This feature is only available in the Pro version of Independent Analytics.
An Active Visitor is someone who viewed a page on your site within the last five minutes.
This method has its pros and cons, so we’d like to explain these details so you can understand this metric clearly.
How Active Visitors are counted
When someone arrives at your site, they will show up as an Active Visitor for the next five minutes. The drawback to this method is that if they leave in thirty seconds, they’ll still be counted for the full five minutes, and if they read the same page for ten minutes, they won’t be counted as Active after the first five minutes. If that same visitor views another page, they’ll be counted as an Active Visitor again for the next five minutes.
While we could “ping” visitors every ten seconds to see if they are still on the site, this would have huge performance costs. Put simply, each page view could take the resources of 10+ views, eating up a considerable amount of server resources, all just to get a more accurate reading in the Real-time dashboard.
Our method of counting Active Visitors isn’t perfect, but it has zero additional impact on your site’s performance. We use data that’s already been recorded, so it doesn’t take any additional bandwidth or slow down your pages.
Funnily enough, this is also how Google Analytics counts active visitors, so we figured it must be accurate enough for most folks 😉