If you don’t own an eCommerce website, you have to come up with some other success criteria for your site, which don’t necessarily have to relate to actions. An interesting post from Avinash Kaushik on this subject references Google Analytics, but it is just as easy to do through HBX.
These metrics recently came to a head when I was asked about the lifetime returning visitors metric in HBX. The lifetime returning visitor metric is a record of anyone who is visiting the site for the second time using their current cookie. If the user has already visited the site twice then they will not be added into this metric again. Hence reporting lifetime visitors as a percentage of all visitors is a little bit meaningless (you are only counting the percentage of visits that are arriving for the second time). A better method would be to look at the percentage of new visitors as a total of all visitors.
Daily/weekly/monthly returning visitors are visitors who are not new visitors (ie they have a cookie) but have not see the site before in that time period.
A better way of looking at this metric is to look in the Loyalty report showing the number of visitors who visit once, twice, etc during a time period. It is important that this is done over a relatively long period though – given a proportion of users will respond to emails every 7 days
Another important metric that we have been measuring is the number of page views per visit. However we need to get away from averages (the extremes will skew your average) and really we want to be looking at distribution of data. So a good way of measuring this is the number of one page visits (or if you want your graph to go up to the right, the percentage of visits viewing more than one page). Reducing this bounce rate should mean that we will get our users more involved in our content.