With the old Universal Analytics (UA) soon to be sunset at the beginning of July, it is imperative that Google Analytics users work to get to grips with the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as soon as possible. Much of what is possible in UA is also ready and available in GA4, but there are some features that take a little bit of work to properly recreate. In this blog, we will take a look at one of these features: custom alerts.
The creation of custom alerts in UA is very simple, it is just a case of navigating to the relevant menu in Admin > View > Custom Alerts and configuring it to suit your needs. This menu does not appear in GA4, however, so we have to recreate Custom Alerts ourselves using GA4’s ‘Insights’.
1.Scroll down to the bottom of the ‘Home’ tab to the ‘Insights and Recommendations’ section, and click the ‘View all insights’ button in the top-right of the section.
2.On the ‘Reports’ tab, in the ‘Reports snapshot’ sub-section, scroll down below the two top views and there will be another ‘Insights’ section on the left, which includes a button in the bottom-right to ‘View all insights’.
Once you have found where your Insights reside, you can go about making a brand new one by clicking ‘Create’ in the top-right corner.
If you used Custom Alerts in UA, the menu to create an Insight may feel familiar. You will be able to create an Insight that evaluates based on a metric of your choosing and will be displayed on dashboards, and can trigger email notifications when a certain threshold figure is reached.
In the ‘Set Conditions’ section, you can set the evaluation frequency and the metric to be measured in the Insight, and clicking ‘Change’ will allow you to select a segment of users to whom the Insight will apply.
This is perhaps the most important element of the Insight, but you may notice that the options are limited, and you are only offered the ability to make Insights that apply to segments of your audience based on demographics, geography, technology, traffic source and user lifetime. If you are wanting to recreate certain alerts you may have set up in UA, such as those that measure users who have visited a particular page, it may appear that you’re out of luck. Thankfully, there is a workaround!
The first step is to create an Audience. Audiences are groups of users you can create based on their demographics, site actions or other characteristics. To create one, first open the admin menu at the bottom of the navbar on the left, and click ‘Audiences’ in the Property section.
There should already be two Audiences, named ‘All Users’ and ‘Purchasers’, which are created by GA4 automatically. Click on ‘New Audience’ and you will be offered some suggestions of Audiences to create.
If the Audience you want is suggested, select it and you’re good to go! Otherwise, click ‘Create a custom audience’, and you will be taken to a screen to create your audience.
Recently, I’ve noticed some bot traffic making it through even GA4’s automatic filtering, and so I am going to create an alert to let me know when there is an anomaly in the number of sessions from users with a specific screen resolution. I will therefore configure my audience as appropriate. Once you’re done, click ‘SAVE’ and head back on over to the Insights section.
Once you’re back in the Insights section, start creating a new insight as above. Click ‘Change’ to select a segment of users to be subject to the insight, and when asked to choose a dimension, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and select ‘Audience Name’.
Then in the ‘Dimension values’ drop down, select the audience you just created.
You can then select the relevant metric and condition on which the insight should test back in the previous menu, as well as naming your insight and setting who should receive email notifications. Once you have filled out these details, your new insight has been created!
For more information on how to get the most out of your analytics set up, check out our blog, or see our GA4 services page to find out how we can help you with all things GA4!