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How to have Annotations in Data Studio Dashboards as in Google Analytics

how to have annotations in data studio dashboards as in google analytics

In this post I’m going to show you how to add Annotations from Google Analytics to Google Data Studio.

In this way, every time you change the date into your dashboard in DS, you can see the annotations of that particular time period as in Analytics.

Furthermore, using Google Sheets you can add new comments into the Spreadsheet and see them in Data Studio.

The path to follow

This is the journey I’ll follow:

  • First phase: I’ll copy the annotations from GA and paste them to Google Sheet and then I connect it as data source to Data Studio;
  • Second phase: I’ll share the Spreadsheet with anyone who can add comments in order to see the new annotations in Data Studio;

This is the flow:

schema

What’s necessary

To get the final result, here is what we need:

Step 1- Create new Spreadsheet

Let’s create a new spreadsheet with several columns:

  • Comment
  • Who
  • Date

Remember: you have to start from the cell A1:

create a new spreadsheet with several columns

Let’s go in Google AnalyticsAdminAnnotations:

annotations in google analytics

Now just select all the annotations with the mouse and copy them:

select all the annotations and copy them

Let’s go back to the Google Sheet and paste the content from cell A2, so as not to overwrite the header.

Pay attention: we don’t simple paste the content with ctrl+V or cmd+V (if you had a Mac), but click with the mouse right button and select Paste Special – Paste Values Only as you see in the image:

paste special in google sheet

Now the content’s copied into the File.

Step 2 – Change the date format

Into the Spreadsheet file, select the column with the dates inside and change the date format.

The goal: to change the date format from “Sep 8, 2020” to “08/09/2020” to make it readable at Data Studio.

Select the “Date” column, click on Format – Number – More Format – Custom Number Format.

Let’s insert the value: dd/mm/yyyy as in the image:

custom number format

Now we can delete the column with the words “Delete” that was copied when we selected the table in Google Analytics, as it is not useful for our purpose:

delete the column

Step 3 – Connect to Data Studio

In the Google Data Studio dashboard we create a new chart table and link the Gogle Sheet.

Add a new chart:

add a new table chart in data studio

Now we connect our Google Sheet with the new chart.

Click on Data Source – Add Data:

add a new data source

Select the Google Sheets Connector:

seleziona il connettore google sheets

And select the spreadsheet and the sheet you want to connect. Then click on Add:

select google sheets and click on add

Once done, let’s move on and set up the table chart with the following settings:

DATA:

  • Date Range Dimension: Date
  • Dimension: Date – Comment – Who
  • Sort: Date (Ascending)
dimensions in chart data studio

STYLE (modify the settings as you like, according to how you want the table to appear):

  • Uncheck “Show Header”: just if you do not want to display the columns’ names;
  • Table Body: select “Wrap Text”
chart table style

Step 4 – Test it

Switch your dashboard to View mode to test if all works fine.

Now, select a time period: the table chart will show the comments for that period:

data studio dashboard with annotation from google analytics

Step 5 – Enter comments in Google Sheet

Now that the comments have been copied directly into Google’s Sheets, you can also decide to share the document and give some colleagues / customers the opportunity to enter comments directly into the Spreadsheet.

In this way, every comment inserted in the Sheet will be visible also in Data Studio.

Just enter a new comment, as you see below:

add a new comment

Now, go to your dashboard and, selecting the date of the new comment (in my case September 30, 2020), you will see the new comment appear:

new comment into data studio

You can share the Spreadsheet directly from the Share button and read the official Google support for more details on sharing a document:

share a document

That’s all! 🙂


Conclusions

With this mode you have the advantage that the annotations, entered in the Google Sheet, can be dynamically displayed in the Data Studio dashboard.

By editing the table chart containing the comments, you can decide whether to show who wrote the comment, the type of annotation and the date.

Decide who to share the document with and which columns to edit.

Unfortunately it is still not possible to automatically connect GA’s annotations in Data Studio, but the Big G team is always surprising us, so..fingers crossed !


You may also be interested to the following articles:

How to implement Cookies with Google Tag Manager and Cookiebot

Track Data Studio Dashboards with one Property in Google Analytics and 4 Calculated Fields

Schedule Emails in Google Data Studio

Tracking Google Data Studio Dashboards with Google Analytics

Find Query Parameters on Google Analytics

How to track Single Page Applications with Google Tag Manager

Query Parameters and Google Analytics

How to solve the 5 million cell limit in Google Sheets

Cardinality dimensions in Google Analytics

The value (other) in Google Analytics

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