8 custom alerts to set up in Google Analytics

As a digital agency, we have quite a few client’s Google Analytics accounts to manage. On a daily basis, we check in on how the websites are performing, monitoring traffic, conversions, bounce rate, to name a few. You can imagine, depending on your list of clients, keeping track of their metrics day-to-day will soon add up, but there is a more efficient way to manage your analytics accounts.

Google Analytics custom alerts

A tool like Google Analytics custom alerts has the functionality to target and track more specific behavioural or e-commerce changes in the metrics. First of all, to find where you set up your custom alerts, go into your account and click into Admin. In the admin section of the account, click into Custom Alerts which should be sitting under the view admin section on the right.

Click to add a new alert and choose the name of the alert (i.e Spike in Traffic) and also the view that you would like to be alerted from. You will then need to input the criteria for your custom alert, which involves choosing the date range you would like to be alerted with from the data collected (Day, week & month).

The alert condition is where you can choose the dimensions and metrics of your custom alert, and the conditions that you want to apply – this will be different for each custom alert. There are a number of ways you can apply a condition; for example, you may want to be alerted if traffic has decreased by more than 10% compared to the same day in the previous week, but you could also choose to be alerted if traffic is less than 10 sessions or a specified value.

Once these alerts have been set up, Google sends out an email whenever a specific website-based action is triggered. Custom alerts are great because they can be scaled reasonably well and you can set up a trigger to alert multiple receivers, simply by adding other email addresses.

It might sound complicated at first, but once you get the hang of setting up custom alerts, you’ll soon learn what else you can set up notifications for. To help you stay on top of your accounts, we have put together our top 8 Google Analytics custom alerts we believe can be applied to most businesses as a top-level trigger.

1. Increase in Conversion Rate

A conversion alert will notify you when your goal conversions increase, based on a set criteria of conditions. The conversion alert can help keep track on whether your website is underperforming one week to the next. You can also set these type of triggers when a piece of content or an email is performing exceptionally well in relation to a spike in traffic.

2. Spike in Traffic

This alert will trigger when a set percentage or value increases in traffic in comparison to a specific date range. You will want to know right away if you get an important mention, or if one of your blog posts is performing well, therefore programming an alert that detects spikes in traffic is a great way to stay on top of important online events that may affect the number of users.

3. Drop in Traffic

As above, you can also alert a user when traffic sessions drop. This alert will let you know if there’s an important problem with your site that needs your attention; for example, there may be a glitch in the connection between your site and Google Analytics.

4. Spike in Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of users that are entering a page and exiting with no action taking place. This custom alert set up will enable you to be triggered if there is a spike in the bounce rate. This can include a visitor that landed on your site, bookmarked the page, and closed the browser. Depending on the business and the site, the bounce rate will differ.

5. Avg. Page Load Time

Page load time is a metric to keep an eye on. If the load time increases, you could see a spike in the bounce rate. Page speed is one of the most important factors in SEO and user experience. You could apply this alert to different devices and even segment by city depending on whether there are different content/landing pages set for different geographical areas. This will then alert you if the website speed decreases and indicates whether the content on the site is affecting the speed of the page and site overall.

6. Drop in Conversion Rate

Conversion rate tracking goes both ways. It is just as important to be alerted when there is a drop in conversions and when there is a spike. It’s possible that your site could just be having a bad day, but if there’s a 70% drop in conversion rate, it is time to investigate what is going on.

7. Spike in Social Media Sessions

Did you have success from an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter campaign? By creating an alert to track the source of traffic by social channel, and track which posts worked vs which ones didn’t, it will give you a better idea of what type of content your followers engage with the most.

8. Spike in 404 Error Page landings

A 404 error page can be set up as a goal in GA, and once it starts increasing, it can be set up in custom alerts. This type of alert will help you to understand whether users are getting frustrated on the website and how you can improve the user experience.

As you can see, a lot of our suggested custom alerts involve the tracking of goals and events which are set up on a Google Analytics account. When used intelligently, custom alerts can provide you with data on your customers and business, which can be used to then shape your entire website and marketing strategy. Not only do custom alerts prevent you from working on an assumption-led practice, but they will also ensure that you adapt your strategy based on a data-driven methodology.

Need help with custom alerts?

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Written by Charlotte Brookfield

Digital Strategy Assistant

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