5 cool uses for Google Real-Time Analytics

Ian Lurie
5 cool uses for Google Real-Time Analytics

Google Real Time Analytics

Google Analytics now has this cool, real-time stats dashboard. At first, I thought it was just fluff—something to use up my spare 2 minutes/day. But, it’s really handy. I’ve found five good uses for it so far:

  1. Test social media posts in real time: Send out a tweet, and then watch the result. Send a follow-up tweet moments later, if it makes sense. Since you can watch the pages folks visit as well as the referrer, you can get a bit more data than from a service like bit.ly.
  2. Watch changes in traffic patterns caused by offline advertising. Adjust in real time. If you have a TV commercial going on at noon, you can watch exactly what happens. If you’re not getting any results, make fast adjustments to your site before you lose the audience. Then know right away if your changes worked.
  3. Track the impact of news on a political campaign, and have your candidate change their talking points moments after they get on stage (not that I’ve ever gotten to do that, but a guy can dream).
  4. Diagnose a sudden site slowdown. If your site suddenly slows to a crawl, it might be because you’ve had a huge burst in traffic. A quick look at the real time analytics report can tell you, and either confirm or rule out traffic spikes as the cause.
  5. And, my favorite: Track the impact of new content, as it reaches your audience. If you publish a new article or resource on your site, you don’t have to wait hours to see whether it’s working. Watch the real time report. See whether folks are visiting the new resource, and if so, where they’re coming from. Then adjust your promotional efforts, or the content, or both.

For me, analytics is all about ‘Observe and Adjust‘. I’m lovin’ real-time analytics because I can observe and adjust even faster. Have you used this new feature yet? If so, how are you using it?

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Hi Ian
    Don’t suppose anyone knows when this is out of Beta – particularly if it is going to be in all regions as I’m in UK and other than what i hear from you folks over the other side it’s all quiet here about it?

  2. I was using Woopra for real-time analytics on my blog site. I was addicted to it, but I realized I was wasting my time like I was on Facebook as I was gaining anything monetarily from it.
    Real-time analytics are definitely great for the reasons you mentioned. You can set up all sorts of tests like timing of new content and the effectiveness of a sales funnel. I just need to add more purpose to my blog or find a client that can actually be helped by optimizing timing and UX.

  3. I have been a huge fan of the Real-Time Analytics since I first discovered it a week or so ago. We are able to monitor people’s traffic through our site, from their entrance on a landing page to the “hopeful” completion of a sale. While most of the time we just leave it open on a seperate monitor and try to have fun predicting where people go next, it seems that every day we are finding a practical use for it in some way or another. I’m anxious to see how more complex and detailed they can get with this! Keep up the great work Google! (And I don’t say that very often at all!)

  4. Google Analytics Real-Time view is a little addictive 🙂
    I’ve used it mainly for the reasons you’ve outlined above and I’m impressed with how responsive it is.
    I’m not sure it’s a very good use of my time to sit and watch people come and go since the real analysis is better performed after the fact. Nonetheless, it’s very cool.
    – Steinar

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