With the latest version of Google Analytics there is a Beta feature that will show you what is happening on your site as it happens.

The aptly named Google Analytics Real Time was launched last year, but many users are still unaware of the feature, either due to religiously sticking to the old version of Google Analytics or by not checking out the Home tab. If you haven’t checked out the Real Time feature yet, I recommend you drop everything (after reading this article obviously) and have a look. It’s a wonderful tool that will show you exactly what is happening on your website – from which pages are being viewed right now to how many users are on your site and which countries they hail from.

Whilst definitely having an initial “wow” factor, it’s also a highly useful marketing tool – I’m using it to see if my tweets have any impact on traffic. Once this article is posted, I’ll tweet about it and watch my Real Time stats to see if the tweet generates traffic. I’ll also be able to see how quickly the article is visited and when the tweet stops being effective – all highly useful information to a social marketer.

You’ll find the Real-Time reports only in the new version of Google Analytics. If you’re not already using the new version, you can start by clicking the “New Version” link in the top right of Google Analytics. Real-Time reports are in the Home tab.