Google Analytics real-time updates: events, dashboards

Google just updated its real-time reporting capabilities in Google Analytics.
Obviously, real-time reporting only serves as a snapshot of your site’s traffic but Google managed to make it fun and useful – again.


Real-time events

If, like me, you are a digital analytics professional, you are probably not a big fan of real-time reportingif only because it not actionable: our responsiveness to optimization opportunities is not quite at the “live” level.

These real-time reports, in Google Analytics or Webtrends Streams, have hypnotized our marketing colleagues. It’s fascinating, we get it, let’s move on 😉 However, these real-time reports suffer from limitations because they can not necessarily display “live” metrics on data waiting to to be reprocessed and/or synchronized with other data feeds.

But back to Google Analytics real-time reports. Up until now, we could not view events such as “add to cart”, file downloads, custom clicks, etc. Which made analytics debugging more difficult and this could have been a topic for another post but not anymore 😉

As of today, your Google Analytics Real Time section now shows a new section: “Events – beta”

google analytics real time events

Not bad, huh? Except that Google did not stop there with this update 🙂

Real-time Dashboards

Yes, you read that right: you can now add real-time widgets to your dashboards. Go ahead, try it 🙂
As you add a new widget to your dashboard you now get a choice of standard or real-time widgets, which should eventually transform into a nice real-time ON/OFF switch button. 

google analytics real time widget



And now,  lo and behold, your dashboard will now update itself with real-time data:

google analytics real time dashboard

I will now give you a short moment of revered silenced to admire your new dashboard. Now try to pull yourself away from that magical dashboard so I can take this post home 🙂

As I said, due to data synchronization issue, you can not apply segments or specific dates to these real-time reports and some dimensions do not work (yet), but it’s pretty neat!

In conclusion

This is yet another step forward for Google in making information more accessible and easier to understand. However, remember that real-time marketing marketing is still largely confined to the field of R&D so do not expect real-time, automated Adwords budget adjustments. Even automated bid management solutions are not that responsive.

But hang in there, actionability is not that far off 😉

Questions? Constructive feedback?
The comment form is just below (come on, you know you want to)

Google Analytics real-time updates: events, dashboards was last modified: March 27th, 2013 by Julien Coquet

Julien Coquet

Expert de la mesure d’audience sur Internet depuis plus de 15 ans, Julien Coquet est consultant senior digital analytics et responsable produit et évangélisation pour Hub’Scan, une solution d’assurance qualité du marquage analytics.

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One thought on “Google Analytics real-time updates: events, dashboards

  1. Eric Butler

    Hi Julien, thanks for the Webtrends Streams shout-out. It’s funny, we almost didn’t even release our visualizations as part of our Streams rollout. To us, the visualizations are meant to be inspiring, and educational, and play a role to facilitate data exploration. They are not meant as the end state per se (although some customers do just want visualizations), but in fact, the visualizations enable the start of truly understanding the nature of as-it-happens data for our customers.

    The incredible value of Webtrends Streams is in the data itself. We’ve created a powerful API to allow customers to consume the data they need, to drive action systems, and enable new marketing/optimization/re-marketing opportunities that were previously not possible – while the visitors are still on their site. As you point out, actionability is not that far off…in fact, we believe it’s here now.

    And of course, Google Analytics customers (or Adobe customers) can also take advantage of Webtrends Streams. It’s not an analytics replacement. It’s additive, and opens new doors. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to hear more.

    Best.

    -Eric

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