How To Add Annotations To The Google Analytics Graph

September 27, 2014 · 43 comments

in Internet Marketing

How To Add Annotations To The Google Analytics Graph

How To Add Annotations To
The Google Analytics Graph

google analytics logoCan you remember exactly what you did 45 days ago that caused a traffic spike?

How about the dip 9 days before that?

And the other peak a week before that?….

While I can easily remember this weeks most recent changes that brought in traffic, keeping track of all up and down over an extended period just isn’t possible with the amount of other information I’m required to keep between my ears!

Also, data that’s living in my ears can not easily be offered to a coach, mentor, consultant when seeking advice on improving traffic!

Making Notes In Google Analytics

Fortunately, making small notes, known as “annotations” along the Google Analytics time-line is easy.

(All of this assumes of course that you have Google Analytics set up, the plugin installed if needed, and at least a couple of days data!)

1. Log into your Google Analytics account… select the domain you want to look at and once inside click the “Reporting” tab (which is at the very top).

2. Here, you need to note 2 items. First note the little tiny down-arrow (down-tab?) right below the timeline. The second, that you will not have until after you’ve made annotations is the little “quote” (blurb?) bubbles under date-points that indicate existing annotations exist for that date. 

google-analytics-annotations-1

3. Click on this down-arrow (down-tab) to open up the annotations menu.

4.  That will open a Annotation panel below the graph. Here you can select a date, enter the note, and click Save.

google-analytics-annotations-2

What types of things do I add as notes? Examples include:

1) Unique content that appears as though it may go viral (or did go viral)

2) Days my analytics plugin or script was accidentally deactivated (oops!)

3) Times that I have had site related trouble that may have impacted people’s ability to get to and read my stuff

4) Product launches

5) Notes on when Google changes algorithms (Like Penguin or Panda updates)

6) And anything else that may impact my traffic.

These notes let me keep track of what was going on and did (or did not) yield more traffic.

5. Once you click save the annotation is added and a tiny “comment bubble” is added near the bottom of the time-line right below the data point. These bubbles let you easily check the note and know which points already have notes. Extremely Handy!

That’s all there is to it! A simple little way to make sure you don’t come back in six months or a year and wonder what some particular dip/spike was all about!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully this helps you understand how to add annotation notes to google analytics and spare yourself some headache down the road! If you like it, please share it, book mark it and leave me a comment! I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing

Post originally published May 21st, 2012 and updated Sept 27th, 2014

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41 comments
GillianWright
GillianWright

Wow great post Kim. I didnt even know about how to check my Google Analytics so this was a real eyeopener for me:)


Thanks again


Gillian

machnolee
machnolee

What!? That's great information. I've just been trying to remember this stuff.

Sueblimely
Sueblimely

Hi Kim, I must admit that much of Google Analytics is still a mystery to me and although I check stats on here I don't go into it all in a lot of detail. I didn't realize that I could make annotations but see how handy they are.

Nile
Nile

I do this for some of my clients that have me do campaigns for them. It's easy and lets both the client and myself see what's going on in the overview before clicking over and viewing the goals that were set.

Leanne Chesser
Leanne Chesser

Awesome. I had no idea I could add annotation notes to Google analytics. It'll be really helpful!

Julieanne van Zyl
Julieanne van Zyl

what a fantastic way to record historic statistical details, and make them easy to find again. You're so good at uncovering all these useful tools Kim!

Siphosith
Siphosith

Wow . This is a smart way of remembering what you have done over a period of time and just tracking stuff, had not heard of this. Thanks for sharing.

Clint Butler
Clint Butler

You know I never knew that Google had that feature in their analytics! I always meant to play around with it more to be able to pull out as much data as possible, however never got around to it.

Much like never getting around to starting my marketing journal so I can keep track of my work....hangin my head in shame now.

Thanks for the research on this one Kim, really appreciate it!

Willena Flewelling
Willena Flewelling

This is helpful to know! Like tracking links on an email campaign... it's good to know what's working and what isn't.

Chery Schmidt
Chery Schmidt

Hello Kim, It has been a while since I took a look at my analytics, so I pulled this up and Wow What an Awesome little trick I went ahead and tryed this out right away..

You my friend are always full of such great little tips..Thanks for all you do.. Chery :))

Alan Jenkin
Alan Jenkin

I didn't know this was possible, Kim - I suspect there is a lot more to Google Analytics that I have never found out! I can see how this will be very useful in the future, and am already taking advantage of it.

One questions: what is the difference between a shared and a private annotation? Is there a particular benefit to either one?

Alan

David Bennett
David Bennett

Thanks for pointing this out. I never thought to wonder whether it could even be done.

Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson

I need to start better analytics strategy. I think adding annotations is a great way to get started. I can track every post I publish. See how capture pages are doing when launched in relation to traffic and be able to anaylze past viral posts. Everytime i visit your site Kim I learn so much! Thanks

Karen Peltier
Karen Peltier

I have Google Analytics installed for my blog, but many parts of it are still a "mystery." I had no idea you could add annotations! Now that I know I can, I'm definitely going to start employing this handy feature. I can see how it would be so valuable in tracking site traffic and making heads or tails of why their might be spikes or dips in activity.

Thanks Kim for sharing this great tip!

David Merrill 101
David Merrill 101

We always here to "test, test, test". But unless we properly analyze our tests, they do little good.

This is a great way, Kim, for us to keep track of what's working, why and when... over a specified period of time.

Excellent way to know what to do next, based on what worked best in the past.

Thanks, Kim. This is really helpful.

Mark
Mark

Thanks Kim!

I really had no idea about this particular feature within Google Analytics.

And it's extreme good to know going forward.I can readily see what an extremely practical feature that it is and therefore, how useful it can be it the future.

BTW, what type of software are you using to make your screen shots?

Or are you simply using the "printscreen" feature on your keyboard? Thanks!

Shelley Alexander
Shelley Alexander

Hi Kim, Thanks for sharing how to add annotations to my Google Analytics account. I am going to do this now!

Rachel Lavern
Rachel Lavern

Hi Kim,

Like you, I don't have a challenge remembering really recent changes that brought traffic to my site, but if you ask me to keep track of that data over an extended period, I am in trouble. Great to know about the Google Analytics annotations.

Lucy Davies
Lucy Davies

Hi Kim! That's a fantastic feature that I didn't even know was available - I can see how it can make the graph so much more meaningful when you look back at it. I'll be having a play with adding some annotations this week :-)

Nathaniel Kidd
Nathaniel Kidd

Wow I did not know you could even do this. I like this option because I truly forget all of the different things I try and some do give me a big boost in traffic. Being able to make annotations truly will help me in the future to refer back. Thank you.

nick catricala
nick catricala

Kim,

my list of great tips from you is getting so long, I cannot keep up implementing everything as fast as you share them.. but hey, I have them..

Thanks so much for this great tip.. it is sure useful.

_nickc

Rameez
Rameez

Now Google improve their analytics account so now you can easily track your visitors and leads. You don't need to use any other tool for evaluating your performance whether you are going ups and downs.There are plenty options are available like annotations and so on

Disha Sharma
Disha Sharma

Hi Kim,

Great post. I do not more use Google Analytics but I think anything must be in mind related to Google Analytics so thanks to you for this wonderful article.

Goran Giertz
Goran Giertz

Well written for explanation to others. Now Google needs to let us tag them by type of note, some of my sites have long lists of updates.

Hans Schoff
Hans Schoff

Hey Kim, I discovered the annotation feature when I first discovered analytics and it has helped a lot as far as being able to remember why traffic irregularities occurred with different sites. Great tool and feature, one less thing to have to remember!

Pubudu
Pubudu

Though i use Google analytics i've never used this feature.It looks really useful. Thanks.

Pete Goumas
Pete Goumas

Thanks for the step by step guide Kim and soon I will add annotations to the google analytics graph.

Byrl Lane
Byrl Lane

This is awesome, looks like the FB analytics page. Which is very easy to use while being informative at the same time. I'm looking forward to using this new tool.

Sadie-Michaela Harris
Sadie-Michaela Harris

Hello Kim!

Oh, what a wise lady you are! That's simple yet brilliant, I LIKE that lots! As always you've provided a fool proof guide, step by step, Jeez we'll all Google Analytics boffins in a minute! Yeah Kim, thanks very much for this tip, I'll be off to share now hither and thither! :)

Joe
Joe

Unfortunately this no longer works. I miss how easy it used to be adding annotations.

Mika Castro
Mika Castro

You helped me a lot Kim! Especially on how to make notes in Google. I am glad that you taught me on how to use it.

Noel Addison
Noel Addison

Adding annotations helps us completely understand the analytics! really nice tip Kim.

Amanda
Amanda

Thanks a lot,Kim, for sharing this important information. I always use Google Analytics to control everything and to follow the statistics. And as far as I understood it will be useful for me to use annotations on it

kimberly
kimberly

Thank you for sharing your the info with regards to adding annotations to

google analytics. It has helped me. Thank you so much!

Sadie-Michaela Harris
Sadie-Michaela Harris

That smashing information that everyone will benefit from knowing. Oh how I love all the geeky stuff that brings clarity to our businesses, there are always people we can share this stuff with! :)

Edyta
Edyta

Hi Kim,

Thanks for very useful post.

It seems very easy to add annotations. I didn't understand why you need to add annotations. Can you give me some example? Thanks.

Nik
Nik

Thanks Kim, something I never thought about doing since I had some issues in the past which I am sure I will forget if I don't capture them properly.

Peter Fuller MBA
Peter Fuller MBA

Hey Kimberly, thanks for the cool tip, just added my first annotation

Kim Castleberry
Kim Castleberry

Ms Sadie if you keep up those kind words you're going to give me an ego girlfriend! LOL! Thank you for your kind words (and sharing)

Kim

Joe
Joe

I see that. Thanks Kim. I know it's only a difference of a couple seconds, but I still miss how easy it used to be.

Best,