Using Alerts to Get More Value from Google Analytics
As a small business owner, or any size business owner for that matter, time is precious. There is too little of it in a day. And even if you have Google Analytics for your website (and sadly, too many businesses don’t), there’s honestly not a whole lot of time to sit around and really look at the data.
Well, here’s some good news—there is a way to stay on top of the data without looking at it in detail every day. Custom alerts! If I had to guess, far too few business owners take advantage of Google Analytics Intelligence Events. With this tool, you can get alerted when there is a significant variation from the norm in website traffic and usage.
Take Advantage of Google Analytics Intelligence Events
While you want to be careful of going crazy and spamming yourself with unnecessary alerts, this Analytics tool can be extremely helpful when used right.
Let’s start with some basic info. There are two types of alerts you can use:
- Automatic: As the name suggests, these are automatically generated when there is a drastic change in site usage or traffic (spike in conversions, drop in organic traffic, etc.). You must log into Analytics to see these alerts.
- Custom: Custom alerts take things to another level. You can choose which metrics are most important to your business and create alerts for those—you can actually set up email notifications. Want to know if Facebook visits have dropped by a certain percentage in a given day, week, or month? Want to know when your website traffic drops down to zero? You can easily do this with custom alerts.
Although every company is a little different, most would argue that must-have alerts for any business are a spike or drop in overall traffic and a spike or drop in goal completions. But there is so, so much more you can do with Google Analytics Intelligence Events.
4 Examples of Google Analytics Alerts
You can create an alert for almost anything! Here are a few examples that go beyond the basic that you may not have considered:
- Revenue drops: If you have an e-commerce site, you may want to monitor revenue. You can set up an alert for revenue drops by a certain percentage day over day or week over week. This can help you quickly take control of a potential problem so your business doesn’t suffer.
- Social media visit spikes and drops: If you’re investing a lot in social media, you can set up alerts so you’re notified when there is an increase in visits from a social platform or traffic drops by a certain percentage. Facebook is used by business across nearly all industries, but remodeling companies may also want alerts for more design-specific sites, such as Houzz.
- Mobile visit bounce rate increases: You can set up an alert for an increase in the bounce rate for mobile visitors by a certain percentage in a given day or week. This can help you determine if there’s a problem with the mobile version of your site—it is particularly useful for HVAC companies, plumbers, and anyone else in a need-based industry, where people are more likely to be searching on a phone for urgent, fast service.
- Gallery page traffic or usage anomalies: For remodelers and other businesses in the photo-centric industry, where the sales process is longer, gallery pages are more important. Getting an alert when there’s a significant spike or decrease in gallery pageviews or change in quality metrics (such as average session duration, pageviews per session, exit rate, etc.) could be helpful. It’s an easy way to get indirectly notified if there is a problem like an image being broken or a plugin not working correctly. You can also use the data to make adjustments and continually tweak the page (is there a better first project to display in the kitchen gallery? Do project descriptions help?).
Remember—alerts are for change notifications, not reporting. An alert basically just says “hey, something has drastically changed, so go check it out.” Getting more into the nitty gritty is what Dashboards are for. Setting up custom reporting like this is the difference between seeing that you got more than 0 eBook downloads in a day (alert) and seeing how many people downloaded the eBook (custom Dashboard report). But more on Dashboards in another post!
Just because you don’t get the details from alerts doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful. While a custom alert can’t be used to draw a single conclusion about something, it can:
- Be a quick, efficient way to help you stay on top of your company’s website data.
- Reveal a problem before it becomes a major disaster.
- Indicate it may be time for an adjustment or change (always TRACK > TEST > TWEAK > REPEAT).
You can set up text or email alerts—so even if you’re sitting on the beach with your family, you can get the alert and relay the message to the office and have peace of mind it’s being taken care of.
Let Blue Corona Help!
Here at Blue Corona, we have a team of Google Analytics experts. We’ve worked with small (and large) businesses for years and can analyze all types of data so you don’t have to worry about it. Our team will not only help your business grow with qualified website traffic and leads but also handle any problems that may arise. So even if you are enjoying that Mai Tai by the ocean and get an alert that seems horrifying, know that we are on top of it!
About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
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The information on this website is for informational purposes only; it is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. It does not constitute professional advice. All information is subject to change at any time without notice. Contact us for complete details.