If you want to be notified about unusual changes in your business metrics, you can set up GA4 custom alerts to receive emails when something unpredicted happens. For instance, your website traffic is down due to hosting issues, your primary affiliate paused sending traffic, or your daily predicted revenue was 30% lower than the actual one.
Yes, unlike Universal Analytics alerts, Google Analytics 4 ones can be based on predictive metrics, and therefore, GA4 can statistically inform you if what happened was extraordinary.
That makes GA4 custom alerts one of the powerful features that can enhance your business analytics. Therefore, there is no doubt that you should set them up, but how to set them up in Google Analytics 4.
How to set up custom alerts in GA4
First, custom alerts are custom insights in Google Analytics 4. GA4 offer two options: a) shows you custom alerts in GA4 when they trigger, or b) shows them in GA4 and sends you an email.
Since many of us would like to receive emails, too, I combined two of them in one instruction. You can miss the last step if you don’t want to get emails.
So, to set up custom alerts in Google Analytics 4, you should have at least ‘Edit” or “Analyst” access in GA4 and take the following steps:
- Open Google Analytics 4 Home page, scroll down to the “Insights & Recommendations” section and click on “View all insights”.
- Click on the “Create” button to create a new custom alert
- Configure the custom alert rules:
1. Set conditions such as evaluation frequency, segment, metric and condition when you want to receive a notification
2. Write the insight name that will be sent to emails
3. Write the email addresses of the users who should receive an email with the alert
- Click on the “Create” button to save the alert.
- Click on “Manage” button
- Activate your newly created custom alert
After you make all of the above, Google Analytics 4 will send you emails when the change in metric happens.
Even if you don’t want to receive notifications in your inbox, I still recommend you go to the “Manage” section and look at what kind of default insights Google Analytics 4 has. Most are based on anomaly detection, a new and fascinating GA4 feature.
Current GA4 custom alerts limitations
Though you can create custom alerts in Google Analytics 4 for almost any case, sometimes GA4 lacks some elements. Let me mention them here:
- Google Analytics 4 allows you to create a segment for the custom alert, but unfortunately, the number of dimensions is limited. For instance, you can’t select users who performed the specific event, but you can create an audience first and then use the audience as the segment in alerts.
- You can’t use custom dimensions or metrics in GA4 alerts.
- Though you can create hourly alerts, GA4 allows you to do it only for web properties.
- You can create up to 50 custom insights (alerts) per property.
From my point of view, these are not comprehensive preventions to create alerts and insights that matter for your business. Even if you can’t create some alerts directly using GA4 alerts settings, there is overcome solution with audiences where you can specify custom parameters or use events.
I also advise following the rules below to organise custom alerts in Google Analytics 4 according to the best practices.
Best Practices to improve your alerts
There are many people and opinions on how to structure analytics alerts, but these 4 rules below are still standing:
- Send alerts to the people familiar with them, and who knows what action to take after receiving them. If the person can’t do anything about the metric change, it doesn’t make sense to send a notification to that person.
- Name alerts so that everyone can easily understand them without meeting to discuss them. If you use “daily” evaluation frequency in the alert, write it’s a daily metric change. If the alert is triggered on the loss of revenue, label this alert as “Revenue decreased by 30% yesterday”. Clarity can not only speed up the reaction but also not leave your alerts alone without any actions.
- Don’t create custom alerts just for the sake of them. Set up custom alerts in GA4 for OKRs or KPIs and periodically review them to remove outdated ones you don’t use.
- Apply the suitable threshold for your alerts. If you receive alerts often and after some time you start to ignore them, it means that the threshold you applied to custom alerts is too weak. Login to GA4 and change the threshold to receive notifications when something significant happens.
- Create an action plan for GA4 alerts. If you or your team member receives the alert, what should they do? Should they open GA4 and figure out what happened diving deep to the core, what they should do after that, and what’s the action plan for the rest of the team? These are all good questions you should resolve before getting your first alert.
Google Analytics 4 allows you to set up custom alerts and insights. Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 custom alerts use also new predicted metrics. This enables you to understand your business better and eliminate metrics noise from your reports. Besides that, you can be informed about significant metric changes immediately.
If you have any questions about custom alerts in GA4, please comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions
To create custom alerts in GA4, follow these steps:
1. Open Google Analytics 4 Home page, scroll down to the “Insights & Recommendations” section and click on “View all insights”.
2. Click on the “Create” button to create a new custom alert
3. Configure the custom alert rules:
3.1. Set conditions such as evaluation frequency, segment, metric and condition when you want to receive a notification
3.2. Write the insight name that will be sent to emails
3.3. Write the email addresses of the users who should receive an email with the alert
4. Click on the “Create” button to save the alert.
5. Activate your newly created custom alert by clicking “Manage” and switching it on.
Whenever the metric changes significantly according to the criteria you specified early, GA4 will inform you. This allows you to track extraordinary events.