Custom Alerts in Google Analytics

With 78 standard reports in Google Analytics it can be time consuming to keep a close eye on all of them especially if you have multiple websites to manage and assess their analytics. Fortunately Google Analytics offers custom alerts to notify you if there is a significant change to key metrics so you can take action if necessary.

Custom alerts for Analytics

How Custom Alerts Works

To set up custom alerts you will need to have administrative access at the ‘View’ level. Click on the ‘Admin’ cog icon in the bottom left of the screen and you will find it at the ‘View’ level under the ‘Personal Tools & Assets’.

Click the red ‘+New Alert’ button and name the alert such as ‘Traffic Increase Alert’. You will then need to specify the views it applies to – the one you are on and any additional ones in your account. You also need to specify the period qualifying for the alert – day, week or month and check a box to ‘send me an email when this alert triggers’ and add any additional email addresses as well as the account holder’s email.

Set Alert Conditions

The Alert Condition section is split into two sections – what the alert applies to and when to alert you. Start by selecting the dimension you want the alert to address. This covers seven categories – all traffic, custom segments, users, acquisition, behaviour, e-commerce or systems. For example you could choose the dimension ‘Medium’ that ‘contains’ the channel type ’email’.

Now you will need to configure the alert criteria for email users. For this example we will leave the default ‘Sessions’ as the metric and choose from six change statuses including – is less then, is greater than, decreases by more than, increases by more than, % decreases by more than and % increases by more than. For our example we will choose the last option – percentage increase by more than. We will also set our change value as 20%.

There are many useful scenarios to track including spikes and drops in traffic, conversion against previous periods, bounce rate changes or error pages.

For an ecommerce website any significant change in revenue is a critical metric to keep on top of. Set a custom alert based on a ‘day’ period that applies to ‘All Traffic’ (unless you want to isolate a particular inbound medium). Now select the metric ‘Revenue’ and choose whether you want to be alerted to a drop or increase in revenue and then select a percentage threshold such as 10 or 20% and save the alert.

Another useful custom alert that will be of particular interest to your technical team is error reporting. In order to track this name your alert something like ‘404 Error 10% Increase’ with a Daily frequency. Your dimension should be ‘Page Title’ that contains – ‘Page not found’ (or whatever your custom 404 error page has for its page title). Set the alert to inform you when ‘Sessions’ has the condition of ‘% increases by more than’ and a value 10% that is compared to the ‘Previous Day’.

Plan carefully the key reports and information you need to be kept aware of and who needs to also be alerted to the good and bad changes to those thresholds.