Leveraging Google Analytics Intelligence Events

A good search agency should always deliver to the client’s goals of hitting and exceeding targets. But a great agency will always go the extra mile to distinguish themselves from being a good agency to being a great one. Delivering to target is expected but going above and beyond is what really resonates.

One of those extras that should always be in a great agency’s offering is having the ability to identify traffic anomalies and act accordingly.

Unexpected events will always occur and no matter how great your search strategy and campaign performance is, when it comes to IT and website usability, errors will always occur and may sometimes go unnoticed until a scheduled weekly report shows a skew in data. Traffic anomalies can be caused by server crashes, power outages, or the booking engine functionality on a website may have some coding errors that cause sharp falls in conversions or key metrics.

You would have specific goals and metrics that are imperative to your online strategy. Google Analytics Intelligence Events can help you monitor these key metrics and alert you when a significant change occurs. For example…

You’re launching a massive one month campaign that will run above the line on TV, outdoor display, radio and, of course, online. With all this mass media noise, website traffic volumes are expected to increase significantly. You are going to start directing all your paid search visitors to the specific campaign page but you are concerned that the campaign page has not been tried and tested. This is a perfect opportunity to create custom alerts with Google Analytics Intelligence events for your key metrics and goals that will identify skews.

Plan for the unplanned

Google Analytics Intelligence is an algorithmic engine that uses different standard deviational changes to generate an alert. This powerful functionality allows you to apply custom alerts on key metrics across all your dimensions and even custom segments. You can instruct the intelligence engine to assess the chosen metric daily, weekly or monthly. In this scenario, you can create an alert that will compare your conversion rate with the same day of the previous week.

Setting up an Alert

  1. From the left hand navigation menu expand out the Intelligence Events menu and select the frequency options. In this example, I am setting up an alert that will be monitored daily as below:

Step 1 - Setting up an Alert

  1. From the Daily events page, click on the ‘+ Create a Custom Alert’ option as below:


  1. Give the alert an appropriate name. In this case, I want the intelligence engine to monitor our conversion rate daily, hence the name ‘conversion rate drop’. When entering the email address for the alert recipient, it is a good idea to add multiple addresses. For example, you might want to include the account team who work on this particular client. Select the appropriate dimension and metrics for the alert. In this case, I want to monitor all traffic sources and our conversion rate. For the condition, I have selected % decrease more than 10% compared to the same day of the previous week. Save the Alert.


Within the first day of the new campaign launch you will be alerted to a drop in conversion rate performance by an email alert, informing you that conversion rates have dropped by 10% as set up above. This allows you to flag the issue to the client where they can escalate it to the web development team. You can advise that all paid traffic is now diverted to the regular landing page in the interim as the campaign page is given a complete usability test. It is later found that the calendar selection functionality was not working on the campaign page. You have just saved significant budget across all channels directing to the culprit landing page.

Aside from the financial saving, just as importantly you have limited the damage to the brand. Imagine a visitor who is ready to convert, but is unable to fulfill their intent. You have perhaps lost a life time ambassador for your brand by creating a negative experience. You have also given competitors a freebie. We cannot prevent errors, but we can certainly take measures to limit the damage and in this case we have limited the damage to one day’s worth of visitors rather than a week, weeks or months.

There are many metrics you can apply alerts to such as visit peaks and troughs, campaign e-commerce revenues, your goals, and we can apply them to specific sources and segments. Another useful alert to set up may be to monitor a sharp drop in visits by x%.

Monitoring for Sharp Drops in Visits

For example, this would identify an overnight site outage and you can apply the alert to different profiles in the Google Analytics account. Again, you can flag the issue and save money by leveraging custom alerts.

So go above and beyond. Take the time to set up custom alerts. We can never prevent the unexpected issues that come with IT but we can implement a strategy for detecting threshold breaches that will limit the damage using Google Analytics Intelligence Events.

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