I can be a bit of a web analytics geek. I check the stats for my website multiple times a day. The thing is, I tend not to dig too deeply into those daily analytics. My multiple times a day ritual with Google Analytics seems to involve these five views:
- The main dashboard showing total page views, total visits, and top content for the day,
- Referring Sites,
- Map Overlay,
- and Service Providers.
That's it. I always have to go through the annoying step of selecting today since it's not shown by default, then I'm never sure how much lag their is to the data collection, and, finally, the rest of the interface is overkill and overwhelming for my day-to-day needs.
Gaug.es (@gaugesapp) is a service developed by Ordered List to provide very simple and real-time analytics for your site. When I say real-time I mean a lag of like a second between a page load and that visit showing up in Gaug.es. It almost feels instantaneous. As the guys behind it say, it's "the basics, done right."
The main screen:
As you can see, not a whole lot of data to share but the data they do show is well-organized.
So the good for me…
- The whole point of the service is to show you statistics for today. So no modifying a timeline to get to the data I want most.
- The content I use regularly (page views, visits, top content by title, location, referrers, and search terms) are tracked by the service. They also track browsers, OS, and screen sizes but that doesn't matter to me.
- AirTraffic Live (screenshot below) is very cool. By leaving a small window open in the top-left of my screen I can watch traffic as people hit the site.
- As noted earlier, it has a very simple but good looking interface.
- Finally, Gaug.es offers a free, one week trial of their best plan. But even after the trial it's still cheap with plans ranging from $6 to $48 per month.
Here is a screenshot of AirTraffic Live which is one of the coolest features of Gaug.es:
The Not So Good
But every product has its flaws…
- The big one for me is that it's not optimized for mobile. There seems to have been some attempt done to make it mobile-friendly but it feels clunky and bolted on. For a service focused on real-time numbers, being able to check those real-time numbers from anywhere and at anytime seems a no-brainer. The good news is that the team is already working on making it more mobile-friendly.
- The lack of service provider information. If you've played with that particular bit of data in Google Analytics (in the old version it's under Visitors > Network Properties) you know it can provide an almost scary, detailed view of your users (e.g. you can see that someone came from Apple and, using Advanced Segments, tell how that user used your site). I'm not sure the Gaug.es team could actually pull this one off but it'd be great to see.
- Search terms aren't integrated into the live view like referrals are. If you get a visit from a referral you can see right-away what it was. If you get a visit from a search term there's not way to see the relationship. This too is supposed to be addressed. Search also doesn't get a breakdown by day like some of the other views.
It's still early days for the product but it's already quite good. If they get these other issues knocked off I think they'll be set. For me, it doesn't have to be real-time Google Analytics, just real-time basic analytics. In fact, I'm still using Google Analytics on this site along with Gaug.es.
I can totally see using Gaug.es to help monitor the launch of web-based campaigns where we use social media and other tools to advertise. We'd be able to quickly see the effectiveness of these outlets and adjust accordingly.
Gaug.es is another tool in the arsenal to help schools to make effective decisions about their web content in real-time.