The Benefits of Using Real-Time Social Media Metrics
Whether or not real-time social media metrics are useful depends entirely on your brand and what kind of service or product you offer your customers. If your brand would benefit from watching people interact with your page in real time, you have a variety of solutions available to you; Woopra, KISSmetrics, Clicky, Google Analytics, and more all offer real-time metrics for a view of your site in action.
Why would you want to use real-time metrics? Maybe you're
Running a contest
Running a time-sensitive rewards campaign
Running a timed vote drive
Monitoring a poll for a prize
Testing a new site design in action
Analyzing time-on-site issues
Requiring a real-time look at time on site to conversion data
Checking on broken site features while site still live
Looking for broken links in real time
Providing customer support
Reaching out to customers
Finding out the visitor path from referral source to exit
Some tools offer an enhanced experience in real-time analytics. Woopra, for example, is no longer entirely free to get this feature, but if you move to a paid plan, you can chat with visitors on your site while they are there (if they also run Woopra).
Whether or not you want to surprise your visitors by suddenly popping up a chat window, real-time metrics have many uses for the brand that is trying to offer better customer service or a better site or just trying to see what its customers really want out of its site so that it can provide better service.
In the case of real-time metrics, Google Analytics has a long way to go to be as useful as some of the other solutions. You're going to have to work a little harder to get useful data out of Google's real-time metrics.
If you've used Google Analytics for a while, this observation won't surprise you. Many of the stats in that tool default to a month view that ends the day before the day you sign in to check your stats. Certain reports won't even run correctly if you try to force Google Analytics to see what happened on your site today!
It's best if you stick to another real-time solution while Google works the kinks out of this one (and it will). Meanwhile, don't forget to integrate your real-time solution with Analytics. Tools like KISSmetrics work with the Google Analytics API, making your life much easier.