How To Add Annotations To The Google Analytics Graph

September 27, 2014 · 38 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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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Fuller MBA June 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm

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

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Nik November 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

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.

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Edyta November 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

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.

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Sadie-Michaela Harris November 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

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! :)

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kimberly November 16, 2011 at 3:47 am

Thank you for sharing your the info with regards to adding annotations to
google analytics. It has helped me. Thank you so much!

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Amanda November 21, 2011 at 3:22 am

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

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Noel Addison December 9, 2011 at 6:34 am

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

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Mika Castro December 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

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.

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Joe May 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

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

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Kim Castleberry May 22, 2012 at 4:42 am

Hey Joe, I just updated this post for you :)
Kim

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Joe May 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

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,

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Sadie-Michaela Harris May 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

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! :)

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Kim Castleberry May 22, 2012 at 4:15 am

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) <3
Kim

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Byrl Lane May 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm

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.

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Pete Goumas May 22, 2012 at 6:38 am

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

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Pubudu May 23, 2012 at 3:31 am

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

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Hans Schoff June 27, 2012 at 12:44 am

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!
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Goran Giertz July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

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.

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Disha Sharma February 12, 2013 at 12:18 am

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.

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Rameez July 12, 2013 at 12:01 am

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

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nick catricala September 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm

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
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Nathaniel Kidd September 28, 2014 at 12:30 am

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.
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Lucy Davies September 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

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 :-)
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Rachel Lavern September 28, 2014 at 7:28 pm

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.
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Shelley Alexander September 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Hi Kim, Thanks for sharing how to add annotations to my Google Analytics account. I am going to do this now!
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Mark September 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

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!
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David Merrill 101 September 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

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.
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Karen Peltier September 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm

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!
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Kyle Nelson September 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm

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
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David Bennett October 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for pointing this out. I never thought to wonder whether it could even be done.
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Alan Jenkin October 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

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
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Chery Schmidt October 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm

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 :))
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Willena Flewelling October 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

This is helpful to know! Like tracking links on an email campaign… it’s good to know what’s working and what isn’t.
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Clint Butler October 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

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!
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Siphosith October 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

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.
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Julieanne van Zyl October 12, 2014 at 5:33 am

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!
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Leanne Chesser October 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

Awesome. I had no idea I could add annotation notes to Google analytics. It’ll be really helpful!
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Nile October 13, 2014 at 1:51 pm

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.
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