Since its release a little more than two years ago, the Real-Time report in Adobe Analytics has become one of the most popular features in Reports & Analytics. The minute-by-minute trends it visually unearths — across almost any metric available to you in Adobe Analytics — makes it valuable to email marketer and editor, analyst and author alike. (If you haven’t used the Real-Time report, you can read about it in the blog post I wrote after its introduction in 2013.)
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you may not have noticed a couple of improvements to the Real-Time report that the Adobe Analytics team published a few weeks ago. In this post, I’ll briefly walk through these changes and how you can use them to better understand your audience, your content, and your marketing in real-time.
Week-Over-Week and Year-Over-Year Comparison
For the site-wide totals at the top of the report (see screenshot below), where I can see that I have 457 page views in the past 15 minutes, you’ll notice up to two points of comparison (although this screen shot only shows one): “vs. last week” and “vs. last year.” These comparisons give you a quick snapshot of overall site/app performance for the given metric compared to the same day last week (e.g. Wednesday over Wednesday) as well as compared to the same day last year (e.g. the Wednesday 52 weeks ago).
In this screen shot, I don’t have a year-over-year comparison because this report suite didn’t have data a year ago. But I can see that, compared to the same 15-minute window last week, my page views are down a fairly pedestrian 1.51 percent. If they had been down 10 percent or more, this comparison could have given me a clear, early signal to allow me to begin figuring out why traffic is so low. If they had been up, I could use the rest of the data in the real-time report to examine what is working better than whatever we did last Wednesday at this time of day, and hopefully do more of it.
It’s worth noting, for those who haven’t used the Real-Time report heavily, that you can choose your time range here: the default is 15 minutes, but you can also toggle between 30 minutes, one hour or two hours. These points of comparison are checked against the same 15-minute, 30-minute, one-hour or two-hour window from the previous week and previous year.
In the table of data at the bottom of the screen shot above, you’ll see three metric columns: “Page Views” (the metric I have selected in this report; this could be almost any metric in my Adobe Analytics implementation), “Today,” and “Change.” The new “Today” column allows you to compare the last 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour or two hours for your selected metric to the total for the current day so far. I am just showing the Page dimension in the screen shot above, but my dimensions could be things like Products or Campaigns, and my metrics could be things like Revenue or Click-throughs (Instances).
Analytics is all (well, partially, at least) about context. By comparing the page views in the past 15 minutes to the total page views for the day for each page, I can gauge the relative importance of the most recent time period for a piece of content, a product, etc. If I have a page with 10,000 views for the day, but only 500 in the past 15 minutes, the page isn’t doing anything noteworthy; it might be one of my most viewed pieces of content over the past few minutes, but it has also been frequently viewed at other times today. However, if 1,000 of its 10,000 page views have occurred in the past 15 minutes, I know that these past 15 minutes have been more important for that page, and I will immediately start to investigate why.
These two new features are enabled by default within the Real-Time report; you don’t need to do anything to turn them on. If you haven’t used the Real-Time report yet, I urge you to give it a try. It is available to all Adobe Analytics customers, uses your existing implementation and can be easily configured and re-configured at any time within the Admin Console in Adobe Analytics. And, as always, please don’t hesitate to tweet at me with any thoughts, feedback or questions!