That's it, you've signed a new juicy agreement with a partner site, traffic is flowing towards your website, your boss is all happy... and so are you. Problem is, your schedule is overbooked, and you don't really have the time to log on to Google Analytics on a daily basis to make sure everything is ok. So you decide to trust that new partner website to keep bringing the amount of traffic you agreed on, while you go on with your busy schedule and get your mind off Google Analytics for the whole week. You log on to your Google Analytics account one week later, only to find that your brand new partner site has suddenly stopped generating traffic. You're now left with an embarrassing gap in your monthly reports, and with the difficult task of explaining what happened to your boss.
Luckily, Google Analytics offers a very good way to stay out of trouble by configuring alerts that warn you whenever your metrics drop below a certain point. In the Admin section, under the View column, you'll be able to create your alerts by selecting the segment you wish to monitor and by defining a threshold under which GA will start sending you warning emails.
Configuring Google Analytics Alerts
There are a number of alerts you could configure depending on your business goals. One that I personally use quite often is the alert that warns you whenever your traffic decreases by more than 30%. Anything above that would probably mean you'd start receiving too many useless alerts, as most websites experience traffic fluctuations over the weekend.
One thing we need to keep in mind when configuring alerts, is that Google Analytics only generates alerts every 24 hours. That means if your traffic drops below your threshold, you won't know it until the next day.
Getting alerted when conversion rates drop
Another type of alert that would be fundamental to most businesses is the goal conversion alert. The screenshot below shows you the type of alert that would warn you whenever your conversion rate drops by more than 30%. This typically happens when a form stops working, or when a landing help site page stops receiving traffic.
Google Analytics alerts are also useful for a number of other metrics such as bounce rates, average time on site and 404 error displays. However, keep in mind that alerts are nothing more than... alerts. They won't give you much insights on why your conversion rates suddenly dropped, or why your bounce rate suddenly increased. Understanding why stuff is happening on your website requires a thorough analysis of all your site's key metrics. Though at least having alerts configured means you may be able to dedicate less time to routine traffic check-ups, allowing you to dedicate more time to deep web analytics.