While many use Google Analytics to track website data retrospectively over a period of time, you are now able to access real time reporting. In this article, we will discuss how to quickly access real time tracking and reporting of data in Google Analytics.
Real time data is nothing new for Google Analytics (it’s been around since 2011), but many are not aware of this feature. As long as you have Google Analytics installed on your computer, you will have access to a number of real time reporting metrics.
Why is real time reporting for my website important?
While changes in visitor behavior over a period of time are important for understanding how your business is progressing online, real time data is especially helpful to identify the impact of short term changes you might have implemented on your website. It can serve as a rough way to test whether a recent change has a positive or negative impact on your audience. Some examples might include:
- whether new website content is being viewed by your visitors
- test the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns or short term promotions
- monitor viewing of new social posts or blog articles
- test different website updates such as changes to layout or navigation
What types of data is displayed in real time reporting?
Google Analytics will show a number of different data points in the real time reporting feature. There are six different reports available that will analyze total active users and number of hits in the past 30 minutes as well as the past 60 minutes. Real time reports include:
Overview Report: (Behavior -> Overview)
The overview report gives a list of the top 10 active pages on your website as well as the source and number of visitors on each page.
Locations Report: (Audience -> Geo -> Location)
The locations report allows you to see the geographic locations of active visitors, as well as an overview of different cities associated with visitors over the last 30 minutes.
Content/Screens: (Behavior -> Site Content)
This report shows which pages have been viewed over the past 30 minutes on your website.
Audience Demographics: (Audience -> Demographics)
The audience demographics report allows you to understand the age and gender of visitors coming to your website.
The conversions report shows the real time completion of different goals set by you for your website. The report will show the number of total visitors that completed each goal as well as the percentage of total visitors within a certain timeframe (such as the last 30 minutes) that completed each goal.
Traffic Sources: (Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium)
The traffic source report gives you an update as to how visitors have come across your website over a short period of time (such as through specific keywords, Google Maps, Advertising, Social Media Post, or Blog Articles). This report can be helpful for testing the effectiveness of different search/ marketing campaigns, as well as newly posted content.
How can you track real time website visitors?
The following steps will help you understand how to track real time website visitors in just a few minutes. The only thing you will need to get started is to have Google Analytics already installed for your website and login information.
- Sign into your Google Analytics account
- On the homepage under the ‘Reports’ tab, click the subheading ‘Real Time’
- Once on the ‘Real Time’ tab, you will be able to filter to view the different reports mentioned above (Overview, Locations, Content, Events, Conversions, Traffic Sources)
Need help understanding your visitor data or improving certain metrics? Alliance Interactive is a full service digital agency assisting in website design and development, digital marketing, and search engine optimization. We understand that in order to grow your business online, there is a need to integrate a campaign that focuses on both driving new traffic and website optimization. Our team can help you better understand different data metrics for your current website visitors, then help develop a full digital campaign designed to get you results. To learn more or request a free website evaluation, connect with us here.