I know that Google Analytics considers a user who has visited a site in the last 2 years a Returning User. I'm trying to find out whether it would be possible to check what % of users were Returning Users, say, in the last three months? To clarify, a user who visited the site 2.5 months ago would be considered a Returning User, whereas a user whose last visit was 4 months ago would be a New User.

Presumably GA does hold this data as the cookie that recognises a Returning User would have recorded the last time this user visited the site.


Extra context in case anyone is interested, but not essential to the question:

The reason I'm asking this question is that I'm currently looking into what % of my users would benefit if my site was a Progressive Web App - my stakeholders want to know this. One of the benefits of PWAs is that you can cache assets (CSS, JavaScript, images, fonts) for the user's return visit so that next time user visits the site, they can benefit from faster page loads as some of the site assets are already in the browser cache, or even be able to view the site offline.

I'd like to know what % of my users return within a reasonable time frame (3 months) so that the assets downloaded by the browser on their last visit hadn't changed; if the assets had changed, the browser would need to request them again which means that the benefit of the initial caching is lost. For instance, if a user last visited my site 2.5 months ago, it's likely that most of the assets hadn't changed so the site loads faster. However, if most of my users last visited over a year ago, it's likely that a big portion of the assets had now changed, and the user's browser needs to request them again.

I'm surprised that GA isn't more flexible about letting the user decide what a Returning User is, but I might just not know how to do it.

  • 1
    Have you looked at the "frequency and recency" report? – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 14 '18 at 10:11
  • Hi Stephen, no I hadn't and that looks like it might do what I need! Happy to mark your answer as the correct one if you want to post it. Thanks. – HannaL Apr 14 '18 at 13:39

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