If you are reading this blog there is a strong possibility that you have heard the following question from a fellow team member:
“Hey guys, we looked at our Google Analytics referral report and we can see a huge drop in traffic from these important sources YOY! What happened?!”
When reviewing the Google Analytics over-time graph and screening website traffic spikes on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, the lines and graphs will not explain to you why the traffic is moving in either direction. For example, today you might have had 6,000 site views, but tomorrow you might receive over 10,000 site views. Tomorrow will be the day that your new marketing goes into effect and an email blast will be sent out driving traffic to your new monthly promotion. This is a perfect example of where Annotations would be used.
Any user with access to your Google Analytics profile can leave notes right on the
over-time graph. Instead of looking at a raw set of data and numbers an Annotation will give you a better sense of why your traffic increased or decreased.
These notes can be as simple or as detailed as you make them. Annotations can become your sticky notes for all information pertaining to your marketing endeavors or website issues. To create an Annotation, you can either click on the day you want to annotate or click on the down arrow on the bottom of the over-time graph and click on on the right side of the tool bar.
For instance, your web server might have gone down for six hours; it would be to your benefit to make an Annotation to that fact. Otherwise you would see a downward traffic spike and not know the root cause.
Beyond marking traffic spikes, Annotations can be used to mark changes to your website design or layout, mark the start and end of any campaign or notes or change of keywords.
It is a well known fact that the holidays are prime time for online retailers. A good holiday season can be the difference between what turns a company from being in the red to being in the green. The biggest, most obvious, and anticipated holiday is Christmas, which typically yields the highest traffic and sales; especially for an ecommerce website.
Unfortunately, a common mistake many online retailers continue to make is not capitalizing on the many other holidays that can also drive increased, qualified visitors and (ultimately) sales. It is important to remember that consumers are always looking for a deal and chances are… your competition is probably doing a good job of enticing them with holiday offers. As a friendly reminder, below are the holidays/seasons by month that should not be forgotten and can be taken advantage of in your pay per click initiatives. Some are religious holidays, others are simply the start of a new season, or perhaps a holiday you would never have even thought about, much less utilized to drive traffic to your website. Be creative with your ad copy, keywords and incentives; you just might be pleasantly surprised with the results!
January: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day
February: Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday
March: Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Begins
April: April Fool’s Day, Passover, Good Friday, Easter
May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
June: Flag Day, Father’s Day, Summer begins
July: Independence Day
September: Labor Day, Autumn begins, Rosh Hashanah
October: Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween,
November: All Saint’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving
December: Hanukkah, Winter begins, Christmas, Kwanzaa
I highly recommended that you start planning your marketing calendar a few months before each holiday to ensure that you will be all set with whichever promotion you choose to offer, as well as have plenty of inventory available. Happy Holidays!