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How to Leverage Annotations in Google Analytics

When looking at your website data in Google Analytics (GA), it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened on a particular day to determine why certain data spikes or dips may have occurred.

For this reason, it's important to keep track of when changes are made to your site. Thankfully, GA allows you to easily do this using annotations. Annotations are short notes you can add to dates within Google Analytics reports.


If you have "Collaborate" access in GA, you can create either shared or private annotations. If you have "Read and Analyze" access only, your annotations will be private by default, and only viewable by your user account.

You also have the option to edit and delete annotations, and can also star ones of particular importance. Here is a step-by-step tutorial of how to create them.

Instructions

1. Click the small tab below the timeline indicated by an arrow.
2. Click the "+ Create new annotation" link.
3. Select the date for the annotation.

4. Enter the note.
5. Select the visibility of the annotation (if you have "Read and Analyze" access you will only be able to create private annotations).
6. Click the "Save" button.

Why You Should Use Annotations

Let's go through an example scenario. One week ago, you placed a new ad on your article page and forgot about it. Since then, the bounce rate on your site has spiked. This jump is a clear indicator that something has changed, but you're not sure what it could be. If you were to have made an annotation in GA for the ad on the day it was placed, you would now be able to easily pinpoint the ad placement in your article page as the most likely cause of the spike.

An example GA report showing a sustained peak on March 22 and onward with an annotation placed a few days prior that explains the reason for the spike — the site officially launched on March 20.

Annotations in Google Analytics can also help your your editorial team track outcomes from changes made to their normal editorial workflow. These changes could include things such as article length, byline strategy, overall composition (like assembler layouts), or SEO strategy. The data gained from using GA annotations to track these changes can inform how editorial teams guide their content creation in the future.

Limitations of Google Analytics Annotations

  • Annotations are not included in exported GA reports (the icon will be visible on the PDF format option, but there will be no included information).
  • Annotations exist only for individual dates, and not for an entire time frame.

If you have any questions about how to set up annotations in Google Analytics and optimize them for your RebelMouse site, contact your account manager today.

How to Include Interactive Elements in Posts

Enhance your articles with rich and creative media

Every article is a fresh chance to grab new readers and nurture loyal followers. This is why we give creators every opportunity to build content rich with media elements that enhance every reader's experience.

Add More Layers to Your Content

You can easily add interactive elements, like charts, to posts on our platform. For example, if you need to embed iframe code into a post, this can be done via our Add Media Bar. To do so, click the code icon (< >):

A text box will appear so you can insert your code:

Embedded Code Across Platforms

One important thing to keep in mind is that Google AMP, AppleNews, and Facebook Instant Articles will not always support embedded code. So if you use an iframe, it's best to turn off distribution to those channels for that particular post. If you have a lot of posts that require embedded code, this could be problematic for growth across those important platforms.

If you do want to use an iframe on a post destined for Google AMP distribution, it can be possible if the iframe is not at the top of the page or within the first 75% of the viewport when the page is scrolled to the top (whichever is smaller). AMP is a fast technology designed for mobile users and iframes are loaded using arbitrary timing that AMP's technology cannot ensure. For this reason, it's suggested that iframes be included in places that are not visible by users upon load.

If you have an article that needs to include an iframe at the top of the page, or within the first 75% of the viewport, AMP can be turned off for that individual article within Entry Editor.

If you don't need an interactive chart to be interactive in nature, can turn it into an image and upload it directly to your post. This way it will work on all platforms, including Google AMP, Apple News, and Facebook Instant Articles. This option, when possible, is ideal to ensure you're optimized for page speed.

Take Advantage of Shortcodes

Another great way to embed media is through our shortcodes functionality. Click here to learn more about shortcodes. Shortcodes can also inserted using the Add Media Bar. Click the brackets icon ([ ]) to choose the shortcode you want to use.

Here's an example of a chart on an article page that's been inserted using a shortcode:

If you have any questions about how to add interactive elements to your content, please email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager today.

Shortcodes Dashboard: Dynamic Media in Just a Few Clicks

Create multidimensional content with easy-to-find shortcodes

We believe static media is dead, and that every piece of content should be multidimensional and engaging. This is why our platform enables creators so they can add dynamic media to their content in easy and efficient ways.

One simple way to add interactive content to any post is through the use of shortcodes. Shortcodes are small snippets of code that are easier to remember than longer sequences. They typically will activate a feature or embed media into an article.

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