Google has updated the title it uses for real time analytics in Universal Analytics 3 to read “in the last 5 minutes.” Previously this section was titled “right now” but with Google Analytics 4 rolling out, Google wanted to make the title more specific to what both are actually displaying.
In the last 5 minutes. Google’s title for the real time metrics was updated to say “in the last 5 minutes” to more accurately describe what UA3’s real time metrics actually displayed. Here is a screenshot of the new title:
Previously, it looked more like this saying “right now” – which is not really right now but in the last 5 minutes.
Why the change. We believe Google made this change in order to help communicate why UA3 real time metrics are different from GA4 real time metrics. UA3 real time metrics are based off the last five minutes whereas GA4 real time metrics are based off the last thirty minutes.
Why we care. When you see this change, don’t worry, you are not alone – we are all seeing this title change. But rest assured, the metrics in real time Universal Analytics 3 have not changed. Google is just making it crystal clear that UA3 is measuring the past 5 minutes and GA4 is measuring the past 30 minutes.
Keep in mind, both UA3 and GA4 also measure traffic differently – so even if they both looked at the past 5 minutes, it would show different numbers.
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Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.