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Old vs New: How Repeat Visitors Impact Your Metrics and 3 Strategies to Increase Engagement

Picture of the author, Jessica Cameron
By Jessica Cameron
M02 1, 2020

New, new, new. New year, new website, new goals… the focus on new never ends. T&T marketers know that the majority of their website visitors are new users and tend to focus their personalization strategies around engaging these new visitors. But what about your return visitors? Do you know how your return visitor traffic stacks up compared to other destinations?

Working in the DMO space gives us unique insight. Return visitors can make up anywhere from  6-30% of sessions for destination websites. While return visitors commonly have slightly higher performance on pages per session and visit duration, they tend to have a higher bounce rate than new visitors.

It makes sense to prioritize strategies for new visitors, but if almost a quarter of your website traffic is returning visitors, it’s also important to plan the best possible website experience for these repeat visitors. 

Here are 3 questions to keep in mind when thinking about your repeat visitor traffic and some best practices to keep this audience engaged.

How Frequently Are You Showing Overlay Content?

We’ve discussed the ethics of “pop-ups” before, but this is of utmost importance when considering your repeat traffic. If you are only setting daily or weekly limits on your pop-up content, your returning traffic is likely being repeatedly disrupted by that same old content. 

Best Practice: Serve unique content only once a month at minimum, and if possible, consider showing even less frequently, like every six months or once a year. If there is specific content repeat visitors should see multiple times, set up fresh versions of the content instead of short frequency limits. This prevents content fatigue and also helps the new content stand out from what they saw on their last visit.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Located?

Geo-targeting is always a solid strategy and shouldn’t be overlooked for repeat visitors. Because your repeat audience is smaller, breaking out individual markets creates very tiny visitor groups, but consider separating your local audience from drive or fly regions. The reasons a local visitor frequents your website are quite different from someone who would be potentially flying in. Additionally, while repeat visitors are prime candidates for hotel/places to stay offer content, someone already in the area likely isn’t interested in these deals.

Best Practice: Take advantage of geo-targeting to create in market, drive market, and fly market repeat visitor groups. You can then serve content to these visitors that’s more likely to be of interest, such as hotel deals for out of market visitors and activity deals or upcoming events to local visitors.

Where Are Your Repeat Visitors Entering the Site?

Identifying where repeat visitors are landing can help you determine if it’s a page that typically has fresh content, or if they’re potentially seeing the same thing over and over again. The homepage is still the most common landing page for repeat visitors, and having been there before these visitors are less likely to scroll down the page. 

Best Practice: If you aren’t currently updating your hero content on a regular basis, consider targeting repeat visitors with fresh content or at minimum, new imagery. To combat fatigue, plan to update repeat visitor content more frequently than your other visitors. Alternatively, consider setting up your hero based on exclusions so that repeat visitors who have already been to the destination page are served new content. 

By keeping these best practices in mind, you can use personalization to make your returning visitors feel like they’re getting a new experience not once, but every time they come to your website.

If you’re interested in discussing other ways to engage your returning visitor traffic, contact us today!

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