Get Real-time Web Site Analytics with the Chartbeat API

Andres Ferrate
May. 27 2009, 02:09AM EDT

If you've ever wanted to know what's happening with your web site as it's happening, you may want to take a look at real-time web site analytics provider Chartbeat. It's a new and very slick service that provides a rich set of real-time analytics. They offer a range of useful tools like their Real-time Dashboard (shown below), traffic alerts (ex: get an email if you've got an above average burst of site visitors), and their API (our chartbeat API Profile).

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Given that the best known name in this space is Google Analytics (who also have a new API), the folks at chartbeat are sponsoring a new mashup contest that encourages developers to use both the Chartbeat API and the Google Analytics API. Why both? Because, as the Chartbeat team point out, the services can be complementary:

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.

The Chartbeat mashup contest runs through June 26 and offers an Amazon Kindle as first prize.

Every legitimate entry to the competition gets chartbeat shwag in the form of a chartbeat t-shirt.  And for the best of the best, we have something even better:

  • First prize: an Amazon Kindle and the chance to pitch to and get business feedback from John Borthwick, founder of Betaworks.
  • Two runner up prizes: a Flip Mino HD

Per chartbeat's instructions, mashups should utilize both the chartbeat API and the Google Analytics API (our Google Analytics API Profile). Interested developers should also check out the API documentation available at http://chartbeat.pbworks.com/ as well as the chartbeat Google Group. Note that first you will need to create API keys and also be an active subscriber of the chartbeat.com service. The RESTful API currently provides real-time and historical results in JSON format, which makes using the data simple and easy on the client side.

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Andres Ferrate

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