AB Analytics : Web Analytics and Optimisation

Don’t Invest In Real Time Web Analytics - Buy A Lava Lamp Instead!

Real Time Analytics - Love it or Lamp it?

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lava lamp Its Tuesday morning and the boss has returned from a long weekend.  She's tired and slightly hung over but, glued to her laptop screen and wont budge for an hour whilst consuming her guilty pleasure… 

The real time web analytics dashboard

The main take-away seems to be a general sense of well-being and the plausible misconception that one is “in touch” with the business given the immediate proximity to their customers online behaviours. 

Friendly advice, if this strikes a chord...

Stop using Real Time Web Analytics and buy a Lava Lamp instead!

The similarities are really quite uncanny.

  • Lava lamps are just as colourful

  • They update and move in similarly hypnotic fashion

  • Time passes quickly when watching them

  • Viewers feel rewarded without actually doing anything productive

  • Lots of different styles and all at reasonable prices

Go buy an amazing lamp from legendary British manufacturer Mathmos.

But, wait!  Surely real time web analytics is good for something?

Thankfully, there are many organisations leveraging the full potential of real time web analytics and here are a few scenarios to demonstrate successful application…

1. Content Prioritisation

Media and Publishing companies use real time web analytics tools to ensure that the content being served is current, topical and appealing.  Nowhere is this more prevalent than in news organisations.  Take the New York Times or, Forbes for example.  Both leverage Chartbeat to optimise and prioritise content to capitalise on existing site behaviour and response feedback to story popularity.

2. Test & Learn

User generated content site Quora leveraged real time Funnel Analysis by MixPanel to optimise their registration flow and get new users to the most appropriate content quicker.  Being able to take immediate action and site design modification based on real time data helped engage more visitors and reduced drop-off.

3. Purchase Flow Optimisation

The benefits of some Real Time Web Analytics tools may extend beyond simply collecting data as in the case of Woopra and their Live Chat feature.  This allows site owners to engage in conversation directly with the visitor if support is requested by the shopper or problems be observed by the webmaster.  Personally I find the latter of these use cases slightly creepy but, who's to say it wont increase conversion too.

4. Technical Troubleshooting

Staying with eCommerce, StylistPick used real time web analytics to find areas of the site that not functioning as designed.  Technical hardware allocation and server side issues were identified and investigated using data from GoSquared.

5. Campaign Scheduling

Iconic fashion house Reiss used Google Analytics Real-Time Beta during a hugely successful sale campaign to monitor site performance and visitor levels in order to schedule the timely release of email batches.  This ensured the site remained stable and visitors obtained an experience equal to the premium brand image.

6. Landing Page Optimisation

This site uses Clicky to carefully monitor campaign success in real time and apt strap line copy and landing page layout.  This is perhaps most critical for paid marketing activities like PPC but, also applies to non-paid promotions such as Social Media.

Can real time web analytics improve your business?

Chances are that if an organisation takes six months and a committee of ten people to make a decision about changing text font size on the home page, its time to go buy the lamp.

Consider answering these questions before starting the real time journey:

  • Is the organisation striving to become more data driven or is this just casually thrown into boardroom conversation?

  • Are Marketing  teams empowered and enabled to implement campaign change quickly or do they rely on slow moving, third party agencies?

  • Is Design resource available for creative changes required post-launch?

  • How closely aligned are Operations department to other parts of the business?

  • Does existing technology infrastructure allow for changes to be easily and swiftly deployed?
Ultimately, any business attempting to leverage real time web analytics must adapt to visitor behaviour at speed based.  And remember, the people and processes dominate success rates over and above measurement tool functionality.

Good luck with the Real Time Web Analytics journey and thanks for reading this article.  Now it's your turn to share...

Real Time Web Analytics: Love it or Lamp it?

We would love to hear your opinion in the comments section below so don't be shy.

About the Author

Alex Brown is a Digital Analytics and Site Optimisation expert who works as an independent freelance consultant. The opinions shared in this blog are based on personal experiences gathered over a decade of data crunching and technology evaluation. The author makes no attempt to be grammatically, politically (or otherwise) correct. Spelling was never a strong point and for practical reasons, not all vendors in the market are referenced in the article - no hard feelings.

Related Products & Services

With in-depth knowledge of both the market place and major technology vendors, allow us to help select, negotiate, support and manage real time web analytics implementation for your business. Contact Us for a confidential and informal discussion to see how our solutions can improve your business today.

Special Thanks

I'm a massive fan of Mathmos products and a special thank you is extended to customer service team for providing the article image at lightning speed.

Like this article?  a) tell us  b) share it c) download it and d) keep updated

Image courtesy of Mathmos

Comments: 2

  • AMELIA Nov 27

    Thank you! I've been trying to find a use for the real time analytics report. I had already considered it's use for email marketing, so you've confirmed my assumption that it would help with that when we launch our email campaign next month (or the month after, or the one after that if the board have anything to do with it LOL). I kind of feel as though I should get a lava lamp though... it may be more helpful to my stress levels than watching visitors not stay on my site (although some do, and I may be being defeatist here - it's been a LONG day...) Thank you for giving me space to vent my frustrations!
  • Alex Dec 06

    Thanks for venting, Amelia! Do let me know how the email campaign goes and hope the real time analytic monitoring plays a helpful part in the optimisation process. On the subject of lamps, I just bought a new one and the colour can be controlled to suit your mood. It is amazing and needs to be shared too, in case generating the board reports gets too boring: http://www.mathmos.com/mathmos-smart-astro-colour-changing-lava-lamp-20343-0.html

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