New vs. Returning in Omniture
By johnc on Nov 26, 2007
One of the things that Google Analytics does really well is New vs. Returning users. I really like this metric, because it shows you a lot about how different users are using your site.
So this is where I admit my ignorance and ask a bunch of questions rather than give great insight. While New vs. Returning is cool, it really becomes powerful when you can use it as a segmentation tool. Google Analytics lets you do some segmenting for new vs. returning through the drop-down in the New vs. Returning report. The things you can segment are the most important high-level metrics - conversion rate, bounce rate, visits, etc. But it would be nice to allow you to segment more reports by New vs. Returning - things like most popular landing pages, most popular pages, etc.
Now Omniture is the self-proclaimed king of segmentation. Using Discover you can (supposedly) segment anything by anything (as long as the two reports you're using are looking at similar data). But unfortunately, we're having one hell of a time getting New vs. Returning even to show up, much less use it as a basis for segmentation.
Some of the red herrings we've been chasing:
- Going into Discover and filtering by Visit = visit number does not equal one. Sounds good, but the problem is that if you run the report for the last six months, it only shows you new vs. returning for those six months. So there's no way to do "visit number does not equal one" outside of the range that you're actually generating reports for.
- Just using Yearly Return Visitors. I'd be fine with just counting returning visitors in the last 12 months rather than "ever". After all, most people delete cookies more than once a year, and with our site, if you haven't been here in over 9 months, you might as well be a new user. Problem is that Omniture seems to count Yearly Unique Visitors as in this calendar year rather than in the last 12 months. Now that's just down-right dumb. Who in web metrics cares about calendar years? You care about trends! And your trends are all messed up because you'll show a huge number of new visitors in January and a low number in December.
- Doing the math by hand taking all unique visitors and subtracting new visitors. Gets you the number but you can't use if for segmentation.
Now it looks like you can get the info in your conversion reports under Visitor Loyalty, but we haven't been using the Conversion reports because our main conversion metric - Downloads - hasn't been under Omniture tracking for technical reasons. We've finally figured that out so I'll post the results of that quest when I get it set up.
But the long and the short of it is - this really should be much easier in a top-of-the-line pay product like Omniture. If anyone has experience doing this or tips and tricks, feel free to let me know!