Google Analytics 4 Annotations Tutorial

Table of Contents for Google Analytics 4 Annotations Tutorial

  1. Introduction to Google Analytics Annotations
  2. Steps to register and log in to the GA Annotations Chrome extension
  3. Steps to create annotations in GA Annotations dashboard
  4. Steps to create CSV upload of annotations
  5. Steps to delete annotations
  6. When to use annotations in Google Analytics

Introduction to Google Analytics Annotations

While analyzing your reports in Google Analytics, you might have noticed a sudden spike in traffic for specific dates. This sudden rise in traffic could be due to some marketing campaign that you launched on the same day. However, it is hard to remember dates all the time. Even if, in the future, you are checking your past data, you may not be able to recollect the reason for a sudden spike in traffic on a specific day.

That’s when Google Analytics Annotations come into the picture. Google Analytics Annotations are short notes that you can add to the dates in your reports. You can add these notes to easily identify the dates when you launched a campaign or released something major online. 

There are two types of annotations:

  • Private annotations
  • Shared annotations

Private annotations are visible only to you when you log in to your Google Analytics reports.

Shared annotations are visible to anyone who has access to your Google Analytics reports. Users with collaborative access to Google Analytics will be able to create annotations and share them with other users. 

In Universal Analytics, you have an option to add annotations from the UI. However, Google Analytics 4 doesn’t have that capability. To solve this problem, you can use a Chrome extension called GA Annotations, which allows you to add annotations to a GA4 property.

 
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Steps to register and log in to the GA Annotations Chrome extension

Let’s see how to create our profile to use the GA Annotations extension.

Step-1: Load the URL in your Chrome browser- https://www.gaannotations.com/

Step-2: Click on ‘Add to Chrome’. It’s a free extension.

Step-3: Now, click on the extensions in your Chrome browser. Look for Google Analytics Annotations and pin the extension. 

Step-4: Click on the Google Analytics Annotations extension that you have pinned and you will be requested to either log in or register. Click on ‘Register’.

Step-5: You’ll be redirected to another tab, with the registration form as shown below. Enter your name, email address and password.

Step-6: Accept the privacy policy and then click on the ‘Register’ button.

Step-7: Once the registration is completed, click again on the pinned extension in the Chrome browser and click on ‘Login’.

Step-8:  Enter the login credentials and click on the ‘Sign in’ button.

Step-9: You will now be redirected to the GA Annotations dashboard page.

Steps to create annotations in the GA Annotations dashboard

Step-1:  After you are logged in, you will now be on the GA Annotations dashboard page.

Step-2: Click on the ‘+ Add annotations’ from the left-hand side.

Step-3: On the right-hand side you will see an option to enter the details of the annotation as show below:

Step-4: Enter the event name, category, select Google Analytics property in which you would like to create annotation, and click on the ‘Add’ button.

Step-5: Now, log in to your Google Analytics reports and click on the GA Annotations extension. Click on the ‘Apply’ button’

Note:  These annotations work for both universal and also GA4 properties. 

Step-6: In your GA4 property, click on the ‘Acquisition’ tab from the left-hand side menu.

Step-7: Click on the ‘Overview’ tab from the left-hand side menu.

Step-8: Select the date range as May 17th (since we have added annotation for the same date) from the date range selector available on the top right-hand side.

Step-9:  On the acquisitions overview graph, you will notice an annotation got added, as shown below.

Step-10: Since this extension works for both universal and GA4, it will also show up in a Universal Analytics property. To view, click on ‘Audience overview’ and on 17th May you will see the added annotation.

Steps to create CSV upload of annotations

Step-1: Log in to the GA Annotations Chrome extension using the URL https://app.gaannotations.com/login

Step-2: Click on ‘CSV upload’ from the left-hand menu.

Step-3: Once you click on the CSV upload, on the right-hand side you will notice an option to download a sample CSV file. 

Step-4: Open the CSV file that you have downloaded and you will notice details, such as category, event name, URL, description and annotation date, as shown below.

Step-5: Lets add a few more items in the same csv and save it as shown below.

Step-6: Now navigate to the annotations page and click on the ‘CSV upload’ and choose the file you have saved.

Step-7: Select the date format for your CSV upload.

Step-8: Click on ‘Upload’.

Step-9: Click on the GA Annotations Chrome extension and click on ‘Apply’. GA annotations should now appear in the reports.

Step-10: In GA reports, you will notice the annotations have been added.

Steps to delete annotations

Step-1: Log in to the GA Annotations Chrome extension using the URL https://app.gaannotations.com/login

Step-2: Click on the ‘Annotations’ from the left-hand side menu.

Step-3: When you click on ‘Annotations’, on the right-hand side you will notice all the annotations created.

Step-4: In the ‘Action’ column, click on the bin icon to delete the annotation.

When to use annotations in Google Analytics

Annotations can be used to mark important dates in your reports. Below are some of the cases when you may consider creating annotations

  • New marketing or email campaign that you’ve launched
  • Any major changes that were done to your website
  • Any seasonal campaigns or offers that you’ve published on the website, for example, at Christmas or Halloween, etc.
  • Any offline marketing like TV or media advertising
  • Digital advertising like search or display.

Congratulations! You have now successfully learned how to add annotations in your Google Analytics 4 property using the GA Annotations Chrome extension.

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