What Report Shows the Percent of Site Traffic that Visited Previously?

GA Certification logo

The question “What report shows the percent of site traffic…” is part of the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam, which is a free online certification that Google have been offering since September 2017. 

Here’s the correct answer to “What report shows the percent of site traffic…”, taken from an actual exam in progress. The exam questions are always in random order, so this will not necessarily be question 12 in your exam, nor will the correct answer always be the fourth choice.  

The answer: New vs Returning report.

What report shows the percent of site traffic that visited previously?” Answer is New vs Returning report
Screenshot from actual GAIQ exam, showing answer is ‘New vs returning report’ | Image Credit: Google

Please note that this is also the answer to a different question: “What report shows the percentage of traffic that previously visited a website?” 

What is the New vs Returning Report?

This report is available within Google Analytics and shows the number of new visitors (first-time users) to a site versus users who have visited that site before. It shows the number of hits (sessions), bounce rates, pages visited per session and detailed goal conversion rates. 

The data is available as a simple pie chart on the Audience Overview report (see Image 1 below), but that’s not the answer that’s needed for the exam. Instead, you need to know how to drill down further, by selecting Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning (see Image 2).  

Image 1

Data from GA
‘New vs Returning Users’ can be viewed as a pie chart | Image Credit: Google


How accurate are SEO tools like ahrefs and SEMrush? We put them to the test.


Image 2

GA data
The detailed ‘New vs Returning’ report | Image Credit: Google

Google decides whether a user is ‘new’ or ‘returning’ based on the findings of the Google Tracking Snippet, which looks for tracking cookies on the user’s device. If Google finds a tracking cookie that’s two years old or less, then the user is classified as ‘returning’. 

There are definite flaws with this system: many users employ software that deletes tracking cookies, and others use ‘no track‘ settings on their browsers. These people will always be considered new users, even if they’ve visited your site many times before.

The Wrong Answers

The question “What report shows the percent of site traffic…” is actually quite tricky, as some of the wrong answers sound like they could be right. For completion’s sake, here’s an explanation of the wrong answers.

All traffic > Referrals report. This is a backlink report, except Google uses the term ‘referrals’.  Any link that was clicked on to get to the website will show up on this report (except for traffic from Google Search results).    

Interests > Affinity categories report. This report shows demographic user data such as age and gender, and also breaks the visitors down by affinity groups. These are things the user is passionate about, and their habits and interests. 

Behaviour > Frequency and Recency report. This shows two related metrics: frequency is how many times the same user returns to your site, and recency is how long it’s been since that user last visited.

GA Certification logo
The GA Certification logo | Image Credit: Google

What is the Google Analytics Individual Qualification?

Also known as Google Analytics IQ, this is a Google-authorised certification exam which proves that you have a good working knowledge of GA. It’s one of nine similar qualifications that are all available from the Google Skillshop, previously known as the Academy for Ads.

The exam is taken on-line, and comprises a set of 70 multiple choice and true/false questions. The questions are randomly selected from a pool of approximately 220, and you have 60 minutes to complete the exam. (Please note that one of Google’s pages states the exam length is 90 minutes, but this is incorrect.)  

To pass, you need to get at least 80% of the questions correct, which means 56 right answers. You can take the exam as many times as you like, but you’ll need to wait 7 days between attempts. Once you pass, you’ll be able to use the term “Google Certified in Analytics” on your website, and your qualification will remain current for 12 months.

How to Track Google Analytics Site Speed: Load Time ‘Zero’

How to Prepare for the Google Analytics IQ

Google Analytics Academy hosts two video training courses covering all the exam topics. You don’t need a Google Analytics account — or even a Google account for that matter — just complete a short questionnaire first and then you’re straight into the videos.

GA video training
Google’s two training courses for GAIQ | Image Credit: Google

If you want to study further, there’s a Power User course which shows you advanced techniques, such as how to analyse website traffic sources and how to maximise Google Ads for better conversion rates. There’s also a course dealing specifically with Google Analytics 360 and its enterprise-level features.   

What Are the Advantages of GAIQ Certification?

  • Instant credibility. Once you’ve completed the course, you can write “certified by Google in Analytics” at the bottom of every landing page. Demonstrating knowledge and skill in a specialised niche builds confidence, which leads to more business.
  • You’ll become better. The program goes into great detail about the intricacies of Analytics, and you’ll learn to make full use of all the features and tools it offers you. Overall, you’ll become a better and more insightful Analytics user, which will get you better results for your customers.
  • Your company will benefit. Once 50% or more of your eligible users have passed a Google certification, your company can apply for Google Partner status. There are some other requirements, but this is a good first step.

To Sum Up

So, now you have the answer to “What report shows the percent of site traffic that visited previously?”. In addition to that, we hope we’ve given you all the information you need regarding the Google Analytics Individual Qualification.

If you’d like to chat with us regarding the GAIQ, or if we can help in any way,  please get in touch using our comments box. Or, if you’re happier on social media, use our links at the bottom of the page.

Good luck with the exam!