Google Analytics 101: Annotations Feature

Whether novice or pro, the annotations feature in Google Analytics (GA) is one feature your entire organization should be using. Earlier this year it became available to all GA account users and is one of the most simple features to use. Not only can it have a huge impact on tracking and monitoring site traffic, it will save you eons of time when going back historically to understand what components had the highest influence on generating traffic to and actions on your site.

What is the Annotation Feature in Google Analytics?
The annotation feature allows GA users to add notes to a website profiles’ traffic, they can share these with other users of this profile or mark them private. See example below. Notations were made to indicate when internal IP traffic was filtered, when an action to promote the site was performed and when campaigns launched.

What are the benefits of this feature and how can they make a difference for you and your company?
There are many spokes to an organization’s wheel such as PR, marketing, and customer service. In addition, there are the spokes that are not entirely under our control like social media channels. Since there are so many moving parts in an organization it is difficult to keep track of what may be influencing or impacting your daily web traffic.

The annotation feature in GA allows users to tell a story through site statistics. Perhaps major site changes were made, a new campaign was launched or a high profile blogger mentioned your company. These are just a few of the types of items that can be notated in the time-length of your web stats in GA. The possibilities are endless when logging and reviewing quarterly activity within your company – what happened this month, last month, the past 90 days? By allowing all departments to add notes to the site traffic they can provide insight into how their efforts are effecting the overall mission and understand which activities were most successful.

Think of annotations as a shortcut to digging into that spike in traffic or boost in sales. If you can follow traffic on a specific date or length of time when a specific campaign was launched you will be providing yourself and your team with a visual on its performance.

I’ve included a 58 second demo video from Google on their annotation feature below, enjoy and get to posting the notations in your stats regularly for the benefit of your entire team.

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