Google Analytics Intelligence Custom Alerts

PushON | November 17th 2009

In a Friday 13th launch, Google officially released a new feature for Google Analytics called ‘Intelligence’. Although an unlucky date for some, this new feature has had some excellent feedback, and is set to be the next must-use component of Google Analytics. So what does it do?

Promoted as a way to have “24-hour a day access to a dedicated assistant who is focused exclusively on your site’s analytics”, Intelligence is aimed at making the job of a web master much easier. The basic premise of this technology is that an ‘alert’ is triggered whenever abnormalities occur in the data that is being monitored. This could be a significant change in bounce rate, spike in new visitors, or your page views increasing by 50% – the alerts are comprehensive.

Google Analytics Intelligence

By default, Google Analytics Intelligence creates alerts whenever there is a significant change in data patterns, but these alerts can be customised in a few different ways. The first, and easiest way, is to alter the ‘alert sensitivity’ sliding bar which is the indicator of how often alerts should be triggered. High sensitivity results in less alerts, and vice-versa.

The second option is custom alerts. Below is a quick setup guide.

1. Go to the Intelligence page and click ‘Create a Custom Alert’.

Google Analytics Intelligence - Options Panel 1

2. Enter a relevant name for the alert, e.g “10% Bounce Rate Increase”.
3. Leave the ‘Apply to’ field alone, unless you want to apply the alert to multiple analytics profiles
4. Select which period you want the alert to be relevant to. Either ‘day’, ‘week’ or ‘month’.
5. IMPORTANT: Tick the ‘Email me…’ checkbox if you want to be emailed when the alert is triggered. Now move onto the next options.

Google Analytics Intelligence - Options Panel 2

6. Select which traffic source the alert will be applied to. In this example I’m using “All traffic” – which is self explanatory.
7. For the second drop-down menu, you are selecting which metric the alert will focus on. In this example I have used ‘Bounce Rate’, which then generates fields to its right hand side. I’ve selected ‘% increases by more than’ then ‘10%’ compared to ‘previous week’.

The purpose of these custom alerts is not to do your job for you, but helps to easily identify any abnormalities in traffic without having to manually review the data. Intelligence cannot tell you why these things happened, but allows you identify the areas you need to improve upon (or see how well you are doing, depending on the metrics!). An advantage of this new Google Analytics feature is that it has a back-log of alert data, meaning you can see all of the alerts that have happened in the past.

How will you be using Google Analytics Intelligence?