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Google Analytics Real Time Tracking

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Dan Peden

Director of SEO Strategy & Analytics

A new feature was announced recently by Google but went slightly under the radar when compared to their announcement of Google Analytics Premium. I think what Google has done is pretty remarkable. Google Analytics is on more than 50% of the busiest websites in the world. To be able to take, crunch and display all that data within one to two seconds is seriously impressive.

What does this tool mean to me? This is one of the questions I always get asked when I demo a new feature or tell clients about it. The answer in this case is unfortunately very very little as I can currently only see a couple of use cases of this new Google Analytics feature:

  1. Monitoring the live performance of a TV campaign
  2. Spotting errors and correcting them

I’m still not 100% about the first one. Monitoring the performance of a campaign as it happens is nice, but what can you actually do there and then if the performance is not what you expected. The answer: nothing. The error spotting is certainly useful. If your site sees an influx of traffic or errors, you can jump on it quickly and hopefully correct the problem. This is provided you have a developer on call and can make rapid changes. This tool could also provide a free version of some error reporting tools you may currently have installed. However, these typically work best on the server itself. I think this is one of the first times I’ve actually been disappointed by a new Google feature. Considering the amount of development time, money, and resources it took to create it, I just feel like they could have spent that time elsewhere. Perhaps fixing the bugs of version five or adding more resources to some of the more interesting new features yet to be announced? I can see why Google has created this but it certainly sits in the ‘selling of the tool’ category rather than the ‘using of the tool’ category. I’d love to hear some real world use cases for this if anyone out there has one…. -@danpeden