Did you notice that in September, Google Analytics introduced a major new feature which addresses a well-known limitation in its service? You may not have noticed since around the same time Google Analytics introduced its’ premium service where larger organisations gain support and other features for a fee. This got a lot of the coverage at the time, but the feature I’m talking about got “drowned out” it seemed to me.

The new feature I’m referring to is Google Analytics Real Time. It was announced at the end of September and we’re seeing it introduced to more and more accounts. If you want to check, it’s in the new version of Google Analytics on the Home tab. Note though, that it is a separate set of report – it’s not real-time applied to all existing reports, instead it shows the basic information about current “Active users on the site” such as their campaign source and the content they are viewing, not their landing pages, so it’s far from comprehensive.

Here’s how it looks:

GA Real Time Image

As the name suggests, Real Time gives you immediate feedback as to what is working or not working on your site or in current campaigns. This contrasts with the 2-3 hour delay before data from the most recent day was displayed. I think this is the main reason why Google always previously defaulted to the previous day in its reporting.

So how might be you be able to apply Real Time for your marketing. Here are three ideas to get you started:

  • Check campaign setup correct at the start of a new campaign. Are the right pages receiving traffic? Are they being tracked as planned?
  • Determine the impact of social media marketing. Adjust your approach of the content and messages you use for a time critical campaign such as a new product launch or event during the day.
  • Adjust campaigns more rapidly. If you are using campaign tracking and have a high volume of referrers, you can see which placements or creative treatments are working best and increase the emphasis on these.
  • Review the impact of TV campaigns. Another high-volume option – if you are running these campaigns you will be able to see the results and the level of load servers are under.

So take a look, you may find it useful some time, but remember this is a separate set of reports and it does not give you full details on keywords, conversions, just popular keywords, traffic sources, content and locations.

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About the author:

An acknowledged expert on digital marketing, Dave was recognised in 2004 by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of “50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of Marketing“. Dave is also author of five best-selling books including Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice; and eMarketing eXcellence.