I discovered Chartbeat by accident – it was an aside in a conversation about SocialFlow, another new tool we’re trying on NECN.com that I’ll write about later.
Logging into your account on Chartbeat is like Disneyland for the stat-loving, information overload set. In a single dashboard you can see the number of visitors coming to your site, whether they are active or inactive, what they are looking at, where they came from, and how long it took the page they’re on to load. And it’s updating in real time. You see traffic spikes as they happen, and can see what stories are getting the traffic and where the visitors are coming from.
But after the eye candy phase wears off – what can you do with Chartbeat? The biggest thing may be to work at amplifying those already popular stories. Say you have a story that is showing a spike of interest on your site. If users coming to your site like it, it’s probably a clue that users on search or referral sites might be interested as well. My results on this have been uneven – some stories that showed minor spikes before I pushed them out elsewhere did catch on. Others, not so much. But where Google Analytics takes a couple of hours to tell you about traffic spikes, you know much more quickly here.
It’s a useful and pretty inexpensive tool for most sites (those under 1,000 simultaneous users, which is most of us out there). If nothing else, it gives you a more real-time look at what people are doing on your site, in a way that Google Analytics and other tools don’t allow. Plus, it’s mesmerizing in general. Give it a look.