Google Analytics Launches Real Time API In Beta

Thursday, August 01, 2013 | 9:05 AM

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When we first launched Real Time Analytics 2.5 years ago we set out to enable marketers to take real-time action against their data. Manually taking action and being informed about the immediate performance of your site is fantastic, however it’s not realistic to sit at your computer 24/7 and take advantage of these insights. Also and perhaps more importantly, your reflexes can never be as fast as computers. So the next logical step has always been to programmatically take action using real-time analytics. Towards that end, we’re pleased to announce an invitation to join the beta for the Real Time Reporting API!
This means you can now make queries about your real-time data and use that information in whatever way you please. One of the immediate use cases is to manage the content on your webpage. For example, you can query the API for the top visited URLs to construct a top trending content widget with the number of active readers. A site can also use what I call the “web counter 2.0”, meaning to display the active visitor count in real-time. Seeing the number of visitors also viewing a piece of content has a number of subtle effects such as creating a sense of community and credibility. 

Additionally this metric can be shown on different conversion pages of a website to impart a sense of urgency and demonstrate demand for a given product. Twiddy, a family-owned vacation rental company, with the help of their consultant Joe Akinc, has been testing this and achieving great results. Not only did their revenue increase 18.6%, but the average order value increased 11.9% and the conversion rate increased 7.9%. See the Twiddy case study for the full story and the screenshot below for an example of how this looks visually on their search results page:


“Before Google Analytics, our site was based on the two principles of marketing: booze and guessing, It worked for Don Draper, but we weren’t that smooth. We could never figure out what was working or failing. GA was easy to install and easy to understand. Our learning curve accelerated immediately. We quickly started re-allocating resources to improve our guest experience. ” --Ross Twiddy

Other uses also include a custom executive dashboard to monitor key metrics for your business. Or check out this android app that our very own Clancy Childs built to display the number of active visitors on a pebble watch:


For developers the GA superProxy will also work well with the real-time API and Google Charts API (gviz). This enables you to publish a query that is available without authentication. This has advantages in that you can make the request client side so a widget can be written in javascript and added to a site (calling all 3rd party developers!). Additionally this acts as a cache effectively lifting your quota limits. Learn more about GA superProxy here.

We are releasing the real-time reporting API in a closed beta and there will not be an SLA enforced against the data. As such please be cognisant of this when creating anything that will be customer facing. And as always we are extremely excited to see all the creative ways that the data will be used. 

Sign up for the beta here and please feel free to send us your feedback and use cases. We will be whitelisting customers in the next couple weeks which will include further details including quota. Also be sure to check out our developer docs.

Happy Real Timing!
Posted by Linus Chou, Kasem Marifet & Ozan Hafizogullari on behalf of the Real Time Team