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Why You Should Add Custom Alerts to Google Analytics

We all have days when we’re busy with back-to-back meetings, responding to a mountain of emails, or attending to some other urgent work. It’s easy to forget to check Google Analytics (GA) to keep a tab on key performance indicators (KPIs) for your ecommerce business. On one of those days, you could experience a sudden drop in website traffic, orders, or revenue. There might be a spike in bounce and exit rates by a significant percentage, which negatively impacts your bottom line. Or you may check GA regularly during the week but might not be as diligent on weekends.

As a marketer, it often becomes difficult to keep an eye on every channel’s performance or any metric fluctuation without spending an inordinate amount of time. It would be great if we had an automated way to receive notifications when such fluctuations happen.

Do we have a feature in Google Analytics to get notified immediately of any major fluctuations?

Google Analytics has a useful feature to help you address such risks called Custom Alerts. These are events that can be configured in the GA platform. You can set up a condition for any sudden fluctuation in any important metrics and have a message sent to the provided email addresses. This will allow you and your organization be proactive rather than reactive to any sudden changes in performance.

How to Create Custom Alerts in Google Analytics

Custom Alerts can be created in Admin > View> Custom alerts> +New custom alert

You can give the alert an appropriate name and apply it to any views. You can choose between three alert periods (Day, Week, or Month) and apply any condition. (Refer to the below screenshot.)

Examples of Custom Alerts

Huge Change in Traffic: There might a day when your website traffic is down and no one has noticed. This will be reflected in the drop in traffic in your reports. A Custom Alert can be set up to trigger when traffic is down by a certain percentage (20%, 30%, 50% – a threshold can be set based on history and experience) to help you identify this immediately. An email will be sent as soon as the change in traffic crosses a set mark. A similar alert can be set up when there is a sudden surge in traffic. An alert for this can help you identify any other changes.

Drop in Transactions: An alert to identify a sudden decline in transactions can help you identify if there is an issue with the payment gateway or checkout page on your site. It could just be related to seasonality or a change in advertising strategy, but alerts will help keep us honest.

Apart from the above scenarios, it might also make sense to add alerts for changes in Conversion Rate (could be website-related or channel strategy changes), Bounce Rate (website issues, relevance, UX-related), and Average Order Value (could be related to a specific merchandising shift or any promotional changes).

KPIs differ significantly depending on the type of industry, so make sure to list the ones relevant to your business and set them up accordingly. Below are a few examples that can be used in alerts.

Custom Alerts can also be created for any specific campaign or keyword targets. For example, we could have a campaign created for a promotion or discount with a specific landing page that just runs for a week, and we want to monitor it on daily basis. We can create alerts for that particular campaign, as well.

Take advantage of this valuable feature in Google Analytics to stay proactive in monitoring the metrics that are most important to your business performance. If you’d like additional guidance in implementing Custom Alerts or any other advanced features in GA, we encourage you to check out our analytics solutions for ecommerce businesses.