How to Keep Track of your Website’s History in Google Analytics?

Ever made changes to your website and then forgotten when it was that you actually made the changes?

Maybe you (or someone else) sent an email out and got a blast of traffic and then later looked at Analytics and wondered what caused the traffic to your website to spike?

Its a common problem. Changes in staff and deterioration of memory over time don’t help the situation.

Fortunately Google has recognised this, and has provided website owners with the ability to record key information in Google analytics so they never have to wonder what happened.  

Called annotations, this nifty little feature helps business never forget key marketing activities and the impact of those activities.

Creating annotation is really simple.  Here’s a step by step guide:

1. Navigate to the timeline in analytics by going to Audience and then Overview.  Once there, click on the little drop down arrow as shown in the image below.


2. Click on the date field.


3. Select the date of the marketing activity


4. Write down what occurred. In this instance, an email was sent to subscribers. Notice how the timing corresponds with a spike in website traffic. Select if you want to share the annotation with other users or keep it private and then select “Save.”

Note: private annotations means that only you will see the note whereas shared annotations means that other users of your websites analytics will see your note.


5. Once “Saved” you should see a little note icon appear in the timeline. Clicking on the note, opens up the information in the annotation.


What things should you use annotations for?

Annotations can be used for tracking:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Offline marketing campaigns like television, radio, or magazine advertising
  • The effect of promotions & contests
  • Changes to your website (including website redesigns)
  • Other marketing events like product launches
  • Key events like public holidays or seasonal events like Valetines Day, Christmas