Using Google Analytics Real Time to Check Visitors to Your Website
Watching the Orange Circles Light Up
Have you tried out the "Real Time" feature of Google Analytics?
This feature was added over a year ago and is very entertaining. When I asked this question on Webanswers, one member who used the facility said, "I feel like someone watching their pets!". There is an element of truth in this and I suppose it is sort of voyeuristic watching victims, sorry I mean visitors, coming on line and seeing what they get up to, the keywords they use to search the site, and how they navigate to other pages. I have a hub on this site about lawnmower problems which gets a moderate amount of traffic. On Saturdays and Sundays, those little orange circles light up all across America as poor unfortunates try to cut their grass and their lawnmower won't start! Then about 12 hours later, the same happens in Australia. It even happens in the UK and Ireland, although I can't imagine how anybody would want to cut grass in the wet stormy weather we have had in western Europe during the last month!
What Exactly is Google Analytics Real Time?
This is a feature of Google Analytics. It is "real time" because it provides instant traffic data about visitors to your site: their country and region, search terms, network, referral source and the content they are reading. When a visitor comes on line, an orange circle appears on a map close to the region in the country from which they are viewing your content. A sliding time line shows the users on site and other information is displayed also including the referral source, the number of visitors from social networks and search keywords if the source is organic, i.e someone has searched for a topic in a browser.
If you haven't set up Google Analytics, now is a good time to do so. It is an invaluable resource, giving lots of information or statistics about the visitors to your site.
Google Analytics provides the following information about your audience:
- The numbers of visitors to your account. You can select the timescale of interest, either choose a day, or a range of days specifying the start and end date. This information can be further filtered to display the numbers of visitors per hour, day, week or month within this timescale
- A breakdown of the country and region where visitors are from (over the timescale)
- The nature of the traffic, i.e whether it is organic, direct (pasting a URL into a browser is a type of direct traffic), or comes from social sources, e.g. Twitter, HubPages, Facebook, Stumbleupon etc
- The technology used - Device (e,g, desktop,mobile,tablet), browser, operating system
Audience size can be viewed numerically and also graphically over the timescale of interest. Specific to Hubpages, you can also select individual hubs and view statistics as described above
The Real Time feature can be accessed from the side bar on the left.
Setting up Google Analytics
I won't re-invent the wheel as regards setting up Google Analytics! The LearningCenter of HubPages provides a guide showing exactly what you need to do. Google Analytics requires a Google account, so you need to set this up first. Also you need to be able to edit the HTML code of your website to add a Google tracking cookie so that they can monitor traffic and its details and pass the information on to you when you access the Google Analytics page.