Data without context is just empty data. In other words, your data needs a concrete context if you're going to use it for analysis and execution. And that's where Google Analytics Annotations come in.
Have you ever wondered about changes in your traffic that you can't 100% explain - because "there are no updates from Google yet"?
But when you think about it, "there was actually a campaign running" AND "your website also just had a little blip back in January/February (or was it March?)".
Annotations - or annotations in short - is a feature that allows you to note changes or additions to your website - directly in your Google Analytics report. If any notable fluctuations occur, whether positive or negative, you'll be able to quickly see what actually happened on the page during that exact time period.
And I'm not kidding when I call it the "digital logbook". Because that's what it is, in a nutshell. a logbook that provides context to your data. And who wouldn't want to understand why their website is either performing really well or the opposite - really badly?
What may seem like small, quick changes can potentially make both appropriate and inappropriate fluctuations in your data. That's why it's also important to have an overview of the changes that can have an impact.
Even with big changes like launching a new website, most people think that "I can't possibly forget that". But believe me, it is possible to forget the things that feel like big events or changes - especially if you have to look back several years later and compare your data.
And yes, you can probably find that information somewhere else in your archives.
But who wants to when you can get it ALL in one place - and get an overview at the same time?
And the importance of contextualising your data will be particularly relevant when you're comparing results next year. Because if there have been big fluctuations - either positive or negative, you want to be able to analyse or understand your company's either rise or fall.
As I mentioned earlier, annotations are an excellent tool for putting your data into context in retrospect.
But they can also be a good tool to remember to check for changes right now. Below I've made a small overview of examples of changes or additions worth annotating, as well as what to look out for.
|Measurements to watch out for
|You have sent an email campaign:
|Your website has been down for a certain period of time:
|You have announced a brand new product:
|Your company has either received a link from a national newspaper or been on TV (the news, shows etc):
|You launch new website:
|Your direct competitor has big discounts on his side:
|You have changed the tracking or contact form.
It's actually really really simple - so simple that it almost doesn't make any sense notto make them.
Click on the small arrow at the bottom to bring up a small drop down.
Click on the plus sign in the right corner where it says "create new annotation".
Choose the date you are making the change and make a short and precise description of the change.
As you can see from the graph in the example, there has been an increase between June and July. And this is exactly where you should be able to go back and see what probably caused it.
Are there more of you who have access to the Google Analytics account?
Then remember that unless you actively choose to make it private, your annotation will be visible to all users on your account
I hope you can see the value in Annotations in Google Analytics. If you need help putting your data into context, contact Webamp at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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