One of the most underrated aspects of Google Analytics is its built-in Real Time insights functionality. Any website with Google Analytics installed has the ability to understand exactly what is happening on the site in the here and now.
This is a post by Andrew Bruce Smith, Director at Escherman. Andrew will be running a workshop ‘Measuring Social Media with Google Analytics’ with us on the 17th April & 18th June in London – more information here.
One of the most powerful uses of Real Time analysis is to see the immediate impact of a social media campaign or individual Tweet or Facebook post (assuming of course that you are sharing a link back to the target site).
You can see not only where the traffic is coming (both in terms of social platforms and geographical location) but also what those visitors then do once they are on the site? What pages are they looking at? Are how long are they spending on the site? Are you seeing the on-site behaviour you were seeking to influence by your social media activity?
In the last few weeks, Google has added some further enhancements to its Real Time analytics, namely:
- Breakdown of Real-Time data by Desktop/Tablet/Mobile traffic
As we all know, we live in a multi-screen, multi-device world. According to Google, 65% of all social media activity begins life on a smartphone. Google Analytics now allows you to see what devices people are using when visit your site – in real time.
Imagine having sent out a Tweet at a certain time of day – by analysing the breakdown of device usage you may discover important insights in terms of the impact a certain device has on content consumption or actions.
- Create shortcuts to your favorite real-time segments
Google Analytics now allows you to “save” Real Time segment views that you frequently use. This is a great time saver.
- Compare real-time filtered data against overall real-time data
You can now compare, say, mobile visitors via social media to visitors overall – in real time. Again, this can provide powerful insight into the factors that drive the behaviours you seek from visitors.
- Analyse Events in real-time
In Google Analytics, “events” have a special meaning. These are activities and actions that aren’t connected to viewing a page or the amount of pages viewed. It could be someone clicking the play button on a video (or someone clicking the purchase button).
Google Analytics now allows you to access a Real Time event report of these actions. You can thus watch in real time what the top events are as they occur, but also filter on specific categories and actions. For example, you can see whether social media is driving people to actual start watching a video and compare this to other channels. Which channels are driving the activity you seek?
Clearly, all of the above opens up further immense possibilities. If you haven’t already investigated the Real Time aspect of Google Analytics, now is a great time to start. Understanding the immediate impact of your social media activity can bring immense downstream benefits in terms of working out the things that really do work.
Andrew will be the trainer at our workshop ‘Measuring Social Media with Google Analytics’ on the 17th April & 18th June in London – tickets are still available. He’ll be looking at Real Time Analytics in more detail along with setting up social dashboards in Google Analytics, Setting Goals and Triggers and much more. See full details and book here.