Google Analytics Annotations

Just before Christmas, Google announced that a new feature called Annotations was being introduced to its Analytics website statistics software. The idea behind Analytics Annotations was that you can easily denote specific dips or rises in traffic for future reference. This addition to Analytics was expected for some time, but it has only recently arrived here in the UK. Here we explain a little more about the possibilities of Google Analytics Annotations.

An Example Scenario

If you work in a large company that maintains a high-traffic website, any sudden changes of activity would have to be easily explained if somebody comes asking. Instead of digging through server logs or scrappy notes, Annotations can be used to easily jot down a note regarding the reason of activity change (if known, obviously). Typical reasons might be because of server downtime or a new service launch, for example. The advantage of making these notes within Analytics is that anybody who has access can trawl back through the data to easily spot specific spikes and the relevant details/people involved.

Here is an example screenshot provided by Google:

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As you can see from the example, Annotations have been used to explain new activity such as ‘Began new Adwords campaign’ and ‘Lava lamps on sale’. With these notes in place, spikes or changes in traffic can be clearly accounted for without the need to painfully think back to what might have caused it.

How to use Annotations

With this new feature now available throughout all Analytics accounts, using it is very straight forward. Simply log in to your account and click on one of the small circles on your traffic timeline (as shown above in the example). A small popup box will appear providing you with the number of visits for that specific day, and here you can click ‘Create new annotation’.

Find out more by watching this fantastic Google video:

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