Annotations are a helpful tool for adding context to your analytics. Every time you change your website, you can make a note of it in Matomo using annotations. Whether the change is as simple as a new blog post or as complicated as an entire redesign, you should keep notes. When you look back and see changes in your analytics data, your annotations can help you figure out why. And most importantly, you can act on this new information.

For example, if you run an offline marketing campaign, you might see a spike in traffic to your website without a specific tracked source. It may be obvious why your traffic increased at that moment, for example, your website being featured on TV, but this clarity may fade. Without annotations you are likely to forget the specific days that these events occurred.

Annotations allow you to maintain that context over time by adding notes for specific dates. They mean that even someone new to your business can look at your analytics and understand past events that have impacted your analytics.

Some examples of events that you may want to annotate are:

  • Website updates – Changes to content and design (new blog posts, new site design, etc.)
  • Website maintenance – Was your site offline through an update? Did your layout change?
  • Software updates – Did you update or change your technology stack?
  • Offline advertising – Have you launched any print, radio, or television campaigns?
  • Business milestones – Have you launched any new products , etc?
  • Key calendar events – For example, Black Friday or an Easter Sale.
  • Search engine updates – Have algorithm updates impacted your search rankings?
  • Events – Has your company attended industry events or trade shows?

When you see significant changes in your analytics trends, you can look at the annotations you’ve made to see if they can help identify the reason. If the change is positive, then you can take steps to replicate or lean into your changes. And if the change is negative, then these notes might help you change direction before it is too late.

While you can set up annotations for digital campaigns, campaign tagging will likely help you gain better data and insights. Instead, Annotations are best focused on things that are not automatically tagged within your analytics. If anything occurs that is important to your website, be sure that it is either tracked or annotated in Matomo, so you’ll know if it has an effect on your visits.