On Friday night I went out for sushi with some friends, one of whom manages the near real-time stream of sales data from every single one of McDonald’s 32,000 locations in more than 100 countries. For McDonald’s having real-time data is a must. It helps them project how much supply is necessary in different parts of the world. Through their analysis of same-store sales data they’re able to gain insight on when to run promotions and launch new products.
For Walmart, near real-time isn’t good enough. Their once super-secret 125,000-square-foot data collection center resembles a bunker and is nicknamed Area 71. From there they use a far more extensive data collection system that refreshes hourly — tracking everything from making sure they have enough 12-roll packages of Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels at store #1911 in Akron, OH to helping provide fresher locally-grown herbs when in season at their Supercenter in Crystal Lake, IL.
But for websites, most of us rely on Google Analytics, which while it is an excellent tool (and the industry standard in website data reporting), it can’t provide data immediately. If you run a news site, blog or other website that needs live data tracking there aren’t really many other options besides Chartbeat. And until now their data reporting was dry and hard to understand. Their new beta version, just released today, perks up the live data-stream with colorful animated graphs and charts. Want to see this in action? See Chartbeat’s demo.
One of the most fascinating reports allows you to see how many users are on your site right now — and how many minutes they have spent. Chartbeat beta even pulls in live Twitter comments, tracks average page-load times — and my favorite — scroll depth on each article. That means that you can see how many visitors are scrolling down on each article to read more. That’s impressive.