Google Analytics for Beginners: Setting up Custom Alerts

Published: 26th March 2019


Creating custom alerts are a great way of monitoring specific changes in your site data, from spikes in your traffic to an increase in your bounce rate.

By using Custom Alerts you can keep an eye on your site usage and monitor specific changes without having to manually sift through the data in Google Analytics.

What Are Custom Alerts and How Do They Work?

Custom Alerts are set up in the view level of your Google Analytics account. The alerts trigger an email (or you can choose text alerts if you are based in the US) when the conditions you set within it are met. You can set them so that only you receive the alerts, or you can add additional email addresses so that alerts go straight to your clients or other team members.

When creating alerts, it’s important to note that the alert is only visible to you in the current reporting view and in any other view that you physically apply the alert to.

How Do I Set Up a Custom Alert?

There are few steps to take to set up a custom alert – we’ll guide you through them:

#1 Sign in to your Google Analytics account, click admin and navigate to view settings

#2 Select ‘Custom Alerts’ under ‘Personal Tools & Assets’ in the view settings

custom alerts google analytics


#3 Select ‘New Alert’

#4 Enter the conditions for your alert as well as setting your email alerts and choosing to apply the alert to any other view if desired

#5 Hit ‘Save Alert’ and you’re done!

Naming Conventions & Best Practices

If you are working with multiple analytics account and views, I find it best to use a particular naming protocol so that you can actually distinguish between alerts and accounts when you receive an alert email. Not everyone changes the names of their views and it wouldn’t be particularly helpful to receive 2 of the same alerts in one email both called ‘all site data’ and ‘traffic spike’. I always name the site I am working on first in the alert followed by a description of the alert. EG:'[UFMedia] Bounce Rate Increase’

Custom Alert Example

A common custom alert to set up is for when your site receives a spike in traffic.

You’ll want to configure the alert as follows:

  • Alert name: [Your Site] Spike in Traffic
  • Apply to: This will be set to your current view (apply it to more if you want)
  • Period: Day (other options include weekly or monthly but for this particular alert choose day)

Select email alerts and include any other email addresses needed

  • This applies to: All Traffic
  • Alert me when: Sessions
  • Condition: % increase by more than
  • Value: This depends on the consistency of your site traffic, we’d go somewhere between 20% & 50%
  • Compared to: Same day in previous week

We hope that you now have a better understanding of what custom alerts are and how to go about setting them up. There are hundreds of alert combinations to choose from and we’ll go through more about them in our series of Google Analytics guides coming soon. Stay tuned!

If you have questions about your Analytics set-up or need any support, do get in touch.

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