I'm a bit confused as to what 'returning visitors' mean in Google Analytics. If a user visited my site a year ago, and now returning, will he be considered a returning visitor? Is there any way to specify a time-frame, and calculate stuff like 'visitors that come at least twice a month'?


A Google Analytics 'visitor' is tracked by a unique cookie. If the cookie is present since the last visit the visitor is counted as returning.

For more GA definitions see http://www.analyticsmarket.com/blog/google-analytics-definitions

Also GA´s Interpreting Reports might be of interest.

For GA´s cookie information see Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites

  • Thanks. Do you know what the expiration of that cookie is? I've seen in you link there's a cookie for 2yrs, but not sure this is the one that is being used for returning calc. – Noam May 5 '13 at 7:23
  • For an explanation of GA cookies see the google support document @ developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/… – user555 May 5 '13 at 22:24

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