When important things change in your life, you usually want to know as soon as possible. When you use your website as a source of income, knowing when activity changes enough to make an impact on your earnings is very important. If you use Google Analytics for tracking, you can set up standard and/or custom alerts to let you know if there are positive or negative changes occurring when you aren’t looking. Alerts also enable you to not look at your account so frequently while still maintaining some peace of mind. This post will show you the different types of automatic and custom alerts, as well as how to configure them.
Intelligence Events and Alerts in Analytics
Google Analytics intelligence reports are generated by an algorithm that measures changes in website data. Interactions that are measured include metrics like percentage of new visits, bounce rates, average visit duration, clicks, events and many other interactions. Intelligence events are already set up in Analytics, and there is no need to configure them. You can find intelligence events reports by clicking on the “intelligence events” menu in the right column of your standard reports. Here, you can view your overall events as well as daily, weekly and monthly events.
Automatic Alerts in Google Analytics
Automatic alerts are default alerts in Google Analytics intelligence reports that tell you when there have been significant changes in data. For instance, you may have a spike in visitors from a part of the world that you never had visitors from before. Your bounce rate may have increased or decreased by substantial amounts on specific pages. Alerts are designed to catch your attention so that you can investigate further. The cool thing about auto alerts is that they are set up by default, and you don’t have to do anything special. Google is already monitoring your website all the time for changes that could be of interest to you.
Automatic alerts can be helpful in a number of ways that are both positive and negative. For instance, if you run an eCommerce store online, you may notice an alert that shows you a large spike in revenue on one of your landing pages. You can then look into the alert to figure out why you are receiving so much more activity than you were before. Conversely, you can see when bad things are happening, as well. For example, maybe you run a lot of campaigns that you are tracking in Analytics. You might see an alert that traffic for one of your campaigns has dropped off rapidly. Without alerts, it could have been a long time before you noticed anything was wrong, which means lost revenue and more time to get back on track.
Custom Alerts in Google Analytics
Google measures large changes in data on your website, but you might want to know about smaller fluctuations or perhaps any fluctuation at all. For example, automatic alerts are triggered when visits for a particular page increase by more than 20%. If you wanted to know about any change in visits to a particular page, you can configure a custom alert. You can configure alerts using a number of combinations of different conditions. You can also view data for alerts just like you do with automatic alert reports.
Setting up a custom alert
- Log into your account
- At the time of this writing, there are two different ways that you can start a new alert. You can either click on a property to view its reports, intelligence -> Overview -> Custom alerts tab in the intelligence events overview report -> create new custom alert. Alternatively, you can go to the “admin” button at the top right corner of the page, click the profile and property that you want to create an alert for, then click “custom alerts” under the assets tab.
- Name your alert
- If you want to apply it to more than the profile you have already selected, pick one from the drop-down menu.
- Select how often you would like to be alerted when there is an alert to send (currently, you can select daily, weekly or monthly).
- Tell Analytics how you would like to receive your alert. You can choose email or text message (sweet!)
- Next, choose your alert conditions.
- Save your new alert.
Making Annotations for Your Alerts
If you work in an environment where there is more than one person looking at Analytics data, annotations are very helpful for describing what is happening with intelligence events. Annotations save time for others who may need to work with data by telling them information about an event right in reports. You can make annotations public or private (in terms of account users). Annotations can also be beneficial for single users who do a lot of work in Analytics. With the sheer volume of data that we as web marketers look at on a daily basis, it’s really easy to forget what we were thinking about from report to report. Annotations are saved in Analytics, and they help us remember details about data.
Setting up an annotation on intelligence reports
Start from any intelligence event report (note: you can make annotations in virtually any report in Analytics; however, they are especially helpful in intelligence events reports to explain drastic changes in data).
- Click on the little arrow underneath the graph at the top of a report.
- Click +create new annotation
- Use the current date, or change it to another date where you would like the annotation to be placed.
- Write what you want the annotation to say (160 character max)
- Select “share” or “private” for visibility
- Click “save.”
Your annotation will now be saved so it will be visible the next time you or someone else looks at the report.
Intelligence events and alerts are a great way to keep up to date on notable changes that are happening with your website. You can use automatic alerts if you are just interested in the default values Google makes account owners aware of, or you can set up custom alerts for more subtle changes. Annotations on intelligence events are also useful for noting data spikes in your reports.
How do you use custom alerts and intelligence events in Analytics? Do you find them to be a useful feature of the platform?