Getting your website to the top of Google is a challenge that all marketers face. Google uses over 200 different ranking factors to decide which websites appear where in the search results, and one of those is how often visitors return to your website.
If visitors are returning to your website on a regular basis, that’s a sign that you have a high-quality site that offers more than just a sales pitch.
Not only does this help you rank higher in search results, but return visitors to your website are more likely to make a purchase or repeat purchase. Getting visitors to your site more than once is extra important if you have a longer sales process that takes several touch points before your customer converts.
You can see how often visitors are coming back to your site in Google Analytics 4, using the “engaged sessions per user” metric.
If you’re already familiar with Google Analytics 4, feel free to skip to the tips section.
What is a Session?
A session is a metric tracked in Google Analytics that allows you to see the number of times an individual visited your website.
A session begins when a visitor either:
- Opens your app or website
- Views a page or screen and no session is currently active (their previous session has timed out)
A session ends (times out) after the visitor has been inactive for 30 minutes. There is no limit to how long a session can last. 30 minutes is the default time out time, but you can change this in Google Analytics.
For example, a person visits your website and browses for a minute. This is registered as a session. They are called away from their PC for the next 45 minutes. They return to their PC and start browsing again. This means a second session has been activated. Overall, this user logged two sessions.
Alternatively, a user opens your website but immediately switches to a new tab. 45 minutes later they switch to this tab and spend five minutes on your website. This counts as just one session.
What is an Engaged Session?
Engaged sessions are a metric in Google Analytics 4. This is the number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, or had a conversion event, or had two or more screen or page views. They are more valuable than ordinary sessions.
Examples of an engaged session could be:
- Visitor has your website or app open in the foreground for more than 10 seconds
- Visitor signs up to your mailing list, which is an event tracked as a conversion
- Visitor opens your home page, then moves to a product page.
Each action a user takes on your website is tracked as an “event”. You can mark these events as conversions, to track your visitors at different stages of the sales funnel.
If you’re new to events and conversions in Google Analytics, check out our beginners guide to Google Analytics 4, which goes into events and conversions in more detail.
Where to Find Your Website’s Engaged Sessions per User
There are multiple places you can find engaged sessions per user in the standard Google Analytics 4 reports.
User Acquisition Report
You can view your engaged sessions per user as part of the table in the user acquisition report, which is found under acquisition reports. This helps you see which traffic sources have the most engaged sessions per user. In this table, all the users are new users.
For the Google Analytics 4 demo account, the traffic source with the highest number of engaged sessions per user is their visitors from organic social.
Traffic Acquisition Report
Engaged sessions per user is also included in the traffic acquisition report, in a table similar to that in the user acquisition report. This helps you see which traffic sources have the most engaged sessions per user. The difference here is that this table covers all users, not just new users.
In this report, we can see the traffic source with the highest number of engaged sessions per user is the referral channel.
Engagement Overview Report
An average of the engaged sessions per user across your entire website is included in the engagement overview report, which you can find under engagement reports.
Now that you know where to find this figure, let’s discuss how you can increase it.
How To Increase Your Website’s Engaged Sessions per User
Increasing your website’s engaged sessions per user is all about getting visitors to return to your website. There are a few reasons you may want to do this.
- Moving a lead down the sales funnel
- Encourage a repeat purchase
- Building a relationship with customers
- Increasing search ranking due to SEO benefits
There are several strategies you can use to get visitors to return to your site.
1. Killer Email Marketing Strategy
Once you have someone on your mailing list, you have the opportunity to entice them back to your website with previews of awesome new content, sales, new products and more. Getting visitors back onto your website via email is a great way to boost your engaged sessions per user.
The challenge? Getting them to sign up in the first place.
Building Your Email List
Which of these mailing lists would you sign up to?
We’re hoping you said example 2.
The reason 2 is the better of the two is that it’s clear what you’ll get (6 new marketing tips), and how often you’ll get it (every other Monday).
Example number 1 is a bit too vague — how often will you be getting these emails? How many of these emails are about sales and deals, and how many will actually update you on gaming news?
As example 1 is from a gaming eCommerce website, offering a discount to those who sign up or access to exclusive deals and sales only for email subscribers will entice visitors to input their email address.
If you’re not an eCommerce business, you can still entice visitors to sign up to your newsletter by offering insights that are only available to email subscribers. Once they’ve signed up, you can easily send these insights as an automated email campaign.
What is an Automated Email Campaign?
Automated email campaigns allow you to send emails without needing to manually send them each time. These are great for sharing information with your email subscribers.
Let’s say you offer accounting software. Your first automated email could just be a simple thank you for signing up, and a link to the top performing article on your website.
After this, you can follow up with more accounting tips, including your software as a way to make their accounting activities more efficient. Don’t be too pushy though – these emails should always be about adding value. Do that, with some good calls-to-action, and the sales will come.
You can also use lead magnets to collect email addresses. Offer downloadable resources as part of your blog content in return for the readers email address. Depending on the content they downloaded, you could follow up with an automated email campaign related to this downloadable.
In this blog, Hubspot has managed to fit two CTA’s to download their free planning template above the fold. There are four more within the rest of the article, and a scroll-depth pop up that appears when you’re half way through the guide.
This works because the template is relevant to the blog content, so it doesn’t feel like they’re spamming you.
Always make sure that your downloadable fits the content that it’s included in.
Writing Your Emails
What should you include in your email newsletter in order to get readers to return to your website on a regular basis?
Your main goal should be adding value, whether this is through advice and tips, industry insights, access to sales and deals early, or sneak peeks of new products.
You don’t want your emails to come across as purely sales focused. You should absolutely promote your product or service in your emails, but it shouldn’t be the main focus.
If you’re sharing tips and advice and linking back to blog content on your site, you need to include a good hook so that readers want to click through to your website to read more.
Different topics you can cover in your emails include:
- Educational themes — such as how-to articles on topics in your industry.
- Curated content, including a selection of your new blogs and other content.
- Promotions and discounts.
- Developments and news — something new that’s happened at your company or even better, in your wider industry.
- Invitations to attend seminars, webinars and other events.
- Seasonal emails — wishing customers happy holidays or getting off to an early start with New Years sales.
Email marketing is one way you can get visitors to return to your website using external means. But what about your website content itself?
2. Offer More Than Just a Sales Pitch
If you’ve optimised your website in order to increase your website’s average engagement time, then you’re already moving in the right direction. If not, read this guide on how to keep visitors on your website for longer before you try and get them to come back. This will make increasing your website’s engaged sessions per user much easier.
If you’re selling a product or service, you should be an expert in your field. This gives you the opportunity to share information and advice with your audience.
We know what you’re thinking — “If I give away all my “secrets” then why will anyone hire me?”
You don’t have to give away everything. There are a few different types of customers that in-depth content appeals to.
- Those who want to DIY a service and do the work themselves
- Those who want to DIY a service, decide it’s too difficult and hire someone
- Those who know they have a problem but don’t know the solution
The DIY group will read your in-depth explanation of how to complete a project themselves, and depending on the project, may revisit your site multiple times while they do the work. This is a great opportunity to boost your engaged sessions per user.
In terms of getting a new customer, there are two ways this helps. One is that even if this visitor never converts, their repeat visits to your site will send a signal to Google that your website is worth revisiting and Google will boost your ranking in search.
The second way this can help is that this visitor may want to DIY this project but not want to complete future projects themselves. Since you helped them last time with your useful guide, they may well come to you when the work is out of their experience range.
Example content includes:
- How to fix a flat tyre
- How to diagnose and repair a leaky tap
- How to submit a tax return for a small business
- Five day beginners fitness plan
All these content topics either solve a problem, or lead to someone contacting you to help with their problem when they can’t fix it themselves.
A problem doesn’t always refer to a big, in the moment issue, as shown with the last two examples. The problem could just be “I don’t have time to do my tax return and would prefer an accountant to do it” or “I give up on fitness plans too easily and should probably hire a personal trainer”.
Finding blog topics to write about can be a challenge, but since we’ve been doing content marketing for years here at Exposure Ninja, we know a few ways to make it easier.
By researching the keywords you want your site, and content, to be ranking for, you will ensure that you are targeting terms that visitors are searching for, rather than the words you guess they’ll be searching for.
You can get started with keyword research by following these steps.
- Use a keyword research tool, such as Semrush*, to generate keywords related to your business.
- Analyse these keywords and questions.
- How high is the search volume?
- Who is already ranking for this term?
- What type of content is ranking?
- What is the search intent of this keyword or question?
- Type these keywords into Google and look at the results. Are there a lot of informational posts? You’ll want to target this keyword with in-depth blog content. If there are a lot of product or service pages in the results, you’ll want to optimise the same type of pages.
Lots of people use Google to find answers to questions. You can use these questions to create detailed content and guides in order to help them.
There is a fine line between useful, detailed industry news, and just posting updates about your company.
Think of a business you shop at regularly. Would you be interested in visiting their website regularly to see which members of staff got a promotion? Probably not.
That said, if you’re a business in an industry that has a lot of news, not only related to your company, you can use this as an opportunity to become an authority in the space.
If you share important, well researched news updates, visitors will be more likely to return to your site on a regular basis to get caught up with industry trends and news, increasing your engaged sessions per user.
Mailchimp, who provide email marketing tools, among other things, have an industry insights page where they share articles about current business trends, expert opinions and insights from the team at Mailchimp.
3. Retargeting with a PPC Campaign
Visitors leave your site for a number of reasons out of your control – they got distracted, they wanted to shop around, they needed to deal with something away from their device.
Because of this, they may not complete a purchase, even if they were close to doing so, and then maybe even forget about your brand.
What they don’t forget to do, is open up their phone and visit their favourite social media platforms. So why not reach them where they’re spending their time?
One effective way to do this is with remarketing ads.
The difference between remarketing ads and normal ads is that remarketing uses data about visitors to your website and uses that data to show them ads on another platform.
You can use these ads to remind customers that your brand exists, or for more technical use, such as showing them products they browsed while on your site, or reminding them of products they added to their basket.
How to Run Remarketing Ads
Running remarketing ads is easy, it just takes a bit of setting up. You may need to ask your web developer (or ours) for help with certain elements.
Step 1. Set up a tracking code on your website.
- For Facebook and Instagram remarketing ads, you’ll need to install the Meta Pixel.
- For Twitter remarketing ads, you’ll need to install Twitter’s conversion tracking tag.
- For Google remarketing ads, you’ll need to install the Google remarketing tag.
Step 2. Gather data
Once you’ve added the tags to your website, you will need to leave the tag for at least a few days to collect data. If you have low traffic, you might need to wait longer.
Website’s with low traffic won’t be able to make the most from remarketing campaigns, so we suggest implementing some strategies to help you increase your web traffic if you want to run effective remarketing ads.
Step 3. Write Compelling Ad Copy
The copy you use in your ad is a chance to make a mini sales pitch to this past website visitor.
Remind them of your USPs, and also include any benefits to shopping with you, such as free shipping or a 3-year warranty.
If you’re retargeting them with a specific product or service, make sure your copy matches this. Don’t use generic ad copy for each product and service – people will notice and they’ll be less likely to click.
Step 4. Create Eye Catching Ad Imagery
When people are scrolling through social media, they expect to see content that fits in with what they are used to seeing on the platform. A lot of the time, this consists of images and videos from their friends and family, or influencers they look up to.
By using ad imagery that fits into the platform you are retargeting, users are less likely to scroll past because “it’s just an ad”. This can be slightly more difficult to do with remarketing ads if you have a large product range, or offer a SaaS product where it’s difficult to create organic imagery. Here are some Dos and Don’ts that will help you create good ad imagery, no matter your business.
- Use in action, organic looking product shots.
- Use images that look like user generated content.
- Use graphic design to visualise your software.
- Tailor the imagery to your remarketing campaign (if you’re remarketing to those who viewed a specific product, include that product in the image).
- Use low quality product shots, or basic screenshots if you sell software.
- Include loads of text in the image.
- Use generic stock imagery.
- Use a photo unrelated to the remarketing campaign.
Let’s start with a bad example – these ads from SHEIN. Their copy does not include their USPs and isn’t related to the products in the images either. SHEIN often uses user generated content on their website, so it’s surprising to see ad imagery that doesn’t follow this format.
These ads from Airbnb, which are likely to be retargeting those who visited their hosting page on their site, are short but sweet. They handle an objection, “I was thinking about hosting with Airbnb, but I’m worried about my belongings”, that previous visitors to their hosting page may have been worried about.
They have opted to use graphics over photos, which as they are promoting their home cover, works well. If these ads were aimed at holiday-goers, it would make sense to use photos of beautiful locations, but this works well for the hosting audience.
These ads could use a call to action, encouraging visitors back to the website. The ads lead you to a landing page once you click on them, but it’s not obvious that clicking on the image is the next step you should take.
Step 6. Analyse and Optimise Your Ads
Once you’ve run your remarketing ad campaigns, analyse the results.
- Did you see an increase in engaged sessions per user on your website?
- Did conversions increase?
- Did your ads get many clicks?
- Did some ad copy perform better than others?
- Did some ad imagery perform better than others?
By analysing your previous campaigns, you’ll be able to improve every ad campaign that comes after, and get more people coming back to your site.
How To Increase Your Website’s Engaged Sessions per User – Summary
Increasing your website’s engaged sessions per user not only helps you rank higher in search results, but also increases the likelihood that those visitors will convert.
The top three strategies you can implement are:
- Develop an email marketing strategy
- Create in-depth content and become a news source
- Retarget past visitors with PPC campaigns
If you implement any of these three strategies, you’re sure to see an increase in visitors returning to your site.
What to Read Next
- Learn how to encourage visitors to visit multiple pages on your website and increase your website’s views per user.
- Are your visitors not returning to your website because you’re reaching the wrong people? Define your target audience using these quick questions.
- Get acquainted with all the upcoming changes to Google Analytics with our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics 4.
*Some links within this article are affiliate links which Exposure Ninja receives a fee for promoting (these links are not sponsored). Exposure Ninja only promotes services we already use within our marketing stack.