In spring of 2010 I made the call that Google would (probably) have real-time reporting by fall of 2010. I did this publicly at a Web Analytics Wednesday here in Portland. I was off by 1…year. Today Google publicly announced real-time reports for Google Analytics.
Now everyone with Google Analytics can geek out on their real-time data like those of us with Chartbeat have been doing for the last couple years. In all seriousness, real-time reporting is an exciting new feature, and does provide some fantastic insight when there are “momentous” events driving traffic to one’s site. An example might be a rush of traffic from a blog post getting picked up on
Digg Reddit. There is a lot of debate in the web analytics community about the value of real-time analytics, with many practitioners saying it is simply monitoring, and not analytics. But with the speed of change these days, and the quickness with which a swell (see what I did there?) can form and move, some type of real-time reporting is necessary.
So will Google put Chartbeat out of business? Hardly; Google has a ways to go before the features are as robust as Chartbeat’s offering. But most sites don’t need most of those features; those that do are already paying the $10/month that Chartbeat starts at. As Google did to the paid analytics platforms when it started to gobble up market share, this will simply force Chartbeat to continue to improve and enhance it’s offering. A challenge Chartbeat is up to, and has proven it is capable of doing for two years. Again Google is pushing the industry, and improving the conditions for all of us.
Finding out about the real-time rollout was one of the more exciting moments at the Google Analytics Partner Summit earlier this month. I am excited for our clients using Google Analytics, and look forward to playing around with it myself. It should roll out to all users over the next couple weeks. Kudos to Google for an impressive enhancement; real-time reporting with the volume of sites Google Analytics is on is no small technical achievement.