What are Google Analytics notes?

Google Analytics has a new feature that allows you to create notes for your statistics. With Google Analytics notes you can attach a description or a comment to any date in your graph. It is just a matter of clicking a point in your graph, and then, writing down your annotations.

Why are Google Analytics notes so important?

This feature is very interesting because, till now, you had to keep a changelog for any maintained sites. But by embedding notes straight from Google Analytics, attached to specific dates, you can keep your historic of changes together with your statistics.

In a nutshell: with Google Analytics notes you better understand how is your site behaving. And only by understanding your measures you could optimize your site.

Adding notes in Google Analytics

The best 5 ways to use Google Analytics notes

Since you can write your annotations in Google analytics to understand perfectly how it works (and being thus able to improve it), now the key is writing only those notes that are really meaningful.

For me, these are the 5 best ways to write notes in Google Analytics:

  • Write notes with brief descriptions of your major site changes. That is, adding lots of new content, changing the website design, modifying the site navigation, and so on. After all, website analytics were designed to measure scientifically how human users and search engines navigate your site, so you have to pay special attention to strong changes in your statistics from that "major site changes" mark.
  • Write a comment when any part of your homepage changes. Most returning users don't bookmark inner pages in your site: they just type the address of its homepage. And, of course, most new users are guided straight to your homepage. On top of that, your homepage is usually the main page rank distributor to the rest of your site. So any subtle change on your homepage could deeply impact both your users and search engines. And that's why you should pay attention after the "homepage changed" note in Google Analytics.
  • Add a new note when any promotional campaign starts. When you put any special effort in a promotional campaign (either AdSense PPC, e-mailing, link building, and so on), you have to measure its impact. Is your campaign worth your time and effort? Does it attract new traffic? Now, you just have to look at your Analytics after the "promotional campaign started" annotation.
  • Add annotations to your Analytics whenever you publish a new article, blog post or site page. If you really have the good habit of posting high quality content each day, this amount of notes could become overwhelming. Nevertheless, if you just update your contents once a week or less, it is important to measure how your content writing efforts affect your analytics. Check the "new content title" tag inside your Google Analytics graph and discover what is your best kind of content for traffic building purposes.
  • Write a note whenever you detect a traffic spike in your statistics. That is, when a lot of users suddenly access your site, you register a peak in the graphs of Google Analytics. Finding the cause of such spikes is usually very easy: just look at your traffic sources. It will mostly be caused by a link pointing to your site from a very popular site. This way, these eye-catching traffic spikes won't distract you too much when understanding the subtle meaning of your Google Analytics statistics, now being marked with the "traffic spike cause" note below. And keep an eye trying to repeat such useful spikes.

Starred notes in Google Analytics

Specially meaningful annotations can be marked with a star icon, so you can filter out such less-important notes by selecting the starred option.

My suggestion is that you should try to mark everything in your statistics using these Google Analytics notes, because that will give you lots of fine-grain information. Couple this with the new Google Analytics Intelligence feature and you will be discovering tiny details that can really influence your results.

Nevertheless, Analytics notes are a time-saver feature. If you want to perform a broader analysis than the default last month statistics glance (let's say, a one year analytics report), you won't need lots of annotations - trust the most important, starred notes to get the big picture.

Google Analytics notes are a great way to understand and at glance the results of your Internet marketing efforts. Quick statistical understanding is the key to measure and optimize. So take advantage of this new time saving feature of Google Analytics when tracking your statistics. Use it wisely, following these best 5 ways to use Google Analytics notes

From the original online marketing consulting report by E. Serrano


Gigi said...

Thanks for pointing out this feature. It's really helpful, and very easy to miss apparently!