Using Alerts in Google Analytics for Slow Site Speeds

In this article, I’ll explain how to set up Custom Alerts in Google Analytics to notify site owners of page speed problems.

Site Speed Alerts

The “Custom Alerts” configuration section in Google Analytics is behind the gear icon in the lower left of any page and under the “View” column.

The “Custom Alerts” configuration section is behind the gear icon in the lower-left of any page and under the “View” column.

To create a new alert, click Custom Alerts > New Alert.

To create a new alert, click Custom Alerts > New Alert.

For this example, I will create an alert via email and text if my home page for mobile takes greater than 10 seconds to load, on average, on any day. Here are the steps.

  1. Assign a name to the custom alert.
  2. Apply the alert to one or more Google Analytics views.
  3. Select “Day” as the period, so it notifies for all days.
  4. Select to be notified by email, text, or both.
  5. Google Analytics offers limited alert conditions by default. There’s no way to select multiple conditions, such as home page only and mobile only.

So, for this example, I must create an advanced segment to identify only the home page for the mobile version of my website. I will save this Custom Alert for now — by selecting that this alert condition applies to “All Traffic” and to alert me when “Avg. Page Load Time > 10 seconds” — and edit it after I create the advanced segment.

Save this Custom Alert and edit it after creating the advanced segment. For now, select that this alert condition applies to “All Traffic” and notify when “Avg. Page Load Time > 10 seconds.”

Add advanced segments to the Custom Alerts by going to “Personal Tools & Assets” section in the same “View” column and clicking “Segments.”

Add advanced segments by going to the same “View” column and clicking “Segments.”

Alternatively, any report in Google Analytics has the configuration area to create or apply advanced segments. From any report, click “All Users.”

Any report in Google Analytics has the configuration area to create or apply advanced segments by clicking “All Users.”

Then, click “New Segment.”

Click “New Segment” to create an advanced segment.

In this example, the mobile home page is distinct from desktop, so I need to enter the mobile home page URL.

Enter the mobile home page URL.

If the mobile and desktop had identical URLs, I would apply “Device Category” contains “mobile.”

Apply “Device Category” contains “mobile” if URLs are the same for desktop and mobile.

Return to the Custom Alert and update it to apply the advanced segment. Save the updated alert and you are set.

Apply the advanced segment to the Custom Alert. Save it, and the process is complete.

Continue the process for any pages to include in the alert and for any other segments, such as device, country, or source of traffic.

Google generally sends alerts around noon following the trigger date. I know of no way to receive them on the same day as the trigger.

Using Alerts in Google Analytics for Slow Site Speeds

Conclusion

In my experience, Custom Alerts can help prevent major website disruptions. For websites where mobile traffic makes up the majority of visitors, site speed is one of the most important factors, both for Google ranking and user experience. Studies have shown that having a slow mobile site results in poor UX and visitor engagement. Custom alerts are a great way to keep you ahead of the game with advanced warning of any potential website speed issues.