A couple new and noteworthy Google Analytics features were announced last week. First, Google has added real-time reports to monitor visitors actively looking at your site. Also, for sites with their own custom search engine, Google Analytics has made it easier to integrate data into your analytics reports.
Real-Time Google Analytics
For years, Google has lacked a real-time element to its Analytics product. That changed as Google released real-time analytics reports to a limited set of people. While Google Analytics will still process results on their 24-hour lag, a new set of reports will now show activity happening on your site as it happens.
The reports show active, changing graphics, detailing page views per minute and per second. Detailed reports include percentages of active visitors by country, by page currently being viewed, and by the visitor's source, including custom campaign tags.
While the data is limited, of the best ideas for use so far is to use it to see campaign tracking when unrolling a new campaign. Because of the way data is collected and the delay in its processing, many times a simple typo can make your data go awry and take at least 24 hours or so for you to discover. With the real-time reports, you'll be able to see anomalies quicker.
The new real-time reports only are available in the new version of Google analytics. Look for it under the Dashboards area this week. When the new Google Analytics interface rolls out this week, you’ll be able to find it under the Home tab. If you can't see the reports and don't want to wait, you can request access sooner.
Google Analytics and Custom Site Search
Site search reports have already included more than mere usage and search terms. Now the set up processes are easier.
Essentially, you simply navigate to the Custom Search Engine management page. From there, select a few options, including options specific to Google Analytics, and the Google Custom Search tool will produce your new, analytics-friendly code, ready for copying and pasting into your site.
To be clear, this is really an announcement more concerned with Google's Site Search product. However, if you use it or were considering using it, know that setting up the Google Analytics reporting components is much easier now.
The new Site Search code enables all the cool tagging and integration for Google Site Search clicks to interact properly with Google Analytics. As part of the process, you'll need to select which Google Analytics account you intend to use with each individual site search engine you create.
More Google Analytics Changes This Week
The Google Analytics team has been quite busy of late. Just last month, Google Analytics changed the way they counted visitors with modified session data, which led into new multi-channel funnel reporting.
And Google's not done yet. They're promising a new Google Analytics layout this week.