The guide to eCommerce metrics. Part 1. The total number of visits

👉 The guide to eCommerce metrics. Intro

👉 Part 1. The total number of visits (you're here)

👉 Part 2. Pages viewed per shopping session

👉 Part 3. The number of active customers

👉 Part 4. eCommerce conversion rate

👉 Part 5. Technology cost

In the introduction to this series of posts, we explained what metrics and KPIs are, and how to tell them apart. We also explored the brave new world of ecommerce metrics distributed across the customer's journey.

Now it’s high time we took a closer look at the first metric, which is essential for any ecommerce strategy: the total number of visits.

What is the total number of visits and why is it important?

This metric is usually used in conjunction with the conversion rate (CR) to monitor the overall store performance in broad strokes.

Sales Conversion Rate = Total Amount of Sales / Total Number of Visits

Understanding each part of this equation is critical, because with it, you can always tell how much web traffic you need to attract to meet your revenue KPIs.

You may wonder why you can't track the total number of visits in your Google Analytics. No worries, it’s right there; they’re called “sessions.” This is how Google defines them:

A session is a group of user interactions with a website that take place within a given time frame. For example, a single session can contain multiple page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions.

So, a visit (or session) is a single customer journey taken on your website. Each journey can be determined by the route (initial page, content viewed, exit page) and the behavior (session duration, page views, transactions, or bounces).

Session definition by GoogleAn example of a page visit (or session, as described by Google)

According to the actions taken during the session, they can be further classified as:

Types of sessions per actions takenAn example of a further session specification

There are many other metrics at the top of the sales funnel, so that it can be quite confusing. If you don’t see much difference between page views, users, visitors, or visits, check out the comparison table below:

HitsPage viewsVisits
or sessions
or users
A file request made to the website server.

Every time a page is loaded by a browser. 

Also registered when a user refreshes a page or goes back and forth. 

Every single sequence of actions a person takes on your website.

Consists of multiple page views.

A single person, identified by a browser ID.

There can be unique, new, and returning visitors according to browsing history recorded by cookies.

Let’s imagine that your loyal customer John decides to purchase a new pair of sneakers from your online store. When he navigates to your web address in the browser, one hit is registered, and a visit (or session) begins.

Since John had already visited your website before from the same browser and didn’t clean up his cookies, he is identified as a returning visitor. As he browses through the offerings, multiple page views are counted. And if John gets distracted and returns to your website after some time, a new visit will be counted.

Google Analytics also counts mixed metrics like pages per visit, average visit duration, and bounce rate. The last one shows how many people have left your website from the very first page.

Bounce Rate = Total Number of One-page Visits / Total Number of Visits

The bounce rate can be called a website health metric, which shows the relevance of your content for users and sometimes can reveal web performance problems like page load delays or lags. It is recommended that regardless of the industry, the bounce rate should be less than 55%. For ecommerce, the benchmark is between 20% - 40%.

3 Tips on how to increase the total number of visits

Improving the total number of visits will automatically affect your bottom line, but only if you drive relevant and motivated web traffic. It’s no use attracting people who are not your target audience just for the sake of big numbers.

So, any ecommerce marketer's challenge is to streamline user acquisition, maintaining healthy bounce and conversion rates. Here are three tips for you to follow in order to boost website visits and keep users engaged:

Tip #1. Test diverse acquisition channels and attribution models

Finding and attracting your audience is an endless journey, and banking on all possible acquisition channels is not the best way to succeed. Experiment with acquisition channels in hypothesis-checking mode and invest in those that result in better conversion and fewer bounces.

It’s easier said than done, but diverse analytics software is at your service. If you are a fan of Google Analytics, don’t forget to use conversion reports: set up events and goals and watch how your total number of sessions converts into revenues.

In the Channels report below, the Ecommerce Conversion Rate (0.03%) shows how many total page visits (14,349) converted to successful transactions (5):

Google Analytics Channels reportWebsite traffic split per channels in Google Analytics

Looking at the figures per channel, it’s obvious that if you want to increase the total number of visits, try to invest more into social, affiliate, display and paid search channels. Bounce and conversion rates from the Organic channel could be a good benchmark for you here.

Use cross-channel marketing campaigns to grow the total number of visits, but pay attention to conversion and bounce rates to make sure you’re not tossing your money out the window.

Tip #2. Make your website accessible across a range of mobile devices

The mobile industry covers and connects 47% of the global population. Just imagine: in some regions, people have internet access only thanks to mobile devices.

While mobile networks are the primary means of internet access for lower middle income countries, they are crucial for upper middle and high income countries too, as people tend to hop in and hop out, accessing their favorite platforms from different devices.

The mobile-first approach has grown even stronger during the COVID times, when average online consumption has skyrocketed. Considering the shocking online competition for people’s attention, making your users pinch and scroll their way through your website means literally losing them.

Make your website responsive for mobile users. This will positively affect the total number of website visits, and their depth and quality.

Tip #3. Use web optimization to improve bounce and conversion rates

One of the primary reasons for sky-high bounce rates is low page load speed. Nobody’s willing to wait if your website takes an eternity to load. And the shocking truth is that by “eternity,” we mean more than two seconds.

Such a super-fast customer experience is only possible when your website content is optimized to the maximum, including file sizes, page structure, and third-party integrations.

Compressing media is a low-hanging fruit of web optimization: you can reduce the size of your media files and start delivering better customer experiences right away. The good news is, there’s no need to do it manually or build your own infrastructure from scratch.

A variety of ready-to-integrate services can facilitate media optimization: they leverage the way you serve content, and provide tools to reduce media size.

For example, Uploadcare is a next-gen media pipeline that can automate it all. It’s a ready-to-use solution with Adaptive Delivery technology that analyzes each user’s context and automatically adjusts image formats and quality. Thanks to this, you can deliver content 8.9X faster without quality loss and enjoy higher engagement and conversions.

To increase the total number of visits, go for image optimization. It will speed up your website so your visitors don’t bounce right away.

The key takeaways

The total number of visits is one of the fundamental metrics that describe every single customer journey on your website. This metric is used to estimate the overall performance of an online store and can be improved by launching effective marketing campaigns, making your website mobile-friendly, and optimizing web content.

What other metrics are crucial to your ecommerce business? Read our next blog post about page views or download a concise report right now.

Download the report

← Intro | Part 2. Pages viewed per shopping session →

Infrastructure for user images, videos & documents