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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
Analytics can tell us what happened, but it often struggles with the why. As analysts, that job falls to us. It's incredibly useful for us to be able to provide our own context, and provide more background about what's happening on our site. So in this case, we can see that the visits went up, but why? Was it a great blog post? Did we run a particularly effective ad campaign? Was that the day the site went haywire, and counted every visitor five times? As we research this, we'll want to treat the answers to that with as much care as we treat the original raw data. Particularly if we work in a group where multiple people will be accessing the same profiles, we can use annotations to inform them of these events, changes, and perhaps explain some of these anomalies to the site data.
However, even if you work alone, these can be extremely useful if you remember six months from now what you changed today, and what happened, and what the results of your research was. So to help in that, you can now add these helpful annotations to your graph, to help remember these significant changes and events. We simply click on this little drawer button down here, which will open the annotations app. From here, we can see what previous annotations were. In this case, I've already made some notes about what happened here. As we can see, this was the day that an e-mail marketing campaign was launched. I also have the ability to go in and create a new annotation.
Our first option over here is Visibility. We can make this a Shared or a Private note. Shared will be amongst other people who have access to this GA account and this profile will be able to visit. If I set it to Private, that means that only the specific user logged in to this account, such as myself, will be able to view this annotation. You only have the ability to edit and delete annotations for an account that was made under your own user name. So I can type in here -- let's say there was a promotion on the blogger.com homepage. Now, if I go ahead and save that, we will see that this was the case here, and I will be able to remember that each time I come back to this account, and we'll have that information for future reference, for myself and for others.
We can use annotations to document and show things like when profile changes were made, such as when we applied a new filter, when we set up new goals, when we linked an AdWords account, when we started advertising, when we enabled Ecommerce; any major change to a profile or an account should be noted. We can also detect significant anomalies, and maybe some of the possible causes. Even if it's known, unknown, suspected; any information that we can add that will help ourselves, or the next person researching, we want to go ahead and note. Annotations allow us to provide context and meaning to the data that will save our team a tremendous amount of research time, preserve that information for future analysis, and help us spot and explain trends and events that impact your business, both for good and for bad.
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