I use Google Analytics today to notify me of big traffic spikes. In my case, a big traffic spike is typically due to a link from a prominent website.

Google Analytics includes a new "Intelligence" feature to report on spikes. Unfortunately, today it only reports that I had a spike, but doesn't report the referring site; instead it reports the geographic region of the traffic, e.g. "California."

This isn't a very useful dimension to report on, because geography is almost never the cause of the traffic spike; it's almost always due to a referring site.

Is there a way to configure Google Analytics Intelligence to report on the cause (the referring site) of traffic spikes?


I would use the following Alert Conditions:

This applies to: Referral Path
Condition: Does not match exactly
Value: (not set)

Alert me when: Visits
Condition: % increases by more than
Value: 25
Compared to: Previous day

You could also change the 'applies to' condition to a regex to filter out any regular refers that fluctuate above the increase % you treat as a spike.

  • Best answer so far. Looks like Google Analytics isn't really meant to do this, and I can't test the alert before the bounty runs out, soooo here you go. – Dan Fabulich Feb 3 '10 at 23:30
  • Thanks :-) I think Analytics should do this... it's a great use-case for the Intelligence component. If the settings I posted don't work for you (I still believe they should), then it would be a reasonable feature request. – dwightgunning Feb 4 '10 at 6:50

I'd take the Google Analytics alert as an indicator you should take a look at your logs. Something like webalizer or awstats will give you the detail you want. Analytics is good, but it can't tell you everything your log files can.

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