Google Analytics - Part 7: Understanding Your Account Structure
Articles in this series:
- Part 1: The Fundamentals
- Part 2: Core Analysis Techniques
- Part 3: Conversion & Conversion Attribution
- Part 4: Creating A Measurement Plan
- Part 5: How Google Analytics Works
- Part 6: Key Metrics Dimensions Defined
- Part 7: Understanding Your Account Structure
- Part 8: Setting up filters
- Part 9: Using Goals
- Part 10: Reporting
This month we look at how to understand the hierarchy of your Google Analytics account and the terms "Account", "Property" and "View".
A Google Analytics account provides a convenient way for businesses to group data from all of their digital assets (e.g. websites, mobile apps etc.). Generally, one account is created per business but the setup can be customised to suit your needs by controlling aspects such as user access if you work in a team.
Within each account one or more 'properties' can be setup and applied, which independently collect data from different assets. For example, you may setup one property for your main website (www.yourwebsite.com), another property for your iOS mobile app, and a third for a blog that you operate from a subdomain (e.g. blog.yourwebsite.com). Each property will be independently tracked within the same Google Analytics account, allowing you separate the perforamce of your various digital assets, but manage them in one place.
Each property will have its own unique tracking ID that tells Google what data should be collected, where it should be stored and how it should be reported. Because properties track and report independently, you can't view the combined data of two assets (e.g. your website and mobile app together). However, if you really need to, properties can be adjusted to collect data within the same tracking code - this is commonly known as roll-up reporting.
Each property can then conatin multiple views. A view allows you to create a custom perspective of your data set. For example, you may wish to filter out traffic from a particular country because you do not wish to sell there. If so, you can create a separate view within your website property that excludes traffic from the country in question, and then label your view accordingly so it's easy to access in the future (e.g. your label could be 'All Website Traffic Excluding Russia). Google recommends using views to help order your data and suggest using something similar to the following setup:
An Unfiltered View - this view is automatically generated when a property is created and contains no filters. It should be used as a master backup of your data.
A Master View - this view should essentially be used as your working master view and you should have all your desired configurations setup here to transform your data into useful information.
A Test View - a test view should be used to test potential changes to your Master View configuration. After successfully testing any changes in this view you can then carry them across into your Master View.
Things to remember:
- Deleted views can be restored for up to 35 days
- New views are not created with historical data from original views. The new view will only contain data from the date it was created.