It was so satisfying, when I first caught wind of Google Analytics realtime, to just go to my analytics account, switch on the live statistics, and watch. No extra code; it just worked. Google have come up trumps yet again with this recent addition which is so useful, and free.
Only available in the “new” interface, realtime shows how many people are on the site right now. It shows a live ticker-graph of pageviews per minute and per second, the top ten pages in terms of active visitors (right now!), where they came from, what keywords they used and their location on a world map.
You can drill down and monitor segments of data and zone in on individual pages. We have used this technique, running GA on an iPad, during a recent webchat that we ran internally. The GA display showed how many people were tuning into the webchat and really helped in providing live evidence to stakeholders. Slightly amusing to note that at one point there were more people involved in “producing” and handholding than were actually tuning in to take part!
We have also used this to monitor and test our online communications channels. for example, watching after we have published a corporate announcement to see how much uptake it gets.
In terms of intranet usage, you get a good idea of your killer content, which changes depending on the time of day. I’m half-thinking of looking into some kind of timer switch on our “most popular” panel boxes. Of course it would be great to provide live, up to the minute, “trending now” information. But until we have the sort of content that has a bit more “flow”, I suspect that the results wouldn’t change too much.
Proudly on display, in the heart of the digital team, we now have a monitor displaying live stats throughout the day. And when we’re not eating another Malteser each time the figures go up, this new weapon in our analysis and evidence arsenal should prove to be a good tool for highlighting the importance of intranet content and applications and how staff consume, use and interact with them.