Since chartbeat launched, we’ve had some great press and a lot of people comparing us favourably to other analytics services out there, including the 800 pound gorilla that is Google Analytics. People seem to like the work we’ve done on the UI to make things easy to understand and, of course, they love not having to wait for hours or a full day to see what’s going on. We see chartbeat very much as a complement rather than a competitor to Google Analytics measuring very different things and both of great value in their own right.
The difference between Google Analytics and Chartbeat is in some ways similar to the difference between Google Search and Twitter Search. Google Search is unparalleled at searching the archive and can deliver huge amounts of relevant information. What it can’t do and what Twitter Search is so good at is searching the now. When a plane lands in the Hudson or Mumbai suffers a terrorist attack, Twitter search is far more useful than Google search.
In the same way, Google Analytics is superb at helping you analyze the archive. You can follow how well your conversion funnels are performing and create a wealth of data that is useful over the long term. Chartbeat, in contrast, enables you to react and respond to the now. If a flood of visitors suddenly hit your site, your servers go offline, or suddenly everyone on Twitter is talking about you or your site, running chartbeat under the hood means you can react and respond immediately. To put it another way, Google Analytics can analyze the optimum placement for fire hydrants and the best path for the fire engine, chartbeat can tell you your house is on fire.
When the rest of the world is working and reacting in real-time, it’s dangerous for companies and publishers, to be working with a 24 hour delay. It’s the difference between taking control of a story and falling victim to it, between losing a couple of customers due to server downtime and losing a thousand. Combining chartbeat’s real-time responsiveness with Google’s analytics of the archive creates a powerful tool that can keep you ahead of the game.
Today Google Analytics publicly launched their api. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for developers to bring together the chartbeat api and Google Analytics api in any number of interesting mashups. You can find the Google Analytics api documentation here and the chartbeat api documentation here. We’d love to see what you can come up with!