Whether you run a B2B software company, a solo ecommerce store, or any other kind of website that you want to see grow, real-time traffic monitoring is a key piece of the puzzle. Real-time visitor monitoring tells you who is on your website right now, and what they are looking at. A visitor analytics platform can also tell you where your visitors came from – whether that be a specific search engine or their country of origin – and can even give you the option of reaching out for a live chat on your site, to help your visitors get the most out of what you have to offer.
Google Analytics is the most popular traffic analysis tool used across the web, with some estimates giving it more than 70% of the market share. But GA is just one of the site traffic analysis tools you should be using, especially if you’re interested in real-time data. Other options, like Amplitude and our service at Formilla, provide additional specialized features that can supplement your core traffic tools. If you’re looking to understand the performance of something timely, like a promoted landing page, you’ll want specific tools focused on real-time data.
In this article we’ll tackle some of the common questions around real-time visitor monitoring. Whether you’re just getting started with site traffic analysis or you’re a veteran looking for a new tool to solve a particular need, there’s always more to learn. New tools and new updates are coming out all the time, to serve the growing hunger for real-time data that helps modern businesses succeed.
Most analytics tools have a real-time dashboard that shows you the number of people currently visiting one of your pages. In Google Analytics that can be found under Reports -> Realtime -> Overview. With Formilla, look for “Total Active Visitors” in the upper-left corner of the main dashboard.
If you’re setting up a website on a platform like WordPress or Wix, there’s a chance that the site building platform you’re using doesn’t come with built-in visitor monitoring – or you might just want more data than the platform offers. In that case, you’ll have to go through the necessary steps to set up a 3rd party visitor tracking platform for your site. For example, here’s information on how to set up Google Analytics for Wix, and here’s how to set up the Formilla plugin for WordPress (so you can take advantage of the dashboard’s real-time visitor monitoring).
Depending on what information you are looking for, you can see different data about your site visitors via different analytics platforms. In the Google Analytics “Realtime” section you have some broad options, including country of origin and the source of the traffic (organic search, social, or other means).
Formilla and similar real-time monitoring platforms can integrate with your customer relationship management software in order to pull and display information about known customers when they are on your site. With these sorts of platforms you might be able to view -*stats like “first time seen” or “last time seen” to give you insight into a visitor’s history on your page. You can also view their history with your company, including previous orders, existing subscriptions, and other key customer information.
Check out the demo on our YouTube channel for more on how Formilla real-time visitor monitoring works.
Different real-time analytics platforms display this information in different ways. In Google Analytics, it can be found in the “Realtime” menu, under the “Content” tab. For Adobe Analytics, you should select “Real Time” from the Site Metrics menu, and you’ll usually want to select “Page” as a primary dimension.
In the Formilla dashboard, the pages visitors are currently browsing can be found under the “Most Active Visitors” display, under the “Pages” heading.
Google Analytics – This is the most popular site analytics tool across the board. It is free to use, widely compatible, and provides generally understood benchmarks. Google Analytics 360 is a premium option intended for business use.
Adobe Analytics – This is an analytics suite specifically intended for enterprise (business) use. It can be pricey, but it offers powerful reporting tools that can help guide your business website. It can combine traffic data with other metrics, such as ecommerce conversions.
Matomo (formerly Piwik) – This analytics platform appeals to people looking for an open-source solution. It has a much smaller install base than Google, but it offers enhanced privacy options and extra analysis tools, like heatmapping, that many webmasters find useful.
Clicky – Clicky has a free option that can be used for smaller sites, as well as a premium version for larger sites. It offers similar features to Google Analytics in an interface that many users prefer. Clicky offers heatmapping, an official WordPress plugin, and themes to customize your analytics interface.
In short: Unless you have a large business site or very particular visitor monitoring needs, Google Analytics + optional extra enhancements (like Bit.ly for link tracking and Formilla for real-time alerts) will probably do the job for you. GA is an industry standard, with widely recognizable terminology – and it’s free to use.
Of course, the complete answer to this question will depend on the specific nature of your site. The site platform you use, the data you need about your visitors, software compatibility concerns, and even your interface preferences will all play a role in determining which visitor monitoring tools are best for you over the long run.
Using Formilla on your site is one of the best ways to get real-time notifications when someone new arrives to browse. You can receive immediate sound alerts, in-browser notifications on your desktop, and even receive notifications on your mobile device.
Real-time alerts are most useful for sites that want to give personal attention to each visitor, and are often used in conjunction with conversational commerce tools like on-site live chat.
Read more about how to enable real-time visitor alerts on your site.
Most real-time visitor monitoring tools are accessible either through a website that can be reached via your mobile device’s browser or have a dedicated mobile app. Matomo is known to have one of the best mobile apps in the industry, and Formilla’s app allows you to use our live chat functions to communicate with site visitors from your mobile device, alongside the real-time visitor tracking features.
Live chat widgets and platforms, like Formilla, can be added to your existing site via plugins and apps. With Formilla, you can offer live chat on any page of your site, and even reach out with proactive invitations to talk to people on your site in real time. Live chat is a great way to offer assistance, answer questions, and help visitors find the right pages or products on your site.
The ability to interact with site visitors is one of the main reasons why businesses and webmasters often seek out tools beyond Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. Those platforms are designed to provide deep insight into the overall flow of visitors to and around your site, but don’t allow you to do much right now to take advantage of the traffic you currently have.
Depending on the nature of your site and your business needs, you’ll benefit from different types of real-time data about site visitors. Here are a few examples of specialized real-time data solutions.
Chartbeat is useful for sites that are actively publishing new content, and want more information about how visitors are interacting with it. Chartbeat has more granular and detailed real-time information than that provided by Google Analytics, and can tell you whether a visitor has your page active or if it’s in a background tab to be read later, or if they’re currently typing something (such as a comment on a news story).
Shopify Analytics is provided for Shopify sellers, and contains useful reports about the performance of your ecommerce store over time. In the Live View dashboard you can get real-time data about active shopping carts and recently completed sales. Similar ecommerce platforms usually provide the same kind of real-time customer data.
BrightEdge contains a variety of services designed with search engine optimization in mind. It’s especially useful for capitalizing on emerging trends, providing insights on content performance and showing you real-time search data to help you understand what browsers and customers are looking for in the moment.
Cyfe is described on its website as providing “all-in-one business dashboards.” If you find yourself having too many different data sources to monitor, this could be a useful tool for you. It can display information from Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, a wide variety of advertising management platforms, and a ton of other useful real-time and historical metrics in a single interface.
If you’re looking to drive sales on your site, then real-time visitor monitoring can be a useful tool to understand how potential customers are actually interacting with your pages. Platforms like Adobe Analytics can give you detailed visitor pathing and (ultimately) attribution information for your sales, which can be useful to guide site design and marketing priorities. Other services offer features like heatmapping, which show you the exact areas on a page that are attracting the most attention, and A/B testing, which allows you to test multiple different versions of a page to see which is most effective at reaching your goals.
Most of these analytics tools provide after-the-fact information. They’re useful at guiding overall strategy, and work better and better when you have more data to guide your decisions, but they don’t tell you much about what you can do right now to appeal to the people that are currently on your site.
If you want to use real-time visitor monitoring as an active sales tool, then you’ll want a platform that offers some kind of visitor interactivity, or at least something that integrates with that kind of service. Live chat widgets, like that provided by Formilla, combine real-time information about your site audience with ways for your sales team to actively reach out to help convert visitors into customers.
Most companies that do business online understand the basic importance of analytics for decision making, but many of them overlook the importance of real-time monitoring of site visitors. Specialized tools can provide you with useful, actionable insights into what is happening on your site right this moment, so you don’t have to wait for a trend to die down or a work day to end before you can maximize your chances for success.
Real-time monitoring tools can tell you if the new page you just published is keeping visitors on your site and engaged for a long time, or whether they are bouncing off – and you can use that data to make adjustments live. This is especially important when you have advertising campaigns driving traffic to a landing page, for example, since you want to get the most out of every minute and every visit in order to maximize your return on investment.
You also need to have a real-time understanding of visitors to your site in order to take advantage of interactivity features like live chat widgets. Businesses that get the most out of live chat sales and support teams often have agents standing by to attend to incoming messages or real-time alerts about new site visitors. And when a live chat agent is talking to a visitor, they’ll be more effective at helping them if they have more information about who that visitor is and how they have been behaving on your site.
Visit Formilla.com today to sign up for a free trial of our live chat dashboard. Take advantage of real-time visitor monitoring, targeted in-app messaging, and advanced live chat features in order to increase customer satisfaction and on-site conversion rates.