End of Old Google Analytics, Dawn of Real-time Action

In a blog post yesterday “Moving Google Analytics Forward”, Google announced that it was fully retiring the old Google Analytics in favor of the newer, fuller featured Google Analytics that is completely real-time. There’s no doubt that real-time is cool (and it’s really satisfying to watch that unique visitors number go up). But what are ways we can harness real-time analytics (whether from Google or otherwise) to drive value for SaaS and Ecommerce firms on the web?

Customer Support

Traditionally, customer service has been about the least real-time activity in the world. You have a problem, you call a number, and you sit on hold for half an hour.  However, tools like Olark change the game by making customer support real-time and in product. As individual analytics tools progress (tools like Klaviyo, Mixpanel, KISSMetrics, etc) advance, you can almost imagine a world where customer service is real-time and proactive – i.e. if we see you struggle for 5 minutes to use a key feature, we pop-up a small prompt asking if you want us to walk you through it right now.

Disaster Avoidance and Uptime

Just like a canary in a mine, real-time analytics can give us a jump on problems before they get serious.  Pingdom is a great example of this – it can track your website’s uptime and performance and immediately let you know if there are problems. Sure, you’d probably realize your site was down next time you visited it or someone called you, but you’d certainly rather get a real-time prompt.

User Onboarding

When someone first signs up for your web app, you have their full attention – they’re in your product and trying to get value from it. You’ve already won the hard battle of getting them to your site and getting them interested.  By having real-time insight into this process, you can take key actions to make sure that customers make it fully in the door (automatically generating personalized welcome emails, calling customers who appear stuck, etc).  The key role for everyone running a software business is to think through that customer lifecycle, and to make sure the right messages are delivered at the right times.

Sales and Loyalty

If you ran an offline store and someone walked into your store for the first time and made an extremely large purchase, you’d probably go out of your way to treat them well. Real-time data can let us do the same personal outreach on the web by immediately identifying people to reach out to while we are still top of mind for them.

There will be many ways that real-time data continues to impact the way customers are treated on the web. However, it’s key that we see through the coolness of real-time and focus on action – what we’ll do differently, and how this lets us be innovative.


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