Google Analytics Real-Time Alerts (2019)

If you're running a business or responsible for one. If every lost opportunity matters a lot to you. If you need to know about every conversion as soon as possible or just trying to fix unexpected things fast. Google Analytics real-time alerts will be a handy tool for you. Check out this guide, and soon you'll become a real-time data expert capable of solving lots of different problems.

realtime alert setup


What is real-time data?

When Google Analytics collects data from your website (or app), it does not appear immediately in your standard report. First, it's formatted, aggregated and only then stored for you to view. This process takes time so to solve this google introduced Real-Time data reports.

Real-time alerts are updated upon each page view (or hit) seconds after it occurs. This allows you to check how many people are on your website at any given moment and which pages are performing the best. To see real-time data visit your Google Analytics view open "Reports", click "Real-Time" and "Overview".

google analytics realtime overview

Real-time data shows your current website visitors, what they're looking at now and from where they came.

How can real-time help you?

Not everybody needs advantages provided by the real-time data. However, there are some use cases:

  • Track real-time effect of your content shared via social networks;
  • Check whenever email campaign you've sent is generating clicks;
  • Understand usage of your sales funnel via event tracking in the real-time;
  • Quickly test whenever new changes are making expected goals;
  • Verify that the tracking code is working allright;
  • Check whenever your visitors viewed new pages.

Real-time data allows you to react instantly to the changing conditions of your business.

Does Google Analytics support real-time alerts?

Although real-time data in Google Analytics exists for a long time, GA doesn't support real-time alerts by itself. There is only API access Google opened but using it requires a lot of coding and different specific knowledge. On top of that, you have to perform a request to ask joining their limited beta.

Using StatsGlitch for real-time alerts allows you to save your time and focus on your business, but if you feel adventurous, you can try Google API on the Google Developers Center.

Currently (as of 2019 July) Google Analytics do not support real-time alerts.

How you can use StatsGlitch real-time alerts in your business

1. Track conversions

Consider this if you're using Goals in Google Analytics for your conversion events like user sign up or product sale. You can track them in real-time and be informed just a few minutes after they happen. Then you can craft a custom thank you / follow-up email to your customer or otherwise just enjoy the achievement of Goal.

Pro tip:  if you're achieving Goals frequently then setup a threshold and celebrate only conversion spikes like having 10+ sales over the last 5 minutes.

2. Track individual pages

If you don't have time or resources for Goals setup, there is a way to track specific success pages. You can setup a real-time alert that's triggered on product sale confirmation or signup confirmation pages.

Keep in mind that you won't get so much value like having a dedicated Google Analytics Goal, but it will work the same way from alert perspective. User buys/signs up / perform any other conversion, and he navigates to a success page. Immediately after visiting that page StatsGlitch will send an alert to you so you could follow-up or just celebrate.

Pro tip: you can track error/cancellation pages too. This way you can immediately follow-up with the person who's just canceled a subscription on your page or received an error while trying to pay via a credit card.

3. Be aware of the traffic spike

Sometimes you can get unexpected links/shares from social media or other popular websites. This event can lead into some valuable traffic flowing into your page/business without you even realizing it. By setting up StatsGlitch real-time alert, you can be sure that you won't miss that traffic spike and will be able to use it at your advantage.

The very first thing after having a traffic spike is to find out from where it comes. Open Google Analytics and navigate to real-time:

google analytics realtime

Select "Traffic Sources":

google analytics realtime traffic sources

If traffic is coming from social media be sure to follow-up it there and answer/ask any questions to boost it's potential and keep the post alive. Re-sharing or otherwise promoting via your account would be a good idea too.

If traffic source is not from social media, look for any comments section to interact with the audience. If there are no comments be sure to share the source via your social media channels as it's gaining some traction.

Pro tip: do not forget that more significant traffic can sometimes affect your website/services and prepare to fix things quickly. On the positive note, it can generate some serious amount of conversions/sales for you especially if you'll keep things rolling.

4. Know whenever the email campaign is warming up

When crafting your email campaign be sure to correctly setup Google Analytics utm variables for an email campaign. Each link in your email should have utm_source=newsletter_name&utm_medium=email&utm_content=link_name_or_logo_name&utm_campaign=broad_campaign_name_like_blackfriday tracking code

Utm codes explained:

  1. utm_source=newsletter_name: Indicates that the source of a click is from some specific newsletter
  2. utm_medium=email: Shows which medium was used to distribute your campaign
  3. utm_content=link_name_or_logo_name: Helps to figure out which exact link was clicked on the newsletter
  4. utm_campaign=broad_campaign_name_like_blackfriday: With the help of campaign name you can combine all newsletters and mediums to figure out whenever the campaign was successful

Utm variables will help you to find out which users are converting in your project.

More information about campaign parameters (utm codes) you'll find on Google Analytics Help Center.

After setting up a proper email campaign, you can track in the real-time when users are starting to click the links in your email.

Three simple steps to start using real-time alerts

You can manage all your different websites/businesses in one place via convenient alert setup. Nothing to install and no changes required on your site:

  1. Connect your Google Account;
  2. Setup a real-time alert;
  3. Via read-only access, StatsGlitch will watch your business metrics and generate alerts. Alerts are sending via email, Slack, or webhooks.

Real-time alerts features

1. Choose a real-time alert preset

google analytics realtime alert presets

Alert Presets helps you to start faster by choosing already predefined templates based on the most common use cases. It guides you upon setting up upon active visitors spike detection, users are coming from your email campaign, or you've just had a conversion/signup.

Pro tip:  try to start with a preset, and then customize it to your needs, add filters and change notification frequency.

2. Consider adding a dimension filter

google analytics realtime alert filters

Dimension filters allow you to narrow-down your metrics and focus upon the audience you really care. Select between traffic source, user platform and browser, user geographical location, event category/action/label, and more.

Pro tip:  do not use too many filters. You might end up with an alert which is never triggered.

3. Select notification frequency

google analytics realtime alerts frequency

When you have a pageview spike, it's usually lasting more than 5 minutes. Set the frequency to 15-60 minutes that you won't get overwhelmed by many notifications. Moreover, Google Analytics real-time API keeps active Goals set for 30 minutes. It means if the user did a conversion on 11:00 am, the real-time API would return the same Goal on 11:29 am too. Set the frequency to 30min to avoid this situation of multiple notifications.

4. Check alert timezone and choose your audience countries

google analytics realtime alert timezone and holidays

Your website traffic is always depending upon the week of days and national holidays of your users. By setting your audience countries, in the alert notification, you'll receive a piece of additional information about what happened on that day, that might impact your site traffic. For example, if your primary audience is from US and you received an alert on July 4th, you'll know it that it also might be because of the Independence Day.

Pro tip:  it might be tempting to choose all the countries, but we don't recommend it. You'll get overhelmed as almost every day somewhere in the world some country celebrates or mentions some occasion.

5. Receive real-time alerts via Slack, Webhook or anywhere else via Zapier

google analytics realtime alerts over slack

Having real-time alerts are great, but you might wonder that sending them to your mailbox might be not an optimal solution. So we recommend connecting your Slack workspace, use a Webhook, or directly send a notification to your favorite CRM/To-Do software via Zapier.

Pro tip:  try to start with a preset, and then customize it to your needs.

6. Adapt alerts to your working day

google analytics realtime alerts schedule

Some of us live in a constant 24/7 flow, and some of us love Mon-Fri 9-5 routine. That's fine either way, and your real-time alerts should adapt to your schedule. Leave the fields blank for 24h alerts, or fill your usual business hours. Outside of your working hours notifications won't bother you so that you can relax and spend your time elsewhere.

Now you know:

  1. What Google Analytics real-time data is;
  2. How it can benefit your business;
  3. How to get started with real-time alerts;
  4. How to use real-time alerts like a pro.

You should also check:

Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking Reports
Google Analytics Statistical Significance Alerts
Google Analytics Custom Alerts