How to Use Google Analytics Alerts

Google Analytics alerts let you know about unusual behaviour in your metrics. We look at how to use their alerts, and introduce you to a great Google Analytics alternative

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Let’s start by simply asking: When it comes to our data analytics, why do we want to be alerted?

Well, alerts prevent us from having to check in with our data constantly. While we love knowing what’s going on in our data, most of us don’t want to have to refresh our analytics dashboards over and over again to see what’s new. Of course, there’s always going to be data enthusiasts who love their data, charts and analytics, but even the most data-centric of us need alerts because we simply can’t be everywhere, all the time.

This is why Google Analytics alerts come in incredibly handy. They let us know when something unusual happens in our data that we need to look at.

 

 

Why use Google Analytics custom alerts

Google Analytics alerts can be set to trigger when an alert condition that you’ve set up is met. Let’s look at a scenario where Google Analytics alerts can be helpful for understanding your data analytics.

An ecommerce manager at ABC company logs into her Google Analytics account to look over the previous day’s performance, only to see that revenue has visibly plummeted. She only sees this after the incident has occurred because she didn’t have Google Analytics alerts set up to notify her of any issues regarding changes in revenue. Revenue is merely one parent metric that she has to look at in order to accurately prevent revenue dips, and since she needs to look at hundreds of metrics to make sure that all is ok, it’s easy to miss anomalies in the data like this.

Here is where Google Analytics alerts can help. By setting up custom alerts; analytics users can rest assured that if something goes wrong, their static alerts will be able to notify them.

If you too feel overwhelmed by the amount of data you need to analyse, and are struggling to constantly check and monitor your metrics, Google Analytics Alerts will be a gamechanger. Let’s go over how to set up analytics alerts and the key metrics that you need to set up so that you don’t skip a beat going forward.

 

 

How to Create Custom Google Analytics Alerts (Step by Step)

Step 1: Make sure you’re logged into Google Analytics

Step 2: Go to the admin option

Step 3. After clicking the “Admin” option, you’ll see settings columns. Go to View column and go to the Custom Alerts option below Personal Tools and Assets. Click Custom Alerts.

Step 4. After clicking “Custom Alerts”, you’ll see your “custom alerts” overview along with the New Alert button. There will be no items in the list if you haven’t created any custom alerts. Click “New Alert” for a new custom alert.

Step 5. A new page where you can add a new custom alert will be shown.

Substeps:

Step 1: Alert name – Enter an alert name i.e Revenue dropped

Step 2: Apply to – If you have more than 1 Analytics property, choose the account from the apply to option.

Step 3: Period –You can select how often you want to be alerted in the Period option. You can choose by Day, Week, or Month. If you choose Day, it creates alerts based on daily changes in traffic or interactions.

Click Send me an email when this alert triggers. To send alerts to other members of your team add their email addresses from the “also include” option.

Step 4: Alert Conditions – In the Alert Conditions, you can set up the following:

  • This applies to: You can choose for it to apply to All Traffic or specific dimensions.
  • Alert me when: Apply the alert to a specific metric.
  • Condition: Condition options include Is less than, Is greater than, Decreases by more than, % Increases by more than, etc. If you aren’t sure about the average value of any metric, you can choose % Increases/ Decreases by more than option.
  • Value: Enter the condition value.
  • Compared to: If % Increases/ Decreases by more than is chosen, you can then choose to compare it to the previous day, week, or year.

Once you have entered all of the necessary information click Save Alert, and hopefully, by now, you have successfully added an alert for one metric/dimension combination.

 

 

Useful Google Analytics custom alerts

Here, we’re going to map out some useful custom alerts that are essential along with some more advanced alerts.

 

Essentials

 

Page 404 Alert

Alert Name: +10% 404 Increase (WoW) – xyz.com

Apply To: Production (Filtered View) and

Period: Weekly or Daily (depends on your preference, business model, frequency etc)

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to: Page Title                    
  • Condition: Contains
  • Value: Not Found (Title Tag displayed when 404 error is returned on site)

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Session
  • Condition: % increases more than
  • Value: 10%
  • Compared to: Previous Week

 

Organic Session Decline Week-Over-Week

Alert Name: Organic Sessions Drop -20% WoW (xyz.com)

Apply To: Production (Filtered View)

Period: Weekly

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to: Medium
  • Condition: Contains
  • Value: Organic

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Session
  • Condition: % decreases more than
  • Value: 20%
  • Compared to: Previous Week

 

No Transactions Recorded

Alert Name: No Daily Transactions (xyz.com)

Apply To: Production (Filtered View)

Period: Day

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to: All Traffic

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Transactions
  • Condition: is less than
  • Value: 1

 

Social Media Surge

Alert Name: Social Media Surge +100 (xyz.com)

Apply To: Production (Filtered View)

Period: Day

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to: Medium
  • Condition: Matches Regular Expression
  • Value: twitter|facebook|instagram|reddit (this is the regular expression format for social media sources add according to the ones you want to track)

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Session
  • Condition: increases more than
  • Value: 100
  • Compared to: Previous Day

 

Advanced Alerts

 

High Bounce Rate on Paid Traffic

Alert Name: Bounce rate on Paid traffic > 10%

Apply To: xyz.com – Master

Period: Day

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to:  Google Ads: Ad Group
  • Condition: Matches Exactly
  • Value: “ad group name”

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Bounce Rate
  • Condition: % increases more than
  • Value: 10
  • Compared to: Previous Day

 

Low Revenue Alert

Alert Name: Low Revenue

Apply To: Master

Period: Day

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to:  All Traffic

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Revenue
  • Condition: is less than
  • Value: 1000 (or your business’ low revenue threshold)

 

Low Conversion Rate

Note: In order to trigger alerts for conversion rates, you must have set up a Google Analytics Goal with its goal being either a purchase or what you consider to be a conversion in your funnel.

Alert Name: Low Conversion Rate

Apply To: xyz.com – Master

Period: Day

Alert Conditions

Condition 1:

  • This applies to:  All Traffic

Condition 2:

  • Alert Me When: Purchase (Goal 3 Conversion Rate)
  • Condition: is less than
  • Value: 1 (i.e your business’ low conversion threshold)

 

Google Analytics alerts: Drawbacks and limitations

Google Analytics alerts most definitely make our life easier, as we saw from the above, there is a multitude of static alerts that can be set for a variety of analytics metrics.

BUT, Google Analytics alerts are all static. And your business most definitely is not.

As your business or organization evolves, so do its metrics. This causes static alerts to quickly become irrelevant to the current business structure and so they must be adjusted constantly to prevent false alerts. Another good example of this is revenue. Let’s say you’re in month 1, your business is new and your revenue is low, so your alerts will be set accordingly. But, as your business (hopefully) grows you will have to set your low revenue alert to be higher and higher, making your Google Analytics alerts way less effective and more time consuming. This is the main drawback of static alerts.

 

 

If you run a relatively low-growth, low-impact business with a finite number of metrics (under 6) to track; that are relatively stable and static then yes, by all means, set up alerts.

But if you are part of a data-centric, fast-growing, and metrically dense business, then you need your own team of analysts just to deal with the constant adjusting and tweaking of the analytics alert rules.  This can get very pricey and unrealistic very quickly.

On top of all that cost, even if you have the team of analysts constantly tweaking the alerts, what do you do with the data you’ve been alerted to? You still need to chart and visualize the data and try to make sense of it all.  Even after visualizing everything, tracking metrics and conducting data analysis, the fact that you’ve relied on manpower opens you up to a host of biases and human errors.

 

A solution to this madness

Metric monitoring with static analytics alerts done manually is an approach that’s becoming increasingly inefficient. As more data flows in, there are more metrics, and therefore more rules, more alerts, more analysts, more costs. Is there a better way?

Yes there is.

Today with machine-learning algorithms, automated and constant metric tracking is a reality. And that’s what companies like Millimetric.ai have set out to do.

One of Millimetric’s main features is that it can automatically alert you to pertinent changes in your metrics. More importantly, these automatic alerts aren’t for a specific group of metrics you predefined, the alerts are for all your metrics across multiple data sources.  

 

 

Say good-bye to the team of analysts you’ve employed to tweak rules, analyze your data and derive insight from it. Now Millimetric does all of that for you.

Additionally, because Millimetric’s data analysis is done by machine learning, not human, the types of biases and human errors that occur when you employ a team of analysts to do this data analysis instantly disappears too.

 

What are you waiting for?

Instead of hiring a slew of analysts and buying thousands of dollars worth of BI tools, try Millimetric instead and reap the benefits of automatic alerts, without the hassle of having to create and manage them.

Millimetric.ai creates thresholds and rules automatically from your business’ historical data and automatically alerts you to any anomalous activity. To put it simply, Millimetric is the opposite of static: It’s variable, just like your business.

Get started with Millimetric today!

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