Google Analytics Real Time Reporting

By now I’m betting that most people know that if you run Google Analytics you can look at your websites and see if anyone is on there that moment and what they’re looking at. If you didn’t know it, well, you do now. If you did, I’m betting that 90% of you haven’t gone to take a look, and that 90% of you that haven’t gone to take a look aren’t even sure how to do it. I’m taking care of that for you right now.

The first thing you do is to log into your Google Analytics program. Then you decide which website you track is the one you want to look at. If you only have the one then you’re good to go; I’m tracking more than 20 so I have to click on the website, and once it opens I click on the link next to the word “default”.

Once you have your main window open and you’re looking at the stuff you’re used to seeing you go up and click on the word “Home”. Once you’ve done that you then click on “real time (beta)”. That opens up something that looks like the image below:

What you’re seeing here is that when I went to look at whether or not someone was on this blog at the time I was looking at it, I saw 2 people were there. At the top you’ll see that it tracks how long someone is on the site at the present time, and if there were any bars on the right side at the top it would mean they just got there and had been there less than 60 seconds. On the left side at the top is minutes; the small bars tells you how many minutes a person has been on a particular article, while the big bars tells you how long someone’s been on your site. I have to admit that looking at this it’s kind of freaky that someone’s been on the site for that long, but then I don’t always close the windows of blogs or websites I visit when I’m done looking at them.

What you can’t see in this picture is that below here it will tell you the keywords someone used to end up on your site, if they came through a search engine, and then where in the world the person’s accessing your site from. Man, I never knew there were that many cities in the world I’d never heard of, let alone can’t pronounce.

When you look at your menu (where “real time” is) on the left you can check out location, traffic sources and content, which closely mirror what you see on the main real time page, but will give you a bit more if you have more than one or two people on the site at a time. I’ve been checking in on this here and there for about a week, just getting used to seeing it. It’s late night here on the East Coast of the U.S. as I’m writing this, so only seeing 2 people on this late at night makes sense; one of the people was in some city in Asia, but I can’t tell you where (I don’t think it’s Carl, but I wouldn’t be surprised). During one day I did an experiment where I tweeted a link to an article just to see what would happen and I had 6 people on at one time; that was kind of cool.

Just something else you can do with Google Analytics that I should I’d share; give it a shot some day.

23 thoughts on “Google Analytics Real Time Reporting”

  1. I think this option is appreciate by many webmasters. I think it is very useful, especially on busy website, before that I was using extra plugins or custom developments on my website. One old option can be also very useful, to see at what time of the day there is a peak in visits.

    1. Carl, it is interesting, but one day I found myself trying to find ways to manipulate the traffic just so I could see who might be visiting. Therefore, it can be distracting as well as disappointing at times when you don’t see anyone there.

      1. Definitely this data is useful for busy websites, but be careful what you wish for, if your website is loading for 5 sec for example, if there are 50 visitors at the same money, your loading time will fall over 20 sec. I have made some dry tests on one of my projects and actually, things were looking more optimistic, however when 200 real visitors were on the website at the same time, even 4 Xeon processors with 4GB RAM and 1Gbit port for internet could not handle it. The problem is that this server is very expensive, but those visitors just monetized about $3.5

      2. Carl, if I ever have 200 people on my website at the same time I think I’d burst open with a big smile. I doubt most of us will ever have that as an issue to deal with, but it might be a nice problem to have.

  2. Its a good tool but it gives the big G yet another reason to look at your site.

    I switched over to statcounter some time ago which does all this and quite a bit more.

    1. Peter, I took a look at statcounter and frankly, I like Google’s interface better. That plus it’s naivety to think they’re not tracking you anyway just because you have a different program. At least as it pertains to my blogs and websites, I might as well see what Google’s seeing.

  3. Hi Mitch,

    This is an option that I’ve been waiting for for a while. But, then I tested a service called Clicky (not free), and it had this option already. So, now I’ve switched from Google Analytics to Clicky.. and it’s made a huge difference for me. A lot more details and easy to access.

    1. That looks interesting Jens, but I feel if I paid for it I’d be looking at that stuff all the time trying to get my money’s worth. I’d have to go for the $15 a month or $90 a year mode; frankly, I’ll take Google’s free tracking for now.

  4. I would also consider the free mode for now since Google can do anything at any time they want. The company can start introducing some strange features as well. or what do you think @Mitch?

  5. Hi Mitch. Thanks for sharing this. My boss has told me to find some good comprehensive tools we can use to analyze the stats of our sites. Google analytics is a new one for me thou. I’m going to try it for a moment. Hopefully it’s user friendly enough.

  6. Real time reporting is an awesome feature. However, I would warn against getting addicted to checking your sites stats too often. I think that’s the danger of real time reporting is that it gets tempting to constantly check on your site, which can turn into a big time sink,

    1. You’re right Richard because for 2 days I kept looking at it, waiting to see more people coming by while I was watching as it was fascinating. I’m over it now; thank goodness! lol

  7. Hi Mitch, you can count me in to the 90% people who doesn’t know about the real time reporting of Google Analytics. I am using the latest version and can’t seem to find where it is. So I was assuming that all the page views that I was suppose to see will reflect on tomorrow’s report.

    Thanks for the info.

  8. I didn’t know Google offered this Mitch so thanks for the post mate, it’s a pretty cool feature.

    I actually pay for a service that offers a real time visitor activity tracker and analytics. It’s really pretty cool as it not only shows they’re on but whether or not they’re clicking on anything.

      1. I used to but not all that often these days. I renewed it for another 6 months and will review it then to see if I want to continue with it.

  9. Hey Mitch,

    I accidentally happened on to this real time Google analytics page at a seminar I was at in February and found it so interesting and fun to play with. There’s actually a lot of good information there if you study and use it.

    Liz 🙂

  10. Hii Mitch.. Thanks for the information. Google Analytics is very useful for webmasters. With Google Analytics Real-Time, you can see live data as to how many people are currently present on the site, which content appears to be most trendy at the moment. I’ve found that this feature can be quite addictive. There’s just something about knowing who’s on your site at this very moment, where they came from, etc. For more information about SEO/ SMO Services please visit us @

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