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new vs returning users analytics

How to Distinguish New vs Returning Users With Session Replay


Session replays have become one of the most common and important tools for solving conversion problems and dealing with funnels on your site. The tools have become very sophisticated in recent years, so much that they even tell you which users have been visiting your site which allows for better segmentation of users as well as a better understanding of users. It also allows you to add custom properties for each user and thus enabling a better user experience.

Knowing which users are new to your site and which users have already been on your site is essential for knowing how to optimize the site. It allows you to see more clearly if there are any bugs or problems on your site and then solving them.

What are session replays and how do they work?

Session replay is a reconstruction of a user’s mouse movement, clicks, keyboard movement and taps to recreate footage that will represent how the user behaved during the session. It shows exact movements and actions on your website, which makes you feel like you are watching your users live on your website.

Using session replays, you can identify trends of users’ behaviors on your site and quickly adjust the website to provide the best user experience on the site. Session replays provide you with the reasons behind the numbers that other analytical tools.

Some users might be concerned about the fact that somebody is recording their behavior on a webpage. The terms and conditions of using session replays should be stated when the users accept the cookies on the website, to ensure that the users’ rights will not be violated and the data will solely be used for optimizing the performance. Cookies should also offer an option to opt-out of the session replays, should the user not agree to it.

Session replays can be tracked by certain tools, which need to be purchased first and then installed on your system. Then it should be set to track your website. These tools should be left to do their job for a couple of weeks or even months to see actually relevant results.

Why do you need to distinguish new and returning users?

A fundamental step towards becoming an entrepreneur is being able to perform proper market research. You would be surprised how differently may new users behave from those who are already familiar with your product or service. Sometimes there are many sessions gathered by your tool and many of them can originate from a single person visiting the website on multiple different occasions. It is thus important to distinguish these users from new users because you will be able to predict their behavior much easier once they are on your site on the second or third time and it will be less time-consuming than to watch each and every session replay.

The second benefit of distinguishing your visitors is that it will allow you to better customize the website for every user. You may add some specific values for every user that visits using a source code that needs to be put into the session replay tool.

website optimization for custom experience

Doing this will also improve the customer service of your website and you will be able to provide much better customer service. There may be a problem with one of your customers, but it is quite unclear what it is until you take a look at the session replay of the user. Once you do that, it might become much clearer what the problem is and it will make it easier to provide help for the customer.

To do this, you will need a strong call-to-action program that will allow your users to create accounts on your site and this will make it much easier for you to track the behavior of users and customize the site for users.

Using session replays will allow you to debug problems on your website much faster and easier as if you weren’t using session replays. You will be able to see session replays that are connected to the bugs and then you will be able to solve these bugs much easier.

One of the most important uses of session replays is to improve your conversion rates. By understanding the users’ behavior better, it will be much easier for you to adjust the website to the users on your site and make it more appealing for them. You will be able to see what elements of your site are popular and which need improvement, and also if your call-to-action elements are actually working as they should. 

As said above, it will improve the customer support of your site by seeing the session replays connected to various complaints. This will make your site more popular and user-friendly.

Testing on your site will also be made much easier and you will be able to see how users interact with newly-implemented features on your site. You can do that with other tools as well, but seeing the session replays in person can be much more helpful than only looking at the numbers. 

There are also many other benefits, like understanding the UX better, improve onboarding, seeing how users interact with dynamic web app states, detect suspicious activity, seeing form abandonment sessions which will allow you to improve your forms and more.

How to distinguish new and returning users

There are many different session replay tools out there, but most of the tools will allow you to track your users and see their session replays easier. You can track your users using the e-mail address that they have entered when signing up, their name that they used to fill the form, the user ID number, name tag or any different sort of information that is best for you.

From there on, you will be able to create a little database of your own to see which users are using your site and distinguish them from one another. Every time a returning user would come back to your site, this would be noted in the system and you will be able to see in your database if the user has visited your site. You will also be able to see how many times this user has visited your site and see each session replay individually.

If a new user comes to your site, and he has never used your site before, you will be able to create a new entry in your database, which would definitely improve your capability of tracking the users’ behavior easier.

To do this, you will most probably have to insert a code snippet into your code. In the case of Capturly the unique tracking code looks something like this:

<script type = "text/javascript">
function trq() {
(trq.q = trq.q || []).push(arguments);
trq('account', 't-54n21l4m1kexample1l4j12n');
var _paq = _paq || [];

(function() {
var u = "//";
_paq.push(["setTrackerUrl", u + "capturly-track.php"]);
_paq.push(['setSiteId', '2803']);
var d = document,
g = d.createElement('script'),
s = d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
g.type = 'text/javascript';
g.async = true;
g.defer = true;
g.src = u + 'capturly-track-js.js';
s.parentNode.insertBefore(g, s);

With this code, you will be able to add dynamic information such as name and email, which will be then displayed when the user comes back to your site.

As stated above, some apps will have that already built-in so you won’t have to worry about this. But it would certainly make your life a lot easier and you will also be able to add some custom properties to the users. You will be able to add different parameters for each user.

Ideally, you will want to have as many users registered on your website as possible, but this might not always be possible. This could make tracking your users a bit more challenging, especially if you have many users on your site daily.


Using session replays has become essential for improving your site and maximizing its potential. Session replays are basically recordings of sessions made by users on your site – they track clicks, mouse movements and user behavior on your site.

Session replays are very useful for understanding the users that visit the website. They will also help you with other things, such as debugging your site and improving the user experience in general. An important boost of session replays will be the ability to improve your conversion rates.

If you are using session replays, then it might be useful to start tracking your users to distinguish between new and returning users. Doing this will allow you to improve customer support, customize the site better and also to prevent you from looking at too many session replays. The feature to identify your users will come already built-in with your app in some cases, in other cases, you will have to enter a code snippet to ensure the tracking will be working. If you do not have it, then your session replay provider should provide you with information and instructions about user tracking to help you distinguish between new and returning users.

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