ACR Analytics Blog

Is Real-Time Data Valuable?

November 11, 2014

Trying to analyze real-time data can be a little overwhelming at first, but it has valuable insight that can help your source not only the direction of your online marketing, but also the future of your product development and implementation.

There are several reasons why real-time data is not only useful for any company or industry, including how it can help you decipher trends, make decisions, learn what is working, and fix what isn’t.

Crowdsource Trend Research

Besides real-time data about your own products and website, you can also utilize other real-time data sources to make big decisions when it comes to product development or online marketing and branding. real-time data allows you to learn about emerging trends so you can adjust your strategy accordingly to take advantage. For instance, there are several paid platforms that collect and displays real-time social media data, such as ViralHeat, uberVU, DataSift, or Flumes.

There are also several free tools that allow you to monitor social media conversations around a certain keyword or phrase. These include SocialMention, Facebook’s OpenGraph search, Twitter’s advanced search, and Google Trends.

Review User Behavior

Outside data from millions of users is always useful, but when it comes to diagnosing trends about your own website, your own real-time analytics data can’t be beat.

Google Analytics Realtime

This data can not only help you see how a blog post you just published is doing (which is extremely useful for news sites, high-traffic blogs, or company announcements), it also shows you what types of pages users are visiting during a specific time of day (or day of the week).

We’ve also seen some pretty cool stuff done with Webtrends Steams, a partner of ours, for users that already have Webtrends or are looking for a more full-featured, real-time solution beyond what Google Analytics can provide:


screenshot via Webtrends’ blog

Real-time data has implications for your entire marketing strategy. For instance, if you notice that more users read about your services during the morning, you can have pop-ups offering service specials in the AM, experiment with only showing PPC ads during the AM, or publish your service-related blog posts during that time.

This real-time data also helps shape your social media strategy. By viewing your top keywords, referral sources, and social traffic sources, you can pinpoint when to publish social media posts throughout the day.

Finally, real-time data on your website also shows you when to launch new products or promotions. Launching a new product when your real-time website traffic is highest may help you generate more sales.

Google Analytics Realtime 2.jpgSee What’s Working and What Isn’t

If you are implementing a new feature onto your website (like a contact form or newsletter pop-up), real-time data can help you see if it’s successful immediately. You can also track user behavior to see their exit pages, which can help you improve pages or forms that aren’t converting.

Furthermore, Google Analytics real-time data lets you view the majority of your audience that is on a desktop, mobile, or tablet. This can help you decide your advertising and mobile strategies for each specific time of day or week. For instance, if you are a clothing retailer and see that you have more mobile traffic during lunch time, consider offering a promotional code via text that is only good during 11am-2pm. The urgency will inspire users to buy, while the timeframe ensures that more mobile users are engaged with your website.

Utilizing Real-Time Data for Marketing

One real-time data feature that has worked really well for a lot of marketers is utilizing live events, as they are happening, and produce content surround that event. Good examples of this include Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet during the blackout of the 2013 Super Bowl or companies utilizing a trending hashtag to add their own creative contributions (however, word to the wise on hashtags: these contributions must be in good taste; trouble will always befall a company who “twitterjacks” a tragedy or news topic to promote their own products and services).

No matter how your company harnesses real time data (from capitalizing on trends for product development or utilizing it in your marketing strategy), it has some very real value and should be used whenever possible. Watching trends as they happen is one of the many ways data is useful in sales, marketing, development, and more.

Screenshots taken November 2014