I’ve been working on a Google Analytics Dashboard project recently and started thinking about the most valuable metrics to include to give our client a quick snapshot of performance.
As soon as I see the real-time analytics options I get a kind of ‘Ooh shiny’ type feeling and start to dream up real-time dashboards that will give a perfect view of what’s happening on the website RIGHT NOW.
And then I remember the first rule of real-time Analytics (according to me! And probably others before me):
REAL-TIME METRICS ARE ONLY USEFUL IF YOU MAKE REAL-TIME DECISIONS AND TAKE REAL-TIME ACTIONS
This will require a fast decision-making process, dedicated resources and constant reviewing of the data.
There can be risks in moving too quickly with small numbers. In many cases, you will be better served looking back at a longer time period that will allows you to analyse trends, look at larger data samples and iron out anomalies.
Google Analytics is steadily improving their real-time feature set and don’t be scared of taking advantage of the new metrics available, just make sure you follow the rule and don’t get carried away.