As advanced and detailed as tools like Google Analytics and others are, they have a tendency to be slow in accumulating data, which would be fine, except that the Web is getting bigger and faster. Some analytics products take up to 24 hours to populate data, which clearly isn't fast enough to keep up with the real-time Web.
A number of solutions for real-time analytics have emerged over the last few years, giving Web publishers and marketers a detailed glimpse into what's happening on their sites at any given moment. Products like Woopra, Optify, Chartbeat, Clicky and ClickTale all offer such up-to-the-second insights. Since most of them have relatively low price points, small businesses can easily take advantage of these tools and benefit enormously from doing so.
Find Out Where People Are Coming From
Like standard Web analytics software, real-time analytics can tell you whether visitors are coming from a Google search, a link shared on Facebook, or some other inbound link elsewhere online. As social media continues to play an increasingly pivotal role in marketing and driving traffic, it's hugely valuable for smaller organizations to get immediate feedback into how effective Twitter is, as opposed to Facebook, as opposed to their regular organic SEO efforts. When resources are tight and every dollar counts, that kind of knowledge can't wait 24 hours.
Learn What They're Looking For
One of the biggest advantages real-time analytics offers is the ability to see where Website visitors are coming from in real time, including which search terms they're entering into Google, Bing and other search engines to get there.
Alongside live search query data, which can be fascinating to watch roll down the screen, products like Woopra, Optify and Chartbeat show which pages are being viewed and by how many people. You can see how many people are reading your latest blog post around lunch time or how many people made their way to your site's eCommerce checkout page in the last fifteen minutes.
If They Can't Find It, Help Them
Smaller companies, whatever other challenges they may have, tend to have the advantage of being more nimble than their larger counterparts. Real-time analytics offers a way to capitalize on that flexibility by letting companies react to live consumer data on-the-fly.
A few months back, we wrote about one company who used data like this to increase their traffic by 300%. They did this by observing what users were searching for on their site and creating relevant, new content and pages accordingly.
So, How Much Does It Cost?
While each of these products has different pricing plans available, they all offer price points palatable to smaller businesses. Chartbeat starts at $9.95 per month, while ClickTale, Woopra, Clicky and Optify all have basic plans available for free.
Have you started using real-time analytics on your Website? Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comments.