Before we start, the simplest way to understand these definitions is to know that each and every website that exists online uses a bit of code called 'cookies' to identify a visitor (each of us leave crumbs at every place we visit online) and that information is used (in part) to identify the following:

A visit is someone's journey through your website (we will use the term USER from now on). A visit usually contains one or more page views. As soon as a user is inactive for 30 minutes because they have left the site or remained on the same page, a visit is considered complete.

A visitor is a user of a website. If a visitor visits a page several times a day, with interruptions of more than 30 minutes they are considered as a unique visitor who has generated several visits. If a visitor visits the website on two different days, he or she will be counted as two visitors. But if the cookie is deleted after each visit they make to a website, this visitor is then considered a new visitor for each new visit.

Unique visitor
On a single day, unique visitors correspond to the definition of “normal” visitors. However, if you look at a period of more than one day, these values differ due to the recognition of cookies. If a visitor has a cookie on his browser and visits the site twice on different dates, this visitor will be recognised as a unique visitor and counted only once in the analysis period.

You should also note that the cookie data also contains information of where you came from (a search engine or a link) and where you are going to (if you leave the window open).

Got that? Right...

A rough example and/or approximation of these terms can be seen in this example: A visit to a website can be compared to a visit to a hotel: a guest (unique visitor) can be a guest of a hotel several times during a month (visitor) and can enter and leave the hotel several times during a stay (several visits). In the hotel, the guest will move to different rooms (page views). This information is recorded and used to analyse the hotels statistics of popular rooms, times and durations of visits.

And that's it - very simply. There are other factors that should also be considered - but these are the very basics of the data reports that you might get from your website data analytics.

Cheers, and stay safe.


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