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Google Analytics is a powerful tool but it doesn't know everything.  It can give you a ton of information about the performance of your web site but it doesn't know what else is going on unless you tell it.  Annotations are one of the most useful but easiest to miss features of Google Analytics and something we recommend for all of our customers.

To create an annotation, look for a tiny tab with a down arrow in any of your multi-day reports.  Click the arrow to open a drawer which will allow you to create a new annotation.  Once you have annotations, the same drawer will list your annotations as shown.

  • Annotations can be up to 160 characters and can be public for all users of your Analytics data or private.  
  • If you create a lot of Annotations you might want to star key events and you can use a filter to only see your starred annotations
  • Annotations show up on any multi-day view of our Google Analytics data as little text balloons.  Starred events have a small green star on them.

What should I annotate?

Annotations can be used for just about anything but we recommend that you track any changes to your site or your marketing activities that may have and impact on your visitors or conversion rates.

  • Running print ads?  Annotate it!
  • Booth at a trade show?  Annotate!
  • Sent a newsletter?  Annotate
  • Ran a sale?  Annotate the start AND end
  • Increased your PPC budget or changed your keywords?  Annotate!

When in doubt: annotate.  It takes a few seconds and next year when you compare month to month, you will be happy to know why you had the spike in traffic, or conversions.  You can also find similar events and compare performance between them.  



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