In a digital world, things happen and change rapidly. The word ‘wait’ is synonymous with ‘don’t want to’. With e-commerce, consumers don’t join queues anymore (well, maybe just to get the new iPhone first). They skip sections in the videos just to get to the meme at the end. Forget waiting for a webpage to load, today’s consumer demands instant gratification. So, it makes sense that a business’s analytics should be just as fast to provide real-time results.
If frantically refreshing the open rate and CTR stats of a recently launch email campaign or staring at a real-time counter of Google Analytics to see live updates sounds familiar, then the immediacy of answers to some of the more complex business intelligence questions should resonate:
- Which campaign is bringing in the most deposits at this very moment?
- Which article has been shared the most in the last 10 minutes?
- Which bonus campaign is currently bringing in the most revenue?
- Or which version of my landing page is gaining more in the current A/B test?
These types of real time reports, or counters that rely on raw user events flowing in real time, are a perfectly compliment to agile, time-series behavioral analytics.
Real Time Reports and Time-Series Analysis
Digital behavior is a series of actions or events that happen over time. Conducting a time-series analysis provides a long-term timeline on user behavior. This is valuable in providing businesses with a deeper understanding of the series of actions the user took throughout their journey. But when there’s a need to look at customer behavior in a shorter period of time, such as hours or minutes, that’s when real-time reports come in handy.
Understanding Virality and Popularity by the Minute
Digital publishers and broadcasters constantly monitor their content to see which articles or videos are most popular, or have the most views or shares. Popularity measures what happened with your content over time, until now.
Popularity over time doesn’t tell you what happened in the last 10 minutes, which can sometimes paint an entirely different picture, as well as better predict what is likely to happen in the future.
Digital publishers and broadcasters that need to measure the immediate effect of their content need to be able measure virality, or the K-factor which reflects the number of invites and numbers of shares. They need answers to more complex questions than the number of content page views and shares, answers to questions such as:
- How many videos were viewed in the last three hours?
- Which videos were shared the most?
- On which channels did readers prefer to share the content?
- Did paid or free users share the most articles within the specified time frame?
Measuring the Impact of a Marketing Campaign, Instantly
“I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.” -John Wanamaker, pioneer of the concept of the department store.
Marketing managers can become obsessed with being able to monitor the click and open rates of their latest email marketing campaign. But what if instead of these traditional metrics, they were receiving more complex reports that told them in real time how many deposits or installs were being made as a result of a particular campaign?
Real time reports shows the number of ad clicks in comparison with, say app installations, in the last hour. In the gaming world, for example, ad clicks increased significantly around 12:39pm at almost exactly the same amount as the app installations, drilling down further can show great insights. We might see that these players followed a particular series of actions before installing, or came from a particular geographic region, or ad search.
The knowledge of how successful a marketing campaign is (or isn’t) in real time is incredibly valuable. Marketing departments spend valuable time and resources on these campaigns. Once they know the exact point at which the campaign is no longer effective, they could immediately switch gears to build and deliver more effective campaigns.
Delivering Results and Change in Real Time
Having the ability to store data real time data, say from the last 24 hours for example, gives businesses up-to-the minute granularity of customer behavior. Brands now have real time insights on product engagement, content virality, and purchasing patterns, as well as a partner portal that enables users to embed real time dashboards and data widgets for each of their customers. Businesses can now tackle challenges as they happen and prevent them from growing bigger as time goes on. Sometimes it’s all about being in the moment.