Frequency & Recency

This report lets you see the level of interest in your site (and by extension your products or services) from the standpoint of how frequently users return to your site within a time frame (once, twice, ten times), and how many days go by before they return to your site (do they tend to engage once a week or once a month). Statistics are calculated per unique user.

If users come once but don't return, you might infer that you're marketing your site to the wrong audience, or that you site content and design are not sufficiently engaging or not easily navigable. If users return infrequently, for example, only prior to ski season or only prior to summer, you might decide to expand your portfolio of products to include skis and swimwear; or if you're committed to a single type of product that has seasonal appeal, you can expand your presence to include both hemispheres so you double your winter or summer exposure.

You can use the Segments All Users and Sessions with Transactions to see whether the bulk of your transactions occur with one-time users or with repeat users. If people tend to engage only once yet still make purchases, you can run a promotion like including a gift card that expires within 60 days or offer a different set of specially priced products every week to entice them back.

Interpreting the Histogram

Count of Sessions

Analytics counts sessions for this report in the following manner:

  • User 1 engaged 1 time during the time frame.
  • User 2 engaged 2 times during the time frame.
  • User 3 engaged 3 times during the time frame.
  • The first row of the report (1 session) has a count of 3 (one each for user 1, 2, and 3).
  • The second row of the report (2 sessions) has count of 2 (one each for user 2 and 3).
  • The third row of the report (3 sessions) has a count of 1 (one for user 3).

Depending on the time period you define, you may find a disproportionate number of users who came only once. For example, if your time frame is only a week, you may be creating too narrow a window to reliably allow for return users.

Regardless of the time frame, you're likely to see that users who come only once outnumber everyone else. To see a more proportional histogram, you can view just statistics for the advanced segment Returning Users.

The histogram gives you a sense of the rate at which sessions and page views decline, as well as the optimum intersection of sessions and pageviews. For example, you may see a precipitous decline after two sessions, but find that people who engage five times tend to view more pages.

Days Since Last Session

As with Count of Sessions, the statistics for new users can skew the histogram, and you may want to view just statistics for the advanced segment Returning Users. With a more readable histogram, you can see the frequency at which people return to your site, and you can plan promotions or site updates accordingly. For example, if peak returns occur around the 14th day, you can run a new promotion every two weeks, or refresh your site graphics at some corresponding frequency (e.g., every two or four weeks).