Adding Business Data to Google Analytics Data

I know the past week has been full of Google Analytics news, but I’m excited to tell you about something one of our team members created: Google Analytics Notes.

For a long time we’ve wanted to add business data to GA to help keep track of marketing activities, industry news and GA configuration changes. These things are critical to know when analyzing data as they add more context and help us understand what’s affecting website performance.

We tried using Google Spreadsheets to store business info but it never worked. People did not take the time to open up a spreadsheet and add information. We figured that adding some type of ‘note’ functionality to GA would be the easiest way to change this behavior. That’s how GA Notes was born.

GA Notes is a Firefox extension that lets you add business data to a profile. Notes appear in a concealable table at the top of every report.

Any GA user who views a profile, and has the Firefox extension, will see the notes entered for the profile. You can add notes, edit notes and delete notes. Notes can also be exported in XML format for archival purposes.

Installation

Installing GA Notes is easy. Just download the following file to your computer:

https://ga-notes.appspot.com/ganotes.xpi

Once downloaded double click on the file. Firefox should open and ask if you want to install the extension. Click install and that’s it. You’re ready to start adding notes to your GA data.

Usage

The extension adds a ‘Show Notes’ button in the GA menu bar. Click on the button to view notes for this profile or to add a note or edit/delete an existing note. It’s not that complicated. :) We wanted to keep this easy and flexible.

How it Works

For those of you that are interested, GA Notes runs on Google’s App Engine. No data is stored on your machine or our servers. It’s stored on Google’s servers. The Firefox extension provides the interface to enter and display data. But all of the processing and data storage happens on App Engine. All data sent to App Engine is encrypted prior to transmission.

In a perfect world we would have added notes to the data-over-time graph at the top of each report. However, we can’t get inside that part of GA using a Firefox extensions (or Greasemonkey script). We thought this was a good compromise. If anyone out there knows how to dig into Flash let us know! :)

Road Map

This is obviously a beta version of the software. We have a number of features that we’re working on and hope to have done soon. These include:

  • Sorting and searching notes by date
  • Excel friendly export
  • An admin flag for notes to separate admin changes to your GA account
  • Some type of alert to show you how many new notes have been added since your last login
  • A more graphical visualization of note

If you have any suggestions or ideas please let us know!

Credit

I don’t have the smarts to build these types of things, I just know enough to be dangerous. Chris, a new member of our team, built GA Notes from the ground up. Thanks Chris for all the hard work.

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    Comments

    1. Kate says

      This is such a great tool! I’ve been using it for months now. Unfortunately, since I updated my browser to FF 3.5, the notes feature no longer works. Any chance this will be updated? Thanks again for the great tool!

    2. Brian West says

      Would you all consider setting up an email form to alert folks when ganotes is updated for 3.5? Its such a useful tool…

    3. Donna says

      Hi this plug-in sounds great!! I’m having trouble installing it. I’ve tried downloading it with IE and FF but no luck – anyone else having the same problem?

    4. says

      I am looking forward on getting the addon updated for FF 3.5 so i can retrieve my notes while surfing on my different GA profiles.

      Really useful.

      Thanks

    5. says

      have tried this add on but since i am on a mac i cant get it to run at all which is a real shame because i was looking forward to seeing it working but thanks for the infomation will try again once i have my windows computer fixed next week and let you know how i got on

      andy

    6. Charles says

      Yes – I second Justin!

      Please get an update out to work with the latest versions of FF!

      It’s a really useful tool, and I’ve got a load of notes in it …

      THX

    7. says

      I second Kate’s comment. I was using it all the time. Will the notes we made be gone with the new version? I wouldn’t have upgraded FireFox if I had known it was going to kill GAnotes. Who knows why GA doesn’t implement this themselves…

    8. says

      Thanks everyone for the comments and sorry for the delay responding. We’ve been very busy and have been trying to dedicate time for GA Notes. I’m hoping to allocate some time to our developers soon.

      Thanks for your patience!

      Justin

    9. says

      Justin,

      I’ve noticed the ganotes is no longer compatible with the latest version of firefox and that you haven’t released a new version of ganotes for some time now. I run a software development company (part of what we do for social media clients) and we’d be happy to take over the maintenance.

      I have to admit its not just for the common well being. I’m LOST without my ganotes since I’ve updated to the latest version of firefox and I wouldn’t have upgraded had I known that ganotes functionality would be gone…it’s that important to what I do.

    10. says

      Hi,

      Just found this and can’t believe I haven’t seen it before – fantastic plugin!

      Only problem is some people here use FF v3.5 – I know you said you’re trying to find the time to update but thought I’d just add my vote to the pile!

      Is there any way of getting a notification when this update becomes available?

      Many thanks,
      Tim.

    11. Ryan says

      This version doesn´t seem to be compatible with Firefox 3.6 and I can´t find where to download an updated version. Suggestions?

      Ryan

    Trackbacks

    1. [...] With any luck, your business changes. You send out emails, run new campaigns (online and offline), make changes to your pages and other things that could impact your web results. However, most companies do a terrible job of documenting when these changes occurred and correlating them to their web analytics results. It would be great to have this information in your web analytics solution, but you could also run a private wiki that lets everyone on your team leave documentation about these changes. If your team using Google Analytics and the FireFox browser you can use the just released Google Analytics Notes. [...]

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    4. [...] Adding Business Data to Google Analytics Data“We tried using Google Spreadsheets to store business info but it never worked. People did not take the time to open up a spreadsheet and add information. We figured that adding some type of ‘note’ functionality to GA would be the easiest way to change this behavior. That’s how GA Notes was born.” [...]

    5. [...] Adding Business Data to Google Analytics Data “We tried using Google Spreadsheets to store business info but it never worked. People did not take the time to open up a spreadsheet and add information. We figured that adding some type of ‘note’ functionality to GA would be the easiest way to change this behavior. That’s how GA Notes was born.” [...]

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