30DTC – Tracking Website Visitors in Real Time and Google Analytics Intelligence Alerts

As part of my 30 Day Traffic Challenge, I’ll be spending a lot of time in Google Analytics. It’s nice actually, because it is giving me the chance to update a bunch of settings, really dig into some of data and get some hands-on experience with the new tools.

Tonight I stumbled across Google Analytics Real Time Reporting, which turns out was recently launched. Here’s a snapshot of the activity on my site right now.  Three visitors – stunning, I know.

Measuring Targeted Web Traffic with Real Time Google Analytics

I have used real time tracking tools before, namely Woopra. For me, it never really made sense to watch a small handful of people on my site in real-time. I do have at least one client, however, who has upwards of 200 people on her site at any given time and in that case it’s fun to watch the traffic pass through.

Speaking of Woopra, I just found this relatively recent article that outlines 8 Free Tools for Live Website Tracking. Check it out if this is something that you want to explore further.

Tracking website traffic with Google Analytics Intelligence Alerts

What probably makes most sense for the passive Analytics user is the Intelligence Alerts dashboard.  It essentially provides you with a visually intuitive snapshot of the top 10 major changes in traffic behavior on your website.

For example, as you see in the screenshot below, my site saw a 98% increase in Pageviews and a 242% increase in Average Time on Site on Oct. 15th.

Intelligence Events Overview - Google Analytics

If I click on the details link to the right, I can see possible factors that influenced the shift and add annotations for future reference.

Intelligence Events Detail - Google Analytics

While these alerts are useful, I’ve found the Google Analytics Custom Email Alerts to be the best in terms of notifying me of any major traffic changes.  If you click on the Settings Cog icon off to the right in your Analytics Dashboard you’ll find a place to setup custom alerts.

Here’s a screenshot from a new alert I just setup tonight to alert me when unique visitor traffic spikes by 25% vs. the previous day’s traffic.

Google Analytics Custom Alert when unique visitors spike

Normally, I would recommend weekly or monthly based alerts, but given my short timeframe for the 30 Day Traffic Challenge, a daily window makes sense.

We’ll spend more time in Analytics later, since it is my main platform to measure traffic and define success this month.  Any specific questions about Analytics you would like answered?  My friend, Pierre DuBois, is an Analytics expert at Zimana and could likely help answer any questions we throw at him.

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.