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Epiphany Search

This is the first in a series of posts relating to Google’s shiny new features. If you haven’t seen them yet you can get yourself a preview of what to expect in your analytics account here. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of these at the recent GAAC summit and I think Google have created some really useful features. One of which is custom alerts, which is in the new intelligence section of analytics. This section itself is a great little tool that shows expected results for almost all aspects of the site, and should the data not fall between these expected margins, it creates an alert.  I look forward to see where they take this feature – some form of correlation between the alerts would be very useful, so instead of “x happened” (which is what we currently have) we should be looking at “x happened because of y and z” – but that discussion is for another day.

Moving on to my useful tip:

Knowing when there's a problem

How often have you had a client or novice web developer *angry face* down their analytics? If you’ve had it, you know how annoying *second angry face* it is to see that lovely blue graph just flat line: flat line GA blog If you haven’t had this WILL happen, but you’ll be pleased to know when it does you can react quickly. In the intelligence section you can now create your own custom alerts – yey! These alerts will email you when someone downs their analytics so you can immediately pick up the phone and in the following order:

  1. Fix it
  2. Fire the person responsible :-)

So how do I create these wonderful alerts I hear you ask, well it’s simple. In the intelligence section click the “Create a Custom Alert” link: GA blog conversion rates Create your alert name, I’ve gone for the aptly named “CODE RED”; ensure the period is set to “Day” and that you have checked the “Email Me” box. Ensure the alert conditions apply to “All Traffic” and you can then customise the “Alert me when” to: “Visits” : “% decreases by more than” : “10%” : Compared to “Same day in the previous week” – we use same day in the previous week as, for example, comparing a Monday to a Sunday usually created false emails. This is not a hard and fast rule for every site, you can use day to day and also the percentage will need tweaking depending on the level of traffic consistency each site has. I always ensure this is set-up to be on the more ‘paranoid’ side of things. I’d much rather the system emails me than something goes unnoticed. You should now have something that looks like this: GA blog code red Click the button and you’re done! You will now know (relatively quickly) when there is a problem with tracking in Google Analytics. There is another useful custom alert coming soon, but let me know what you’ve got set up.