To a race car dri­ver, closely mon­i­tor­ing the gauges on the dash can mean the dif­fer­ence between a record-breaking ride or a detour into dis­ap­point­ment. Fuel lev­els, miles per hour, tem­per­a­ture, oil pressure—drivers use this essen­tial infor­ma­tion to make impor­tant and imme­di­ate deci­sions that directly impact their speed, safety, and performance.

Of course, it goes with­out say­ing that dri­vers rely on the imme­di­ate read­outs, not the num­bers from a day ago, an hour ago, or even a minute ago. After all, it wouldn’t make much sense to make adjust­ments based on the speed from yesterday’s race, or last week’s RPM.

You don’t have to be behind the wheel of a stock car to under­stand the impor­tance of real-time ana­lyt­ics. Whether you oper­ate an e-commerce site, mobile appli­ca­tion, or com­plex soft­ware pro­gram, you need up-to-the-second data to stay competitive.

You’ve taken a smart first step by inte­grat­ing with Adobe Tar­get, which includes reli­able real-time report­ing. But are you lever­ag­ing all the uses and ben­e­fits of this capa­bil­ity, or are you just spin­ning your prover­bial wheels? Let’s take a quick look at some of the most use­ful ways to har­ness the power of real-time data.

Get Instant Results from a Cam­paign or Launch

Today’s busy users expect to be able to gauge the results of a mar­ket­ing cam­paign or site/product launch instantaneously—waiting for days, or even hours, sim­ply isn’t accept­able. With real-time data, you can lit­er­ally ana­lyze the results as they come in. Get a read on how suc­cess­fully new fea­tures are being adopted. See how users are inter­act­ing with a new appli­ca­tion. Watch the stream of traf­fic come in from affil­i­ate sites. Pin­point how effec­tively (or inef­fec­tively) social media inte­gra­tions are being used.

Work Out the Bugs

Back in the race car: it would be down­right dan­ger­ous to make deci­sions based on a bro­ken gauge. Of course, your life isn’t at stake when mon­i­tor­ing Web stats, but it would be a colos­sal waste of time and money to rely on inac­cu­rate or miss­ing data. With real-time ana­lyt­ics, you can per­son­ally step through your site, prod­uct, or pro­gram to ver­ify that every­thing is behav­ing as it should and that the right infor­ma­tion is get­ting processed—so you know you’ll have the data you need for that big report or presentation.

Run Split Tests

Won­der­ing which ver­sion of your prod­uct page is dri­ving more con­ver­sions? Want to com­pare the click­throughs on mul­ti­ple email sub­ject lines? Real-time data enables you to run impromptu A/B/n tests to deter­mine which vari­a­tion is more pop­u­lar (and prof­itable), so you can quickly decide which track to take. This capa­bil­ity is espe­cially impor­tant for pro­grams or sites that release new fea­tures and updates on a fre­quent basis.

I don’t mean to imply that his­tor­i­cal data isn’t impor­tant in its own right. After all, that dri­ver may very well want to go back and com­pare his or her stand­ings in pre­vi­ous races. His­tor­i­cal data can pro­vide impor­tant insights that can be turned into action. That said, real-time mon­i­tor­ing is an invalu­able tool, as it enables users to make faster deci­sions. And let’s face it—today’s busi­ness world isn’t slow­ing down any­time soon. With Adobe Tar­get, you can lever­age both his­tor­i­cal and real-time data to make informed and timely decisions.

Deliver Cus­tomized Content

The most suc­cess­ful pub­lish­ing sites tai­lor their con­tent to what vis­i­tors want to see. Instant data gives you the power to serve up cus­tom user expe­ri­ences. Whether it’s a timely ad, intel­li­gent cross-selling, or a rel­e­vant arti­cle, preference-driven con­tent is a sure­fire way to keep vis­i­tors engaged with your site or product—which in turn helps you accu­mu­late even more accu­rate infor­ma­tion about them.

Rev Up Results

Real-time inter­ac­tive report­ing is an invalu­able asset. Fast-moving mar­keters and devel­op­ers need instant insights into test­ing results, mobile-friendly reports, and met­rics they can share with team mem­bers and executives.

Uti­liz­ing real-time ana­lyt­ics with tools such as Adobe Tar­get (for­merly Test&Target), you’ll never be stuck in neu­tral again.