Google launched its Real Time Analytics feature 2.5 years ago which enabled webmasters and marketers to monitor the real-time action on their site live. This gives you immediate access to useful information when you post an update to your blog or social media profiles for example, showing you how many people are on your site at the give moment, and data about your top referrals, social traffic, keywords, most active pages and locations. Watching all this stuff at your computer 24/7 can become overwhelming though, so to better take advantage of this data, Google is releasing an API that allows users to access their analytics data for any means they like.
So looking at a snapshot of DashBurst’s current activity, we have 68 people on the site, with about 30% of our active visitors (or 20 people) checking out these cool Earth time-lapse GIFs! The real-time data also lets us know that Google+ and Facebook are our top providers of social traffic, thus we may want to focus on these campaigns more and figure out ways to spark better engagement at the moment on places like Twitter and LinkedIn. This type of information is priceless to have during your content marketing efforts and really can be addicting to watch on every post 🙂
Now Google is giving programmers a chance to creatively capture this data which opens up a door to a whole new world of productivity and potentially useful apps to manage your web page. For example, web designers could query the API for the top visited URLs on the site to construct a top trending content widget for articles, displaying the number of active live readers. Or you could just have a module to display your total web count, or all-time most visited pages, create a custom dashboard, the possibilities are endless really!
How would this effect your audience? According to Google:
Seeing the number of visitors also viewing a piece of content has a number of subtle effects such as creating a sense of community and credibility. Additionally this metric can be shown on different conversion pages of a website to impart a sense of urgency and demonstrate demand for a given product.
You can join the beta for the Real Time Reporting API here and developers can also learn more about the Google Analytics superProxy and how to combine the real-time API with Google Charts.
Are you an analytics junkie? Do you have any good ideas for how we could potentially take advantage of this real-time website data?