Chartbeat: too much sizzle, not enough steak (yet)

For many years, we’ve been wondering about our sites: who is there, what are they doing, how long does the page take to load for them, etc, etc. In short: the whole real time kit and kaboodle. Actions, pageviews, load speed and bottlenecks…this is the view many have been dying to see about their website for a long time. If you haven’t heard of Chartbeat before, chances are you’ve been living in a cave. Noted uber blogger and investor Fred Wilson has been using his blog as a live demo of the service for a while now.

So today, we installed it on FunAdvice to see what would happen. A few hours later…I’m not impressed. The stats are interesting but it doesn’t do what a great analytics product should do: give me information and translate that into *action*, eg, tell me something I can do to make my buisness better as a result of all these charts, graphics and things. Chartbeat does none of those. Sure, the gauge is cool…I get to see how many “live” connections the site has with the audience (more than I’d have guessed)…but nothing is aggregated, segmented or presented in a way that says, “if you do XYZ, you get ABC”…that’s what I’m missing and for some reason, I thought chartbeat would give it to me.

The holy grail of analytics, the steak that should come after the sizzle is pretty straightforward to anybody who runs a website:

  • Give me real time data
  • Summarize it into meaningful user metrics
  • Empower me to translate those user metrics into meaningful business insight

That’s all. Once empowered with a report, chart or graph that says, “your lift would be XYZ if you do ABC…” or “your server load is 200% higher than other sites, if it was less, you’d get more activity”…or anything, I’d be thrilled – so would you. The product would sell itself and nobody could stop it. Alas, I think the novelty will only last a few days and then we’ll be pulling the plug. Unless of course, you can suggest a way that makes this all worthwhile and tell us what we’re missing in all this?