Google Analytics Adds Annotation Feature



Google Analytics is one of the most robust offerings by the search giant and it manages to fly under the radar a little bit. It has almost become ubiquitous for a large number of companies that are not prospects for other analytics packages like Omniture, Coremetrics, Webtrends etc. Many will even run it concurrently with these other players that have one distinct and major difference compared to Google’s offering: they cost money.

Now, many people rail against the amount of data that Google has at its disposal as a result of their analytics offering (formerly Urchin). That’s fine and is great fodder for the Google conspiracy theory set, which is a pretty active community. On the street level though it is hard (read: impossible) to find a more robust offering that is free (another bone of contention for Google haters so go ahead and let’er rip).

Well, Google is not resting on its laurels as it has announced a new feature that allows for users of the program to include annotations on reports. Search Engine Land tells us

Following October’s release of Google Analytics new features, Google has just released another set of very cool new features. Among them is “Annotations,” a tremendously useful new feature both to analysts as well as executives, who are usually not up to date on granular details about website activity.

The annotations feature basically allows users to make comments on graphs regarding events that happened on specific days.

Here is an example of what can be done with the annotation feature:

The idea here is that there can be real collaboration between those who put together campaigns and those who see the analytics without that important data. There is nothing more dangerous than an upper level executive that sees a spike or a dip on a graph but has no idea that there may have been very good business reasons for why that type of traffic or conversion or whatever pattern exists. A simple note that outlines a “cause and effect” for the data consumer can save a lot of time and trouble.

Daniel Waisberg of Search Engine Land points out some great scenarios where this could be useful

  • The PPC team can announce major changes to their campaigns.
  • The SEO team can annotate changes to the website so that results can be tracked over time.
  • The PR team can update dates of events, enabling the tracking of offline activities into Google Analytics more easily.
  • The media buying team can provide updates of major banner campaigns.

As per usual Google does a pretty good job on its blog showing how this feature is implemented as well a other additions to the analytics tool.

Here’s to a 2010 full of real communication and good cheer!