Real-time data is becoming more and more popular amongst businesses looking for answers fast. Google Analytics now offers several real-time widgets you can add to your dashboard, you just have to know where to get them and why they matter. Real-time data isn’t going to be able to help you with any overall analysis or coming up with major conclusions about your online marketing, but can have a very specific place in your repertoire. Once you know how to use it you can start making quick decisions and create quicker solutions.

Real-Time Analytics Widgets to Add to Your Google Analytics Dashboards

If you’re unfamiliar with widgets for Google Analytics in general, check out this article to learn more. In short, widgets are smaller reports that you can add to a custom dashboard. They offer specialized data that can range from top traffic sources to bounce rate to average pageviews per visit. You can see a full list of widget options here.

As for real-time widgets, or real-time reports that you can follow, there are several different options. Below are some of the widgets that you can see in real-time that are most beneficial for most companies:

  • Top Active Pages. This will help show you which pages on your site are bringing in the most traffic. You can also choose to see what type of traffic the pages are bringing in (social, organic, paid, etc.) as well as what device and where the traffic is coming from (desktop, mobile, tablet etc.).
  • Keyword Data. You may be thinking immediately that this is not real-time data, but it can be with the real-time widget. This is a great option if you are rolling out a new feature or launching a new product and you want to see if this affects your keywords in any way.
  • Article Source. This will help you see what stories on your website are being read in real-time. As discussed in the first report mentioned, you can sort by the type of traffic the article is receiving, such as organic links, blog internal links, social posts, and more.

You can get started creating these widgets going to My Dashboard and navigating to the +Add Widget menu button that will show up on a dashboard that you’ve already created. If you haven’t created a dashboard yet, make that your first step! You can learn more about the process of getting started here.

How to Use Real-Time Data to Improve Your Online Strategy

As you may have guessed, real-time data is not going to help you analyze your online strategy as a whole because the data is constantly changing each second. According to HigherVisibility article, when looking at real-time data you’re looking at a smaller sample size, which you will have to use it in a specific way. Below are some of the conclusions and help you can draw from this type of data:

  • Check for Technical Errors. If you just launched something specific, such as a poll, interactive content, or a new contest, you can use your real-time data to make sure that people are participating right away. If you realize that nobody is participating and that seems unusual, it could mean there is a glitch in whatever it is you just launched.
  • Quick A/B Testing Results. If you want to test something little and get results quickly, you can run an A/B test and then see real-time results to come up with a quick conclusion. However, keep in mind this is best for large companies if you want a lot of data in a short amount of time.
  • Check Out the Immediate Success of a Social Post. Because social media happens so quickly, real-time data works well in these situations. If you posted something that you think could have a big reaction from readers, use your real-time data to see if you’re getting a lot of attention. This will help you determine if you need to make a change to the social post or even delete it altogether if the numbers are out of control and you check and see that they are all negative (controversial posts are great for this).

In the end, larger businesses will probably see the most benefit from using real-time data because you need a lot of it at once. Nonetheless, it’s something to keep in the back of your mind and use whenever you feel like you may have published something that will bring you a lot of data as if you were a big company. If you have any questions or comments about real-time data, let us know in the comment section below.