Google Analytics is a powerful program for examining website performance, but there are times when slicing and parsing historical data is not enough. GA’s Real-Time reports give you a live look at what customers are doing on your website right now. These real-time metrics provide up-to-the-minute reports on many aspects of website performance and popularity, and a uniquely intuitive feel for how customers interact with each page of your site.
To find the real-time data within Google Analytics, click on the ‘Reporting’ tab. Then, click on ‘Real-Time’ from the menu on the left. This feature is available for all accounts.
Metrics Available in Real-Time
Real-time page view metrics are updated just seconds after an event occurs. This information shows us what web pages on our florist site are currently being visited and have been used as landing pages, how many visitors there are, where they are located, and how they were referred to the page. Site visitors are counted as active by real-time if they have triggered a page view or event in the past five minutes, in comparison to the 30 minute windows of non-real-time metrics.
We can conduct a useful analysis by breaking down real-time data by event. Access the Events Report by clicking on ‘Events’ from the left-hand menu under ‘Real-Time.’ This lets us filter activity by event and action, and determine the activity of different visitor demographics.
Real-time data can also be viewed according to device type – desktop, mobile, or tablet. We can also compare our current real-time data with our overall generalized data, letting us see where we stand in the bigger picture.
What Can We Do With Real-Time Data?
One of the most interesting things we can do with our real-time data is to see the immediate (or not-so-immediate) effects of our social media campaigns. Internet activity takes place at a furious pace, and being able to see this river as it flows is an important cue to florist site marketers involved in online marketing.
With real-time monitoring, we could tweet a picture of a beautiful tulip bouquet and study the effect it has on site visits and conversions. By using the Events Report, we can see exactly how many visitors came to the site and converted because of that tweet. A few days later, we can experiment with tweeting pictures of individual flowers to see if this has a better or worse outcome.
With this level of analysis, we can study our metrics to determine when the effect of a tweet or blog post has worn off and a new post is needed. We can also make subtle or not-so-subtle changes to SEO strategy and observe the effects.
These features of Google Analytics bring conversion optimization to a whole new level, letting us respond dynamically to web activity as it changes minute by minute.