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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?