Add Context To Your Google Analytics Data Using Annotations


By: Drew McManus

One of the best kept secrets in Google Analytics hiding in plain sight are annotations, which are little notes you can add to the timeline. Think of it like a 160-character max digital sticky note.

Using them is very straightforward and they go a long way toward helping you keep track of variations in regular traffic patterns.

Getting started is easy, just go to the Audience > Overview section of your Google Analytics admin panel.

  1. Select the down-arrow tab right below the timeline and an options panel will toggle open.
  2. Select the + Create new annotation link and another options panel will open.

  1. Enter the date where you want to add a note.
  2. Enter your note text, 160-characters max.
  3. By default, visibility is set to shared which means all users in the account can view them. If you only want the annotation to be visible by you, select private.
  4. Select Save when done.

  1. Moving forward, you’ll now see the annotation icon on the timeline under the date you selected.
  2. When opening the Annotation panel, you’ll also see a list of all annotations. You can assign the star setting to high-priority items and filter the list using All or Starred.

That’s all there is to it but you’ll be amazed at how many times these little notes will save the day!

PRO TIP: since annotations are connected to individual users, if you remove a user from the account, all of their annotations go with them.

Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
Author Archive

4 thoughts on “Add Context To Your Google Analytics Data Using Annotations”

  1. Great article on using annotation to provide context to data from Google analytics. Is there a solution to move old UA annotation to the new Google Analytics 4?

  2. Hello Drew, thanks for the wonderful insights. However, the new GA4 seems to lack the option to migrate Universal analytics annotation data to the new property. Have any idea how I can move my old data to GA4?


Leave a Comment