• http://twitter.com/antoinegay Antoine Gay

    Analytics platform are supposed to offer to track everything, from campaign (utm in GA) to content, onsite ads and conversions/orders, and if it is already tracked by an Adserver or other tool, it has to be double tracked with the Analytics tool.
    Most professional tools are going away from real time, and some like Chartbeat will give you info at a T time. AT Internet provides all metrics in real time, few minutes after, and APIs allow to export this. Dashboards in a News room are the most frequent example of real time analytics usage.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Great post, Benny.  As is often the case:  that which sounds sexy and amazing turns out to be ugly and unhealthy when it comes to practical use.

  • http://borasky-research.net/about-data-journalism-developer-studio-pricing-survey/ M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    Real-time marketing may be primitive now, but at some point it’s going to be a competitive advantage to have it. It’s just like finance – for traders, it’s now a competitive advantage to have your servers close to those that power the exchanges where you trade, and to have algorithms that understand market microstructure.

    I can’t predict the growth rates – I don’t have any data – but I’m betting that real-time marketing, especially in mobile, *will* grow and those who ignore its potential will be left behind. Facebook and Twitter are well-positioned to make it happen.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffreyRusso Jeffrey Russo

    Couldn’t agree more – real time analytics sounds sexy, and it’s an easy feature to market (“think of what you could be missing during that 4 hour lag!”) But aside from a few very specific situations, I’d really question how much most marketers get out of real time data. Correct analysis is best done on statistically significant sets of data after the dust has settled. 

    All technical limitations aside, knowing how many people are on your site, or exactly what your visitor count and distribution is at any given moment in time appeals to our obsessive nature, but doesn’t really offer much value in analysis.

  • http://twitter.com/CollinTate CollinTate

    Great article Benny. 

    For me, I’ve found that the only scenarios in which real time analytics are actually useful is during a product launch or sales event. Real time analytics allow me to recognize sales bottlenecks that were not identified during planning or pre-launch and catch issues that cause visitors to abandon at a high rate. Using real time data, I can make improvements on the fly. 

    Am I the only one who got the Chappelle’s Show reference? Nice one Benny!

  • http://twitter.com/bennyblum Benny Blum

    Thanks, @CollinTate:twitter . Glad somebody caught the reference. The original title was ‘When Keeping it Real Time Goes Wrong’ :)

  • http://twitter.com/Winooski Nato (Nate Orshan)

    There’s actually one context in which real-time analytics are extremely useful: In enterprise settings where either a significant campaign has just gone live or where a significant site code change has just gone live.

    I’ve seen myself how access to real-time analytics helped determine that there were site problems (due to a spike in traffic) and helped the company get IT resources on the issue immediately. Absent those analytics, it’s possible much of the extra traffic in that case would have been wasted on a slow, malfunctioning site; as it was, the engineers were able to save the day. 

    This is a slightly different scenario than Mr. Blum describes, where access to real-time analytics helps thwart a marketing campaign, and it probably only starts being viable when an organization is of significant size, but it bears sharing!