How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

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Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It allows website owners to analyze their visitors' behavior, such as how long they stay on the site, which pages they visit, and where they come from. Google Analytics can also track various metrics, including bounce rate, conversion rate, and average session duration. This data can be used to improve website performance and user experience.

Google’s Latest Analytics Platform

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google's web analytics platform. Unlike the previous version, GA4 is designed to provide a more holistic view of user behavior across multiple platforms and devices, including mobile apps and websites.

One of the key differences between GA4 and the previous version is that GA4 uses a new event-based data model, which allows for more flexibility in tracking user behavior. This means that GA4 can track events that are not pageviews, such as scrolling or clicking on a video. GA4 includes machine learning capabilities that can help identify trends and provide insights into user behavior. For example, GA4 can automatically identify groups of users who exhibit similar behavior and provide insights into their preferences and interests.

Highlights of How to Set Up Universal Google Analytics Aerts (Note: this is for those looking to still set up alerts on the ‘old’ Universal Google Analytics)

1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the view for which you want to set up alerts.

2. Click on the "Admin" button in the lower left corner of the page.

3. In the middle column, under the "View" section, click on "Custom Alerts."

4. Click on the "New Alert" button.

5. Give your alert a name and select the appropriate settings for your KPIs. For example, you may want to set up an alert for when your website's bounce rate exceeds a certain percentage, or when your goal conversion rate drops below a certain level.

6. Choose the frequency at which you want to receive the alert, such as daily, weekly, or monthly.

7. Select the notification method for your alert, such as email or mobile notifications.

8. Click on the "Save Alert" button to save your settings.

But, GA4 has introduced some fresh features which were not present in Universal Analytics. For example, in Universal Analytics, the earliest notification you could receive was on the following day. However, with GA4, you now have the choice of receiving notifications as soon as one hour later. Additionally, GA4 allows you to receive alerts whenever there is any abnormality in your data. Setting up monitoring alerts in GA4 is simple and straightforward.

This article will be showing you how to set up Custom Insight (Alerts) step-by-step for your important metrics.

This can help you stay on top of important metrics and take action when necessary to improve your website's performance. The system sends out email notifications when web metrics change in a meaningful way – based on your configuration.

Why is GA4 Custom Insight Important?

Monitoring every single metric every day isn’t productive, and a lot of times is also not possible due to time constraints. Having Google Analytics do that for you every single day allows you to focus on what really matters. With Google Analytics Alerts, you have a meaningful set of metrics that are consistently being monitored and you’re alerted when any of them might require your further attention.

Review your alerts quarterly, or every time you know you want to monitor a new KPI.

How to set up Google Analytics 4 Alerts (Custom Insight)

Google has released a new version of Google Analytics in October 2020, this new version can be set as a property alongside standard version “Universal Analytics”.

Note: if you don't already migrate your universal Google Analytics, Google provides an easy way – Google’s “GA4 Setup Assistance '' to migrate from universal GA (see screenshot below):

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

Our step-by-step guide assumes you already have GA4 migrated successfully…

Step 1: log in into your GA4 account and select the right property

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

On the reports snapshot (default homepage of GA4 properties) you’ll find several tiles covering performance. Look for the Insights tile and click on “See suggested insights” at the bottom of this tile.

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

Step 2: Click on the Insight button, and Google will take you to this page (see image below)

At this point, you need to define exactly what you would like to be notified on – a drop in traffic? Or a sudden lift in conversions – sessions decreased by more than 10% this week or month? You’ll need to write the list out and decide what exactly you’d like to be alerted on (more on this; keep reading to the end).

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

If any of the identified metrics is covered in the ‘Suggested Custom Insights’ section, then select “review and create” or click “Create new” to start from scratch and set your custom GA4 Alerts.

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

Step 3: Set conditions for alerts you wish to monitor. Alert Conditions: 

  • Evaluation frequency: the periodic interval you wish to receive notification to. For each KPI you defined above, determine whether it’s worth receiving an alert, daily, weekly or monthly. If you are unsure: 
    • Check how that KPI changed daily overtime, for the last 60 days.
    • If you see that your KPI is usually stable, set it to daily
    • If you see that your KPI is seasonal/unstable, set it to weekly or monthly (whichever suits better to remove high instabilities)
  • Metric: 30-day total users, Average engagement time per event, Event count, New users, Page views, Screen views per user, Sessions per user.
  • Condition: Alert me when the metric to which the alert applies – Is less than or equal to, % increase more than, % decrease more than, or % change is more than.

How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

  • Choose your insight name – This is your alert name, make it descriptive because this is what you’ll receive in your email.How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs
  • Manage your notifications - When this insight is triggered, all users on that property will receive an email notification as long as they have access to the property. Also, the email you add in the field below, will also receive the notification.How to Set up GA4 Alerts [Custom Insight] to Monitor Your KPIs

Note: Select a condition that will send you an alert only when something meaningful happens. You’ll want to avoid setting your conditions so strict that GA4 sends you an alert every day even when nothing meaningful happens; at the same time you don’t want to set it so loosely that GA4 misses sending you important events.

Identify the core KPIs for your alerts 

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. It is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives. KPIs are typically used to evaluate the success of a particular activity or process, and can be applied to a wide range of industries and functions. Some common examples of KPIs include revenue growth, customer satisfaction, employee turnover rate, and website traffic. By tracking KPIs, businesses can gain valuable insights into their performance and make data-driven decisions to improve their operations.

When setting alerts for these metrics in GA4, you might want to break them down in specific channels, devices, or any other dimension. 

Note that some metrics require that you already set tracking conversions on your website, because you can only get alerts for metrics that you have already set up and have already been tracked on Google Analytics.

Let's take a look at some of the metrics you can set alert for:

1. Sessions: Monitor variations in the number of sessions that you’re getting. E.g., 

  • X% increase on social media traffic – Allows you to monitor if one of your posts is trending on social media. 
  • X% increase from referrals – Allows you to monitor if you’ve been mentioned somewhere on the web recently. Conversely, an alert to monitor a decrease would allow you to monitor if you lost mentions.
  • X% decrease in organic traffic – Might mean you just lost some search rankings on your website. 
  • X% decrease in overall traffic – Alerts you that something might be wrong with one (or more) of your channels and you should look deeper into it.

2. Bounce Rate: Monitor possible quality/speed/availability issues with your pages. E.g., 

  • X% increase in bounce rate from organic search – If your bounce rate increased considerably you might want to take immediate action before you possibly start seeing your rankings declining. 
  • X% increase in bounce rate from paid traffic – Might alert you for cases where you’re sending traffic to the wrong landing pages, spending your budget inefficiently.

3. Page Views: Monitor overall value, or page views to specific core pages (i.e. checkout page, pricing, etc). 

4. Average Page Load Time: Monitor possible server performance issues that might be affecting your pages. 

5. Conversion Rate (Goal/Ecommerce): Monitor changes to your conversion rate e.g.,

  • X% decrease in conversion rate from paid traffic

6. Revenue:  Monitor revenue changes.

7. Transactions: Monitor changes in transaction amounts. 

8. Average Order Value (AOV) – Monitor changes in average order value.


Setting up Google Analytics (GA4) alerts can be a powerful way to stay on top of your website's performance and quickly address any issues that arise. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create custom alerts that notify you of important changes in your traffic, conversions, and user behavior. Whether you're a small business owner, a marketer, or a web developer, using alerts can help you save time and make data-driven decisions that improve your online presence.

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