How to Use Annotations in Google Analytics to Add Context

When you’re looking at data inside Google Analytics, it can be hard to remember exactly what was happening on particular days. You might see a spike in traffic for a campaign or seasonal dip for a local holiday. You might be able to open your calendar to match dates to activity, but if you’re like me, then you probably don’t have the dates of every single campaign stored in a single location for easy access and review. We use annotations with our SEO Services and PPC Management campaigns to note changes and to be able to check the effect of the changes made. It is critical to know if your changes have a positive impact on your strategy.

That’s where annotations within Google Analytics come in handy. Leaving annotations within Google Analytics provides the context you need to perform your analysis. Over time, these imitations become more useful as you’re looking at older data where the circumstances of the campaign have long left your memory.

What are Google Analytics Annotations?

Annotations Google Analytics

Annotations are short notes that you can add to dates within your Google analytics report. You can use them to document a spike in traffic for a particular marketing campaign so that then when you look back at the data, it is easier to understand.

It’s possible to create private annotations that are only visible when you log into your Google Analytics account.

If you have to Collaborate access to Google Analytics for other accounts, you have the option to create shared annotations that can be seen by anyone who has access to the reporting view. It’s possible to start the crucial annotations. Each annotation is a dress that was used to create them. It’s also possible to edit and delete annotations

How to Add Annotations in Google Analytics

To create an annotation in Google Analytics, look for the small tab below the timeline.

  1.  Click “+ Create new annotation”
  2.  Select the date for the annotation.
  3.  Enter your note.
  4. Choose the visibility of the annotation. If you only have “Read and Analyze” access, you will only be able to create private annotations.
  5. Click “Save.”

Once the annotation is saved, you’ll see a small icon on the timeline, which allows you to see that there is a note attached to the date.

When to Use Annotations

It’s a good idea to use annotations to Mark any important date within your report. Because annotations provide context, create them for any changes that may affect your data. Anything that causes an increase or decrease in traffic is essential to add as an annotation. These include things such as:

  • Email campaigns you’ve sent
  • Marketing campaigns you’ve launched
  • Any offline advertising you’re doing to reach a broad audience
  • Any significant website changes including launching a redesigned site or adding a high volume of new content
  • Any digital advertising campaign
  • Seasonal events and holidays
  • Website problems and server issues

Limitations of Google Analytics Annotations

Annotations are an excellent way to provide contacts, but there are some limitations to the feature.

 At this time, annotations are not included when you export your report. When you choose the PDF export option, you see a little icon indicates that an annotation is there, but you don’t get the details of it.

It’s only possible to create annotations for specific dates. There is no option to include a time or create an annotation for a week, month, or a custom date range. This can be quite frustrating when you have campaigns that run for weeks at a time.

There is no option to import annotations from a Google Calendar automatically. This would be wonderful for people who keep a Google Calendar of all of their campaigns because it would make creating the annotations much simpler.

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