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How to Effectively Monitor Your Performance Using Google Analytics Custom Alerts and Analytics Intelligence

Monitoring your analytics is a vital, unending task. You need to be aware of changes to your performance as they occur, and be able to find relevant information as quickly as possible. Luckily, Google Analytics custom alerts and their Analytics Intelligence tool allow you to stay in control.

Google Analytics Custom Alerts

What are Custom Alerts in Google Analytics?

Custom alerts are used to notify you through email when any condition you choose is met. Whether it’s used to see if a marketing campaign was successful or to let you know about a significant drop in traffic, Google Analytics custom alerts will let you know immediately.

How to Create a New Custom Alert

The steps to creating a new alert are fairly simple. The basic process is as follows:

  1. In Google Analytics, open your view
  2. Open Reports
  3. Select Customisation, followed by Custom Alerts
  4. Select Manage customised alerts
  5. Click + NEW ALERT

How to create a custom alert in Google Analytics

Once you reach this stage, you will need to fill out the following:

Alert name

Enter an alert name that is very clear, as this will be included in the subject of the email notifying you of the alert when it is triggered.

Apply to

Choose which reporting views to apply the alert to. By default, Google Analytics will preselect the current view, but you can apply the alert to multiple views.

Period

Choose how often this alert is generated, either daily, weekly or monthly. 

Send me an email when this alert triggers

Select this box to be notified outside of Google Analytics. If other people need to receive this email, select the other email addresses menu, then add new email address, enter the relevant information and hit OK.

Alert Conditions: This applies to:

Choose the dimension that the alert applies to.

Alert Conditions: Alert me when:

Choose the metric that the alert applies to, what condition type generates the alert, and at what point.

Hit Save Alert, and your new alert will be in place.

Types of Helpful Alerts to Get You Started

There are many possible Google Analytics custom alerts that can be set up, depending on the needs of your company. An important alert to create is when sessions of all sorts drop to zero. This will allow you to quickly become aware of significant issues with pages on your website, and allow you to fix them as quickly as possible. 

Other broad-reaching alerts include revenue or orders for a certain product decreasing by large percentages, spikes in traffic and goal completions, as well as spikes in conversions from syndicated content and referrals. Having these alerts set up will allow you to be aware of any and all significant changes as they occur, and will help you to act accordingly.

Google Analytics IntelligenceGoogle Analytics Custom Alerts and Analytics Intelligence

What is Analytics Intelligence?

Analytics Intelligence utilises machine learning to help users to interpret their data. You can ask questions in plain English and receive quick answers, navigate quickly to reports, detect anomalies in your data, and more. 

How to Access Analytics Intelligence

It is very simple to access Analytics Intelligence. After opening your view in Google Analytics, all you have to do is open Reports and click the Insights button, located in the upper right corner. 

Here, you can view insights from Google Analytics which have been selected as data you may be interested in. You can also use the search bar for a number of purposes. These are asking questions, accessing reports, and detecting anomalies.

Asking Questions

The search bar allows you to ask questions in plain English in relation to your data. You can choose from recommended questions in the Insight on Demand section, or search your own. 

When completing your own search, it is important that you format it correctly. There are a number of factors to consider, but by being as specific as possible, you will avoid many issues. 

Asking questions which are based around the concept of “why” and looking forward in time will not work, seeing as the Analytics Intelligence is mostly for bringing up data you already have. The language features are also not very specialised, so marketing jargon will not be recognised. 

Your best bet is to use specific language, remove unnecessary words, and give feedback so that the tool will learn which information is useful to you. If in doubt, Google Analytics has resources detailing what types of questions you can ask, and how to go about wording them. 

Google Analytics Intelligence Questions

If you follow this, and keep an eye out for inconsistencies, asking questions can be a valuable way to quickly find the information you need.

Accessing Reports

If you would prefer to just look at your own saved or custom reports, then the search function in Analytics Intelligence can also help. Google Analytics places reports as the top search result in this feature, making it a quick way to access the correct reports. This makes it an indispensable tool in meetings by allowing you to find the data you need fast.

Google Analytics Intelligence Questions Search

Detecting AnomaliesAnomalies in Google Analytics Custom Alerts and Analytics Intelligence

Using the question feature shown earlier, you can ask about any fluctuations in data using Google Analytics’ Anomaly Detection. Asking questions such as “Any anomalies in the number of users last week?” can help you discover a wide range of issues. 

Unfortunately, you will not be able to use this function immediately if you are a new user. For daily anomalies, 90 days of previous data is required, while weekly anomalies need 32 weeks of data. Once you have this, the Anomaly Detection can be invaluable, as not only does it draw your attention to various issues, but can also give basic recommendations as to what action should be taken.

The Importance and Limitations of Analytics Intelligence

Analytics Intelligence is an essential tool, due to the many ways in which it can help. Whether you’re looking for faster retrieval of reports, an easier way to find information or a way to detect anomalies in your data, the tool will be beneficial to you. 

There are some limitations to this feature, including the precision required to return an accurate search result, the language barrier of this feature only working in English, and the lack of advice and future projection. However, in overcoming these, you will be able to find valuable information through a wide range of methods. This makes the Analytics Intelligence tool a vital feature of Google Analytics.

Benoit Weber

Benoit Weber

IMWTer since 2015, Ben is now head of analytics. Specialised in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Google Datastudio, he worked with leading online brands including Gumtree, Expedia and Open Colleges. He is passionate about data integrity, governance and tracking.

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