7 essential Google Analytics custom alerts

Google Analytics custom alerts alert you to real-time data fluctuations. Here’s 7 essential Google Analytics custom alerts to supercharge digital performance.

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If you’re committed to making data-driven decisions, then you already know that staying on top of fluctuations in your Google Analytics dashboard is critical. But analysing data and building reports is only one small part of your job. You know that, as much as you know you need to stay on top of these figures, you can’t be glued to Google Analytics all the time.

But if there are sudden changes, anomalies or fluctuations in your data, you may need to know about them immediately. For example, if:

  • There’s a broken form that’s stopping people from signing up for your tool
  • There’s a sudden drop in your ads’ CTR that indicates something’s gone wrong
  • A page loading time has shot up, causing people to click off
 

These are all issues that you should know about in real-time. But unless you’re on Google Analytics 24/7 (and not getting anything else done), you probably won’t notice these issues until you build your next report.

But, fortunately, Google Analytics custom alerts address this particular pain point.

What are Google Analytics custom alerts?

The Google Analytics custom alerts feature in Google Analytics allows you to be alerted of unusual changes in your Google Analytics data by email (or text, if you’re in the US). The feature means that you don’t have to enter the Google Analytics interface every single day to check whether everything’s running okay in your data, because they’ll let you know if an intelligence event you’ve set up an alert for has been triggered.

RELATED: The most common anomalies in e-commerce

Google Analytics custom alerts are easy to set up, multiple alerts can be run at once and several stakeholders can be involved by adding multiple email addresses. Most significantly, however, Google Analytics custom alerts allow you to set up custom combinations, or more advanced segmentation, so the alerts are specific to you and your company.

How to set up Google Analytics alerts

Firstly, let’s take a look at how to set up Google Analytics custom alerts. Here’s a basic overview of how to do so:

  1. Navigate to your view
  2. Open ‘Reports
  3. Click on ‘CUSTOMISATION’ then ‘Custom Alerts’

4. Select ‘Manage customised alerts’

5. Click ‘+ NEW ALERT’

You will then be asked to fill in some configurations in order to set up your Google Analytics Custom Reports. These will be:

Alert name: Here you need to name the alert

Apply to: You will need to choose the reporting views to which you want to apply the alert

Period: Here you select the frequency at which the alert can be generated (by day, week or month)

Send me an email when this alert triggers: You need to select this checkbox if you want to receive an email when the alert is generated. If you need to add other people to email alerts, open the other email addresses menu, click ‘Add new email address’, enter the address and label, then click ‘OK’. (There is an option for mobile phone here too, if you’re in the US)

Alert conditions:

  • This applies to: Select the dimension to which the alert applies.
  • Alert me when: Select the metric to which the alert applies, the condition that generates the alerts (for example, a condition could be ‘Is less than’ or ‘Is greater than’), and enter the value for the condition (e.g., Is less than 40).

6. Click save alert

 

7 essential Google Analytics custom alerts

Now we know how it’s done, let’s take a look at some of the Google Analytics custom alerts we think you’re going to find the most helpful when it comes to tracking user behaviours and digital performance.

 

Basic Google Analytics custom alerts

 

1. Organic session decline week-over-week

This Google Analytics custom alert lets users know that there has been a significant drop in the number of visitors to a webpage. This could signal issues with campaigns or technical issues on the site that need to be resolved. We suggest setting this alert to be triggered if there is a decline of more than 20% in organic traffic, a percentage which is likely to signal a bigger issue, rather than normal fluctuations.

Here’s the configuration for an organic session decline alert:

Alert name: Organic sessions drop -20% WoW

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

2. Page 404 alert

This Google Analytics custom alert that will let you know if the number of page 404 errors has increased. This alert lets you know that you’re having technical issues with your pages which could be crashing payments, breaking links or causing users to click off your webpage. Since a certain number of 404 errors is always inevitable, we set this alert to be triggered if there’s more than 10% increase, week-on-week, a figure that’s likely to indicate broader problems with your webpage.

Here’s the configuration for a page 404 alert:

Alert name: +10% 404 Increase (WoW)

Apply to: Production (Filtered view)

Period: Weekly or daily (this 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

3. Increase in social media sessions

This particular Google Analytics custom alert lets you know if there’s been a sudden surge in sessions from social media. It’s helpful for tracking the impact of social media marketing and the effect of social media campaigns. We have set this alert to be triggered when there are more than 100 users clicking through from across your social media, but depending on the number you normally get through you might want to make that number bigger or smaller.

Here’s the configuration for a social media surge alert:

Alert name: Social media surge +100

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, if necessary, add any extra channels you want to track)

Condition 2:

  • Alert me when: Session
  • Condition: Increases more than
  • Value: 100
  • Compared to: Previous day

 

4. No transactions recorded

This Google Analytics custom alert will let you know if there have been no transactions on your website the day before. This might be because of tracking breaking, or another bigger issue with your digital performance – but it’s best to know as soon as possible so you understand the issue before you lose any revenue. We’ve set this alert to go off if there’s been a day without transactions but, depending on what you’re selling, this alert work better if it alerts you after a week without transactions.

Here’s the configuration for a no transactions recorded alert:

Alert Name: No daily transactions

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

 

More advanced Google Analytics custom alerts

 

5. Low conversion rate

This Google Analytics custom alert will let you know if your conversion rate is lower than usual on a certain day. In order to trigger Google Analytics alerts for conversion rates, you must first set up a Google Analytics Goal with a goal of what you consider to be a conversion in your funnel.

Here’s the configuration for a low conversion rate alert:

Alert name: Low conversion rate

Apply to: 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)

RELATED: How to choose marketing KPIs

 

6. High bounce rate on paid traffic

This Google Analytics custom alert is triggered when there is a particularly high bounce rate on paid traffic. This could mean there’s technical issues with the page, or a problem with marketing messaging or campaigns. We’ve set it to be a bounce rate increasing by more than 10% day-on-day, signalling that there is an issue that needs to be addressed that’s significantly changing customer behaviour.

Here’s the configuration for high bounce rate.

Alert Name: Bounce rate on paid traffic > 10%

Apply To: 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

 

7. Low revenue alert

Rather than just charting conversions or transactions, this Google Analytics custom alert lets users know that revenue has been unexpectedly low during one day (or week, depending on which you wish to track). This could mean any number of things, from technical issues to campaigns being paused. We’ve set this alert to be triggered if revenue is below 1000 on a certain day, but this is unique to every business, so should be set to whatever your company’s low revenue threshold is.

Here’s the configuration for 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)

 

Google Analytics custom alerts: The drawbacks

Google Analytics alerts are great for measuring a variety of analytics metrics, and certainly provide a solution to having to check the Google Analytics platform all the time. But all these alerts are static and your business most certainly is not.

As your organisation evolves, so do its metrics. This means that Google Analytics custom alerts quickly become irrelevant, and to remain effective must be adjusted regularly. For example, revenue will (hopefully) go up month-on-month, and alerts will have to be constantly altered to keep up.

This need for constant adjustment means that Google Analytics custom alerts aren’t as effective for medium-to-high growth businesses. If your company is data-centric and fast-growing, rather than Google Analytics custom alerts making things easier, you’ll find you constantly need to re-adjust them. This might even take a team of analysts to keep up. Something that gets labour and cost intensive very quickly. This is before you even chart and visualise data, something else

What if there was a better way?

 

AI and machine learning: A better alternative to Google Analytics custom alerts

Monitoring metrics, KPIs and data manually using static alerts is becoming increasingly inefficient. It’s led a situation where 60-73% of data goes unused for analytics because it’s simply too time-consuming, difficult and expensive to keep track of it.

But today, there’s a better option: AI and machine learning.

With machine learning algorithms, KPI analysis can take place in moments without the need for lots of data analysts number crunching. And it can simply alert you to anomalies in your data and the metrics that need attention, without the need for setting up and adjusting Google Analytics custom alerts.

That’s exactly what we do at Millimetric. Among other features, our AI platform integrates with all your data sources and provides you with automatic alerts of any data that’s behaving unusually, helping you identify digital performance opportunities. It also lets you investigate the root cause of anomalies and compare metrics across dimensions.

Save time, money and manpower when, instead of hiring a team of analysts or investing thousands in BI tools, you use Millimetric’s KPI analysis and anomaly detection platform to understand exactly what’s going on in your data. Enjoy straightforward alerts without any setup or hassle.

Start your free trial today.

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