This blog post will answer the question of anomaly detection, some of its benefits, where you can find it, and finally, how to use it. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to access and use anomaly detection easily.
Let’s get started with defining anomaly detection.
What’s An Anomaly?
In Google Analytics 4, an anomaly means something that’s an outlier or isn’t normally seen in your GA4 events or actions.
A good example of an anomaly is outliers in data, for example:
- An unexpected decrease in web traffic or,
- A sharp increase in credit card transactions processed at unexpected locations
Now that you understand what an anomaly is in Google analytics 4, let’s look into how detecting anomalies can help your business.
Benefits of Using Anomaly DetectionWhen these anomalies occur, you need a detection tool to enable you to know what is going on. Once you know exactly what is happening, you can identify potential opportunities and stop potential threats. A good example of the practical applications of anomaly detection includes the following:
- An e-commerce business that’s alerted to spikes in demand for new products based on the anomalies of sudden interest in a product from customers
- A business blog identifying spikes in web traffic due to a recently published post. It can enable the owner to double down on the popular blog topic
How to Find Anomaly the Anomaly Detection Feature GA4?
You can access anomaly detection in GA4 via Google Analytics Insights. It’s not possible to view it from the menu, so to access it, click the Insights icon that is available on the top right of your Google Analytics homepage.
Once you click the insights button, you can scroll down and click ‘View all insights’ to view all available insights.
Under each insight, you can see the points where anomalies occur in the visualization.
Now let’s learn more about Automatic Anomaly detection.
Automatic Anomaly Detection Via GA4 Insights
By default, Anomalies are automatically detected within GA4, and you can view them from within the insights panel.
To use anomaly detection, you need to sign into your Google Analytics account and select the demo account.
Select the GA4 – Google Merchandise Store property and not the Universal analytic property (UA – Google Merchandise Store).
You must use the Google Merchandise Store from the Demo Account to properly understand anomaly detection. You can get the instructions on how to use the demo account from Google answers.
The reason why you must use the Google Merchandise Store property is that it’s the only property that has available insights. And it contains real business data, which you can use to experiment with all the features of Google Analytics 4.
Next, click on ‘Insights’ on the homepage.
Google Analytics presents you with various insights, such as users from sources and conversions from users. You can see the expected and actual values when you hover over the charts.
You can expand any insight by clicking the expand window at the bottom of the card.
Google Analytics ensures that you understand the insights by explaining each insight and giving you a visualization.
Custom Anomaly Detection via Custom Insights
You can also use custom insights for anomaly detection. This means you build an ‘Insight’ from scratch and customize it.
By creating a custom insight, you can set the evaluation frequency (hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly). You can also add conditions, e.g., device type or location.
In this blog, you have learned how to use anomaly detection on Google Analytics. As you’ve seen, anomaly detection can help you with various capabilities, such as predicting a spike in demand for a particular product.
This feature in GA4 is quite important, and can ensure that you know more about your users needs.
Keep working with anomaly detection to get the best out of Google Analytics 4.