Google Discover now available in the Real-Time Dashboard
As publishers increasingly see referral traffic from Google products other than organic search, one source that we’ve been monitoring closely is Google Discover. While previously the best way to see this traffic was in Google Search Console, we know how valuable it is for our customers to see all of their traffic in one dashboard, in real time, so we will now break out Google Discover traffic in the Real-Time Dashboard. With this update, users can better understand content performance across even more of the Google Search ecosystem.
Currently, Google’s own service Google Search Console only provides data on traffic up through the previous day. Now, using a proprietary estimation approach, Chartbeat will be able to help sites see which content is trending on Google Discover versus other Google Search sources.
What is Google Discover and why is it unique?
Google Discover is a feed of articles curated by Google according to an individual user’s search and device data that appears in a few different places. One place is in the Chrome app on mobile devices when you open a new tab, and another is in the Google Search App as a tab called “Discover.” This is different from Google Search because it is not appearing as a response to a specific query – Google is serving articles to users based on their interests and behavior.
How it works
Chartbeat’s Data Science team has delved deep into referrer data to understand how Google is categorizing visitors coming through Google Discover. In their investigation, they used information on a page’s referrer, browser, and operating system, as well as information extracted from a page’s user agent field, to determine which traffic is most likely to be driven from Google Discover. While this estimate of Google Discover traffic will never match Google Search Console’s values exactly, it will correspond to within a high degree of accuracy.
Bonnie Ray, Chartbeat’s Data Science lead, states that “Although we were initially convinced that Google Discover traffic could not be reliably differentiated from Google organic search traffic, we continued to explore every tidbit of information captured by Chartbeat’s tracker to see how it might help us tease out differences between organic search traffic and traffic labeled by Google as Discover traffic, ultimately coming up with a method that we feel is accurate enough to provide value to our customers.”
Why it’s useful
As a relatively new traffic source for publishers, there is less visibility into the inner workings of Google Discover, leaving editorial teams largely in the dark about which articles might perform well on the platform as compared to other traffic sources or even organic search. Having access to real-time Discover data (in addition to tracking it historically), will give publishers more context on what content is more likely to trend on Discover and unlock even more value from their content data.