new vs. returning.
Here’s an important note: Shopify and Google Analytics calculate conversion rates using sessions instead of users. At Tydo, we prefer looking at users (customers who took action rather than seeing how many people visited your online store). Why? A single user can technically have multiple sessions (i.e. a person walks into a store, leaves, then comes back — that's two sessions).
Let’s take a look at users and sessions in action.
In Google Analytics, a session shows many times a user/site visitor returns to your website in a given time frame. In every session, there are user clicks or interactions within a site; for example, signing up for the newsletter, loading a product page, clicking a page button, etc.
As an ecommerce business, tracking users and sessions is important because it offers insight into your users. It helps you see how many users are on your site and where users are taking action or where activity drops off. By monitoring this data, you can start to hone in on what parts of your webpage drive the most results (depending on the action you want users to take) or remove obstacles in the user’s journey that could be increasing bounce rate.
Most importantly, you want to keep track of the percentage of returning users who take specific actions – placing an order or completing a checkout, for example—and what their journey looks like over time.
For Google Analytics 4, Google states that a session begins “when a user opens your app in the foreground, views a page or screen, and no session is currently active.”
A single session times out after 30 minutes of inactivity by the user. In contrast, as long as a user is active, there’s no time limit for session duration.
Google focuses more on active users – site visitors who are actively engaged on the website. By looking at active users, you can see who’s engaged with your website over a specific time. This is a great illustration of the structure in Google Analytics 4.
As an ecommerce business owner, it’s essential to track how and when a single user comes to your site. You want to know how many visitors the site receives in a given time, but you want to see how many new visitors there are. When you start to see more or fewer users than usual, ask yourself questions such as:
Looking at users is a good indicator of your ecommere store visitors and their behavior. You can get a view of traffic regularly and during big sales (e.g. Black Friday and Cyber Monday). You can also see effects from email campaigns, paid advertising efforts, and influencer activations.
There are several ways to increase users to your website. Here are a few of our favorite methods:
Paid ad campaigns on platforms such as Meta, TikTok, Google, and Pinterest can drive traffic to your site and increase users. You can target potential users through location, interest, and other key demographics.
Savannah Sanchez of The Social Savannah offers expert insight into creating high-quality TikTok ads. One of her top tips? Focus on the first three seconds of the ad. That’s what captures the viewer’s attention.
Integrating influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy is helpful. Olive oil brand Graza grew thanks in part to its effective social strategy.
Gifting products to targeted influencers (nano, micro, and macro levels) expands brand awareness and encourages new users to visit your website, explains social media strategist Kendall Dickieson.
Search engine optimization (SEO) sets the foundation for users to discover and visit your website. And with the increased costs of paid media, ecommerce/DTC brands can benefit a ton from organic search.
Selecting the best keywords, optimizing category pages, increasing reload times, and creating a structure that keeps users on a site are just a few of the essential aspects of an SEO strategy.
Landing pages are sometimes the first interaction a user has with your brand. They matter.
Bailee Cooper, UI/UX director at Sharma Brands, recommends keeping a landing page as concise as possible. “You have to keep your consumers on your landing page and make sure every single piece of information is right there. You don’t want to make them click out or search.”