Piwik Analytics – Annotating Your Data

It’s reporting time again, analysts. You’re getting ready for your weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly report to show to upper management and/or clients. The process of collecting the data might be a breeze, but, man, analyzing the data gets tough when you have to remember all those dates when the social, marketing, sales, and content teams pushed out their creative work to the masses. And then you have to recall that time in the last X days, weeks, or months that IT rolled out those new changes? On top of that, there are offline events that impact your web analytics. Collecting all that information is a job itself!

All these important dates are hard for one person (or even one team) to remember, and sometimes when you ask those departments for that information, they have to get back to you! How can they not remember something they did themselves?

For some, the waiting game begins and doesn’t finish until every department gives you the information you need. Depending on how much time you’re given to create a report, you might have to pull an all-nighter or work on the report until the very last second before it’s due.

As an analyst, you shouldn’t be scrambling last minute to understand the whole story the analytics tells you about your company’s website. It’s time to start annotating your Piwik data as the major events happen in departments across your company.


Annotate Your Piwik Data in a Few Simple Steps

Thankfully, creating notes of marketing and advertising campaigns, site-wide updates and releases, offline marketing/sales and key company events, and more as they happen is simple. Besides making sure you’re in the loop via memos or CC’ed emails, there’s not much more to getting your annotations set up in Piwik.

After you’ve received notes from other departments about major events, open Piwik and go to the Visitors Overview, Referrers Overview, anything from Goals, and/or certain widgets on your Dashboard. Depending on what the annotation is for will determine which one of the previous four sections of Piwik you need to go to. Once you’re in one of those four sections, you need to click the arrow highlighted in the image below.

Visitors Overview

That button will reveal an “Annotations” link.

Visitors Overview Annotations Button

Clicking the link shows any previous annotations already created for a certain time period. Whether you have had annotations created, you’ll still find the link to create a new annotation at the bottom of your empty or full list of older annotations.

Visitors Overview Annotations Create new

To create a new annotation, you need to enter two pieces of information – the date and description of this highlighted event.

Visitors Overview Annotations Create new 2


Once you press save, your annotation will be available on Piwik. If, however, you put the wrong date or description for your annotation, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to edit it. And if a major event just didn’t happen, you can always delete the annotation that isn’t valid anymore.

Visitors Overview Annotations Edit


To edit the annotation, click on the edit button, change the date and/or the description, and press save.

Visitors Overview Annotations Delete

To delete an annotation, click on the edit button and then press the bright red “delete” button to the right of the annotation.


Reviewing Your Annotations Later

At any point you’re logged into Piwik, you can access, edit, and delete annotations. If you’re not seeing certain annotations, check to make sure your date range is correct. If the annotation is still not showing up, there is a possibility that the annotation was deleted at some point. Unfortunately, Piwik does not log when a user deletes an annotations, so once it’s deleted, it’s gone forever. Unless your technology team uses Piwik’s API to get a count of annotations every day or week (using Annotations.getAnnotationCountForDates) or some other API call, you’ll be left in the dark when another user changes or deletes annotations in Piwik.


Automate Your Piwik Annotations And More

After setting up so many annotations, you must be sick of constantly inputting data within the Piwik interface. “There must be an easier and faster way to do this!” you say. And Piwik delivers…sort of. If your team or company has the bandwidth, consider automating the process of annotating by using Piwik’s API. For all the calls, check out Piwik’s list.


Now that you know how to create annotations in Piwik, recalling important dates and events at your company will be a breeze. However, even with the annotations in place, it’s always a good idea to double check with other departments before your analytics reports are due in case anything was changed or deleted from the calendar. Don’t be the analyst who sends incorrect analytics reports to upper management or clients because you didn’t double check.


Not looking for annotations for Piwik? Check out our other articles on how to annotate data for Google Analytics (TBA) and Adobe Analytics (TBA).

Looking for web analytics consultants to improve your analytics setup? Call us at 877-694-2495 or email us at info@bayleafdigital.com