Real-Time Analytics: Top Use Cases for Quality Assurance

When real-time analytics first came out in Google Analytics, there were a lot of questions on the usefulness of this report. Yes, it looks cool to put it up on a big screen in the office for people to watch how much traffic is currently on your site… but that may not be super actionable (depending, of course, on your business).

Thankfully I’ve found a couple of very useful ways to use real-time analytics for QA to help make me a better marketer:

1. Ensure campaign tracking is setup correctly:
Real-time analytics allows me to see that the UTMs I’ve attached to my blog post URLs are working correctly and attributing traffic to the right sources. It’s a nice assurance to quickly check this after posting a new blog post to ensure I’ll be able to track and report on the success of it later on.


2. Profile & filter testing:
When I add a new filter to a view in analytics, I want to be sure that I’m getting the expected results (and that I haven’t broken anything). In the example below, I wanted to filter out all US traffic. You can see that on the left is what the view data looked like before I applied the filter, and on the right, just after applying the filter you can see that US traffic is being filtered out (notice the decline in total traffic as the minutes pass, expected because US traffic made up a large portion of the overall). If you don’t see immediate changes in your incoming data after adding a new filter then something may be wrong.


3. Checking how popular you are (just kidding… kind of)
While not specific to QA, and not necessarily super actionable, it’s always nice to check out real-time analytics to monitor current site traffic. We all want to be popular on the web, right?


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