April 15th 2020

What are Custom Alerts in Google Analytics

Custom alerts are bespoke notifications set up in Google Analytics to help you monitor important changes to your data, so you don’t have to perform daily manual checks. Custom alerts are set up at the view level of your Google Analytics account. Once an alert is set up, you will recieve an email when the alert conditions trigger. A custom alert email will have the following:

  • The date of the alert
  • The analytics property number
  • The property view the alert is for
  • The name of the alert. Example: sessions loss alert
Example of Google Analytics Custom Alert email

Which Google Analytics Custom Alerts Should I Set?

There are no hard rules on what you can set custom alerts on, basically, you can set alerts on whatever you want. We advise clients to set alerts on at least the following: metrics that have an immediate impact on KPI’s, promotion campaign and site use I.e. Increase in 404s or 404 pages viewed.  It is important to set these alerts so issues can be fixed or investigated as soon as they occur instead of waiting for it to be highlighted in the weekly/monthly report when revenue, sign-ups or downloads have been lost.

Here are some examples of the most used custom alerts

  • Session loss
  • Increase in 404s
  • Increase in 404 pages viewed
  • Decrease in traffic YoY
  • Increase in bounce rate
  • Decrease in page views
  • Slow loading page
  • Drop in conversion rate
  • Drop in completions for core goals
  • No data

Step by Step Guide to Setting up a Custom Alert.

Creating a custom alert is easy. The first things to outline is a list of critical business/website function metrics and success measurements for those metrics. This will help you decide which segments and dimensions to condition your alert to. Now you can start creating your alert.

1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account and go to the view on the account you want to create alerts for.

2. Click on the customisation icon and navigate to custom alerts. Alternatively, you can click on your admin profile and navigate to create a custom alert.

How to navigate to custom alerts on Google Analytics

3. From custom alerts, navigate to the manage custom alert button

custom alert button

4. Click on create new alert

New alert button on Google Analytics

5. Choose a name for your alert.  Ensure you use naming conventions that are easy to remember and can be understood by anyone who has access to the account. The key is to be as descriptive as possible.

6. Specify which data set and views the alerts should be applied to. If you have several accounts linked to the same email address all of these will be listed in the views drop down so be aware when selecting this.

Selecting a view while creating a new custom alert on Google Analytics

7. Use the period drop-down to select the frequency for the alerts. This could be day, week or month. If you choose weekly, it creates alerts based on weekly changes to the conditions you have set.

8. Remember to check the send me an email when this alert trigger box. You can also select other email address associated with the account to send the alert to. Very useful for when you are out of the office.

Google Analytics check box for send me an email when this alert triggers

9. Now set your alert conditions. Decide which traffic segments and dimensions you want to set conditions for.

Set traffic conditions for alert when creating a custom alert on Google Analytics

10. You can filter your data by custom segments, user type, channels, behaviour, e-commerce metrics and technology. This is great as you can be very granular when setting this up. Select what conditions should trigger the alert usually (decreases or increases), then chose the value of the condition. This is a numeric value.

Google Analytics drop down for custom alert conditions

11. Save your alert.

Managing your alerts is easy. Follow the same steps to create a new alert and you will see the list of all previous alerts. You can then review, delete and update alerts as required.

We hope this article helps you save time on manual checks.