The Analytics account structure
(This is a slightly modified copy of Google’s own Google Analytics for Beginners course material available here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6382993)
Now that we know how data gets collected, let’s look at how Google Analytics accounts are organised.
All of your Google Analytics accounts can be grouped under an optional “Organisation” . This allows you to manage multiple Google Analytics accounts under one grouping.
Large businesses or agencies could have multiple accounts.
Medium to small-sized businesses generally use only one account.
When you create an account, it automatically creates a property and within that property, a view for that account.
But each Analytics account can have multiple properties and each property can have multiple views. This lets you organise your Analytics data collection in a way that best reflects your business – but your analysis becomes complicated. If your organisation has different departments which concentrate on different aspects of the business then such sophistication would be justifiable.
The Google Analytics Account determines how data is collected from your websites and manages who can access that data. Typically, you would create separate Analytics accounts for distinct businesses or business units.
Each Google Analytics account has at least one “property.” Each property can collect data independently of each other using a unique tracking ID that appears in your tracking code.
You may assign multiple properties to each account, so you can collect data from different websites, mobile applications, or other digital assets associated with your business. For example, you may want to have separate properties for different sales regions or different brands. This allows you to easily view the data for an individual part of your business, but keep in mind this won’t allow you to see data from separate properties in aggregate.
Just as each account can have multiple “properties,” each property can have multiple “views.” You can use a feature called Filters in your configuration settings to determine what data you want to include in the reports for each view.
For example, The Google Store sells merchandise from their website across different geographical regions. They could create one view that includes all of their global website data. But if they wanted to see data for individual regions, they could create separate views for North America, Europe, and Asia.
If the Google Store wanted to only see data for external traffic (that didn’t include their own store employees), they could set up a view that filtered out internal traffic based on IP address. Please note that Google has thousands of employees and it makes sense to isolate such internal traffic.
The view level also lets you set Google Analytics “Goals”.
Goals are a valuable way to track conversions, or business objectives, from your website.
A goal could be how many users signed up for an email newsletter, or how many users purchased a product. We’ll discuss Goals and Conversions in a later lesson.
Be thoughtful when setting up your accounts, properties, and views, because you can’t change data once it’s been collected and processed by Google Analytics.
Before we move on to user access permissions, there are a couple important things to note about views:
- New views only include data from the date the view was created and onwards. When you create a new view, it will not include past data. So you create a new view when you want to begin a research cycle into the future and plan to come back and analyse the data some time later in future.
- If you delete a view, only administrators can recover that view within a limited amount of time. Otherwise, the view will be permanently deleted. You should be using a view that was previously created for your analysis and you should delete the view itself only when the view becomes no longer relevant for future.
You can assign permissions to other users at the account, property or view level. Each level inherits permissions from the level above it.
For example, if you have access to an account, then you have the same access permissions to the properties and views underneath that account. But if you only have access permissions for a view, then you won’t have permission to modify the property or account associated with that view.
By clicking “Admin”, Google Analytics lets you set user permissions for: “managing users,” “edit,” “collaborate,” or “read and analyse.”
- “Managing users” lets users add or remove user access to the account, property, or view.
- “Edit” lets users make changes to the configuration settings.
- “Collaborate” allows users to share things like dashboards or certain measurement settings.
- And finally, “Read and Analyse” lets users view data, analyse reports, and create dashboards, but restricts them from making changes to the settings or adding new users.
How you configure your organisations, accounts, properties and views can affect how your data gets collected.
Be thoughtful when setting up your Google Analytics implementation and make sure you align your properties and views of the data you collect with your overall business structure.
Keep it simple to begin with and only add sophistication when your business grows into multiple employees and multiple departments,