Most companies that run paid ad campaigns always aspire to optimise them as much as possible to increase the number of conversions and decrease the budget allocated.
One of the leading solutions to that is to adjust the bidding based on the hour of the day. It’s precisely what GA4 hourly traffic report can help them with.
How to see the hourly website traffic in Google Analytics 4
Long ago, the immediate solution to see hourly website traffic was to connect Google Analytics 4 to Google Looker Studio and create the report there. On November 2, 2022, Google Analytics 4 received new date and hour dimensions that allow analysts to build hourly website traffic reports in detailed reports (GA4 library) and GA4 Explore.
Option #1: Building GA4 Hourly Traffic Report using GA4 Explore Free Table
Therefore, let’s build our GA4 hourly website traffic report following these steps:
- Open GA4 and go to GA4 Explore
- Start a new blank report
- Adjust the time period to the right one
- Import the following dimensions and metrics (you can add yours too):
a) Date + Hour
d) Nth hour
a) New users / Total users
e) Ecommerce revenue
- Add “Date + Hour” to the “Rows” and all metrics to “Values”
If you made all steps right, you should receive a report close to the one in the screenshot below.
Note: Unfortunately, Google Analytics 4 can’t apply average to your variables; it also can sum your metric statistics. Therefore, we use “Date + Hour”, not “Hour” dimensions. If you are interested in the average traffic amount, click on the “Export” data button at the top right corner and export the data into Google Sheets, where you can aggregate the data appropriately.
Option #2: Building GA4 Hourly Traffic Report using GA4 Explore Line Chart Visualisation
Besides the option described early, you can use “Line chart” visualisation and select “Hourly” granularity. In this case, you will receive something close to the screenshot below. However, it’s worth mentioning that this report can only show one metric at a time.
Though many companies use GA4 hourly traffic report to adjust paid ad campaigns, there is also a segment of companies that use this report to check how their new website change impacted the metric or look at the hourly business performance to determine the bad days early in order to save them by running an additional promo or doing something else.
In these last cases, it can be much more suitable to set up custom insights (custom alerts) in Google Analytics 4, and the tool will send you an email if the traffic increases or decreases significantly compared to the forecasted value.
How to monitor hourly website traffic automatically in Google Analytics 4
Although it’s an excellent feature, it’s not suitable for everyone. GA4 allows you to use hourly alerts only for web properties. So, if you use Google Analytics 4 for the mobile app, you won’t be able to use it. Suppose that you use a web data stream. Let’s look at how you can build hourly alerts in your analytics tool.
So, in order to set up an alert, you should take the following actions:
- 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:
- Set evaluation frequency to “Hourly (Web only)”
- Apply the segment that includes “Platform” value “Web”
- Select the metric and condition (for instance, Total Users – anomaly)
- Write the insight name that will be sent to emails
- Write the email addresses of the users who should receive an email with the alert
- Click on the “Create” button to save the custom insight.
- In order to receive email notifications, click on the “Manage” button and activate the email notification for your newly created custom insight.
If you follow all steps above, you should start to receive custom alerts in your inbox whenever the number of total users on your website changes more than the expected (forecasted) value.
If you have a reason to check your website hourly traffic, you can do it in Google Analytics 4 by building GA4 hourly traffic report using GA4 Explore functionalities. Along the way, you can set up a custom insight (alert) to receive email notifications whenever your website traffic changes. This will free up your time and help to focus on other affairs.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I will be happy to answer them.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to break down your website traffic per hour, date, and week in GA4, you should use GA4 Explore and import the following dimensions and metrics: hour, date + hour, total users, conversions, and ecommerce revenue.
In this case, it can be helpful to create a line chart report in Google Analytics 4 Explore for every metric and choose “Hour” granularity.