Use Intelligence Events to Monitor Significant Changes in Site Traffic and Behavior

Data Analytics

Worried that if you’re not spending every second in your Google Analytics account you could miss a potentially catastrophic tracking issue or, conversely, an opportunity to take advantage of a sudden major shift in traffic or conversions?

Staying on top of huge fluctuations in your traffic data — whether from a broken tracking code or significant press mention — is critical to the health and well-being of your site, data, and digital marketing strategy. Fear not, because Intelligence Events has you covered.

As much as we’d love to, most of us can’t sit around and monitor our Analytics data all day. Intelligence Events helps you conveniently monitor your site’s performance by notifying you of any unusual shifts or anomalies in traffic via email or text. Intelligence Events alerts are sent within 24 hours of detection, allowing you to respond to issues promptly.

Automatic and custom alerts

Google Analytics offers two types of Intelligence Events: automatic alerts and custom alerts. Both types of alerts can measure spikes or dips in data on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, compared to the previous period, or the same time the previous year.

Automatic alerts are preconfigured by Analytics in order to track significant traffic changes for higher-level metrics. These include sessions, uses, pageviews, session duration, pageviews per session, bounce rate, and so on, for common segments like referral and organic traffic, new visitor traffic, and, of course, all traffic.

Custom alerts may be as broad or as granular as you like. For example, you can set a custom alert to appear when sessions from a critical referral site decrease by more than 25 percent from a key location, like Portland, Oregon. Or if goal conversions spike from blog content. Or if shopping cart abandonment from AdWords traffic suddenly increases by 30 percent. You can customize Intelligence Events for virtually every dimension in Google Analytics based on the KPIs most essential to you.

Intelligence reports

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In additional to Intelligence alerts, Analytics also offers Intelligence Events reports within the Analytics dashboard for both automatic and custom alerts. These reports include daily, weekly, and monthly events reports, as well as an overview report that includes all three timeframes. These reports include the following:

  • Daily Events report: all alerts triggered based on day-to-day changes in data.
  • Weekly Events report: all alerts triggered based on week-to-week changes in data.
  • Monthly Events report: all alerts triggered based on month-to-month changes in data.

The overview report includes all alerts from the three timeframe reports. The “Details” links let you see precisely where and how the change occurred.

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What are the most critical Ingelligence Events to track? 

While you likely have your own unique Analytics KPIs to consider, the most essential Intelligence Events alerts to monitor will call attention to any tracking issues or any major traffic increases or decreases from the four primary traffic channels.

Tracking errors

  • No traffic: Somehow your tracking codes were removed from your site’s backend, and now traffic is not flowing. Intelligence Events lets you get on top of the issue before too much data is lost.
  • No goal completions: Similarly, if your event goal conversion tracking code is removed, an alert can help you remedy it before too much data is lost.
  • No e-commerce conversions or e-commerce revenue: Again, this signals that something happened to your e-commerce tracking code.

Traffic sources

  • Increase or decrease in direct traffic.
  • Increase or decrease in organic traffic (potentially related to penalties or algorithm changes).
  • Increase or decrease in paid traffic (e.g., a change in ad targeting that resulted in significantly higher or lower on-site engagement).
  • Increase or decrease in referral traffic (i.e., from any primary referral sources that historically drive considerable traffic).

How to create custom Intelligence Events

Under Intelligence Events, click Overview. Then click the Custom Alerts tab and select Manage Custom Alerts.

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This will take you to the Admin tab, where you will select +New Alert.

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Name your custom alert and select each view to apply custom Intelligence Events. Pick the period — day, week, or month — and select whether you’d like to receive email or mobile phone notifications for the alert. Set up your alert conditions with your preferred dimensions and locations. This example sends an alert when traffic stops flowing.

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Finally, click Create Alert.

Don’t wait before it’s too late to find out if your site’s tracking is broken, or if your site received a sudden spike in traffic. Intelligence Events features are constantly looking out for significant changes in your traffic data, so you can spend more time on other important tasks, like developing content, engaging your social channels, building links, and optimizing your paid channels.

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