Controlling for Time in Canary Triggers


Katie McCarthy


June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

Canary by Pagos detects unexpected changes in your transaction data (i.e. events) and alerts you to any anomalies you may want to investigate. Within Canary, you manually create event triggers, effectively telling us the limits in your data that, when crossed, signify an anomaly worth addressing. There are two types of Canary triggers—simple and relative—and they can be run on two frequencies. Daily triggers search for events every 24 hours in the data that has accumulated in the past 24 hours; hourly triggers search for events every hour in the data that has accumulated in the past hour. 

By setting the frequency at which a Canary trigger explores your data, you’re better equipped to identify changes to your data based on regular patterns in your payments volume. For example, if you experience high amounts of variation in your total payments volume (TPV) or transaction count throughout the day, you may want to configure an hourly frequency to closely monitor that variation. If, however, a metric doesn't experience much change every hour or day (e.g. chargeback rates), you may prefer to configure a daily trigger.

Introducing Time as Part of Trigger Configuration

To further customize triggers to your business and better control for variation in your data over time, you can now configure Canary triggers to run at specific hours of the day. When you create a new hourly trigger, for example, you can use the new Trigger Time field to select one or multiple hours that you would like Canary to evaluate your data for events.

There are three options for the Trigger Time field:

  • All: Canary will look for triggers every hour of every day

  • Choose one hour: Canary will look for triggers only on the hour checked

  • Choose multiple hours: Canary will look for triggers only on the hours that you checked

All time configurations are in the time zone set in your Account tab of your Pagos account settings. By putting parameters on what time of day triggers search for events, you can manually control for time-based anomaly notifications.

Why Controlling for Time Matters

Time of day can have a meaningful impact on the number of inbound transactions for an ecommerce business. When transaction volume increases or decreases, the metrics monitored by a trigger could fluctuate enough to send an event notification about normal business operations, rather than about an operational abnormality. 

This is best explained through an example! Let’s say that you have a trigger configured with the below parameters to alert you when your approval rate drops below 85% (for simplicity’s sake, we will refrain from using the trigger filters):

  • Threshold Type: Simple

  • Metric: Approval Rate

  • Direction: Below

  • Threshold: 85%

  • Frequency: Hourly

  • Trigger Time: 11AM - 1PM US EST

Your business is primarily US-based and you usually have a spike in transaction volume over US lunchtime. Let’s say that every hour between 11AM and 1PM US EST, your business’s transaction count is 10,000 transactions. That means that up to 1,500 transactions could be declined per hour (approval rate of 85%) and Canary would not detect an event. If 1,300 transactions were declined (approval rate of 87%), this would remain within normal business operations for your company. 

Conversely, because your business is primarily based in the US, your business has almost no inbound transaction volume overnight. Let’s say that at 2AM US EST, you only have five transactions. In this scenario—if the trigger was not confined to run between 11AM and 1PM US EST and instead ran every hour—a single declined transaction at 2AM would trigger an event in Canary because it would translate to an approval rate of 80%. Such an event would actually be within the scope of normal business operations, so you would ultimately disregard it.

The new Trigger Time field in Canary allows you to bypass extraneous notifications like this and spend more time on what matters most to your business. And we're just getting started: we'll release the option to use even smaller time units in a future update!

Want to Learn More?

Interested in learning more about Canary? Head over to our Pagos Product Documentation for more information about Canary and how to configure triggers and event notifications. Ready to get started?

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