Google Analytics Announces API for Real-Time Analytics Data

Building off content experiments API released earlier this year, Google Analytics has announced an API for Real-Time Analytics data. Google launched real-time analytics nearly two years ago to help users see campaign tracking and other real-time data because it isn't feasible to wait the typical next-day period for recognizing tagging problems and making adjustments.

While real-time reporting has made it easy to make adjustments to campaigns on-the-fly, it still requires human interaction to monitor and observe what's going on. With the real-time API, code can now be written to automate that kind of checking.

The implications are far-reaching, especially coupled with the released to the public in June. With the right automation development, a team could effectively have an A/B test monitor itself and report that back in real-time .

More practically, developers could combine the real-time API with the Google Charts API to make custom real-time dashboards. The API can also be used in-site to show how many people are viewing a given page or category at any given time.

This could be ideal for deal sites and similar sites with limited quantities that sell in a limited time window. The Google Analytics team cited a vacation rental company that tested the real-time API for its vacation rental properties. The site saw an 8 percent increase in conversions and 18 percent increase in revenue.

Active Visitors on Site

Like all the good Google features, this is also released in a limited, closed beta. In fact, you need to sign up to use the real-time API. For now, if you're accepted, there will not be any service-level agreement (SLA) enforced against the data. Which means you can code, experiment and play to your heart's content.

When the veil is lifted, developers will be able to take advantage of the Google Analytics superProxy. The GA superProxy allows you to write a query that you can access over and over again on a published and shareable URL. This means you can write the query, have it stored and be able to access it client-side in the browser. This service is available without the need for user authentication so any widget or browser plug-in could use it.

At this time, there's no information on when the API will go public or what the usage limits will be. But you can sign up for the Real Time API Beta now. Google requires your API Project Number and a usage case for how you'll use the API.

About the author

A seasoned Web developer since 1993, Thom is a technical SEO and digital analytics veteran. Thom started his first Web consultancy, New York Web Works, in 1997 and never looked back. His current role as Director of Analytics at Acronym puts him on the forefront of analyzing websites of some of the biggest brands.

Part of the ClickZ Academy faculty, Thom has also taught for several well-respected colleges and universities. A ghost author of over a dozen technical training manuals, Thom has written for several industry blogs. He is a regular speaker at ClickZ Live events and is also a veteran of TEDx.