Organizing your Google Analytics (GA) account can be a little challenging with ample technical terminology (Property, View, Organization, etc.,) to confuse you. ZoomOwl brings a guide to help Analytics admins establish the right organizational structure for their Google Analytics accounts.
A concern that most small business owners and webmasters have is about the proper organization of their Google Analytics (GA) account(s) to track their websites and apps. You’ll come across confusing technical terms such as Organization, Account, Property, and View. But do you know the purpose of each?
If you have a single website, what should you create—a Property or a View? If you have multiple web apps, what should you create? Can you track the web assets of a large organization with just one Google Analytics Account, or more?
So, I developed this guide to answer your questions in account organization. By the end of it, it should be clear to you as to how you should structure your Google Analytics Account(s) to track a single website or many websites and apps.
Totally lost (too long); didn’t read? Here you go.
When you open an Account in Google Analytics, you should input a few things; two of them are the Account name and Property details.
After you set up your Account, you may need to create Views as well; GA creates a raw data View by default for you.
If you are managing a high-traffic website and are paying for premium Google Analytics 360, you may come across an additional term “Organization.”
Let’s look at these terms in detail in the following mini glossary.
This is a no-brainer, I hope? If you have a company, that’s what it refers to. Imagine you run a company that owns multiple websites and mobile apps—kind of like a blog network.
When you sign up on Google Analytics, you should ideally create an Organization for your company. This is your brand name.
Organizations can be created only through the Google Analytics 360 interface, not through the free version.
Take a look at Image 1A.2 below to see how ZoomOwl’s Organization page looks.
A Property could be the digital counterpart of any kind of real-world property. For instance, a website could be a Property. A mobile app could be a Property. A social media account could be another Property (although GA doesn’t track it). Each website or mobile app should have its own Property created in GA. This is how GA tracks visits to them.
Views consist of reports on the Properties you are tracking. It’s a collection of customized reports pertaining to your website or mobile app. You can create a View on any specific type of traffic. For instance, you can create a View to show only the traffic from your target market.
For an organization, you need to set up a Google Analytics Organization account and attach the organization’s other GA Accounts and Properties to it. Essentially, the account setup looks like Image 1A.1 above.
Don’t be fretted by so many products. They are all part of the Google Analytics 360 Solution Suite. However, for traffic measurement, you will be using only GA and, to some extent, Tag Manager.
In order to create your Organization, head over to the 360 Suite org page. Here, click the six-block icon at the top left.
On the page that shows up, click “New Organization” and then select the details of the Organization. Finally click “Create” to create the Organization. You can create a Google+ account also to represent your Organization.
Also, select the existing accounts on the Suite products to link them to the Organization. They will all be available under one roof from now on.
Take a look at ZoomOwl’s Organization page below. As you can see, I have set up one GA account and two Google Tag Manager accounts, which are linked to the ZoomOwl Organization.
Each Organization account allows you to add multiple Google Analytics Accounts, Properties, and Views.
Now you know that you can create multiple Accounts, Properties, and Views under a single Google login. Table 1A.1 shows the limits for that.
You should note that the limits of Accounts, Properties, and Views for GA 360 accounts are not known. Your GA 360 account manager can help you increase these limits as needed.
This Analytics support forum answer may give some hope to free account holders on increasing the Account limit beyond what is possible.
Furthermore, you can always sign up for additional Google accounts and use them to increase the limit again.
Why do you need multiple Accounts? Well, there are several reasons. Imagine you are like me managing Google Analytics Accounts and traffic reporting for a few clients. In such case, you don’t want to club all of those Properties under one Account.
Also, you might want to impart Account-level access to other stakeholders. If you don’t maintain separate Accounts, stakeholders can access Properties that don’t belong to them.
Maintaining separate GA Accounts for your clients also allows you to give Account-level admin access to other admins. They can edit, collaborate, read & analyze reports, and manage other users in this way. Later, we’ll see the various user privileges.
So, in order to create several Google Analytics Accounts under one Organization, head over to your Analytics page and click the cog Admin icon at the bottom.
Then click the “+Create Account” button.
Now, select the appropriate settings for the Account—whether you are tracking a website or an app, the account name, etc. You may also notice the option to link the Organization you have already set up.
As you notice, you can set up a Property in the Account creation screen itself.
The maximum number of Accounts you can have for your Google login is 100. After reaching the limit, create additional Accounts by creating additional Google logins.
After setting up your Account, you may want to set up additional Properties. It’s pretty easy. As you see in the image above, you can simply click the “+Create Property” button to set up a new Property under the current Account.
Properties can be either a website or a mobile app. Each has its own settings: While the website asks for the URL, category, and name, the mobile app asks you to connect to Firebase. Firebase is Google’s integrated app development platform.
You can have up to 50 Properties defined under your Google Analytics Account, as per Table 1A.1 .
Views are a little trickier than the Properties and Accounts. A View contains a collection of various types of traffic reports of your Property.
When you log in to your Google Analytics Account, what you see is the default View of your Property.
By default, when you create your Analytics account, a View is created. This is the raw data View, which includes all the information Analytics is able to collect from your traffic. By default, this raw View is known as “All Web Site Data” as shown below.
You may want to create customized Views that have filters applied on them, in order to view specific data.
Let’s see now how you can create your first View. Head over to the Analytics Admin panel and click the “+ Create View” button at the top. Set a name and a time zone and then click “Create View.”
That’s it. This will create a raw View that is not customized at all. In order to customize the View, you need to set up some Google Analytics filters and apply them on the View.
When you create a new View, it doesn’t automatically display the historical data. It will only show the traffic from the date of creation of the View.
Using the top left dropdown, you can switch between all the Views you have created.
If you want to copy a View to create a new View, you should go to “View Settings” in the Admin panel and click the “Copy view” button. Make sure that you are in the correct View at the top left.
Depending on your website, your traffic locales, target market, demographics, etc., you may want to set up various additional Views for your Analytics Property, in order to analyze your traffic smarter. Let’s look at some Views that you should create.
As we saw above, Google Analytics creates the “All Web Site Data” View by default. This is the View of your raw traffic data. So, it gives you the complete picture of your entire traffic. It would make sense to apply no Filters on this View to always have access to your raw traffic data.
You may need to create a test View out of your main Google Analytics View. The purpose of the test View is to help you with testing various manipulations that you do on your data. If those manipulations permanently affect the data, it makes sense to do it on the test View first.
You don’t want your own visit to your site distorting your data; so, you should set up a View with the traffic from your IP range filtered out. This can be set up using the IP/ISP exclusion filter.
If you have a location-bound business, you may want to create a GA View that shows traffic originating from your operating location. This way, you can keep track of the traffic originating from your target market.
If you have several subdomains on your website to focus on specific topics, you may want to segregate them on Google Analytics as well. Creating specific Views with Filters to identify the traffic to these subdomains is one way to achieve this.
The smartphone is the new laptop. More than 50% of global web traffic originates from mobile devices. In such a world, it makes sense to set up separate Views for traffic from laptops and desktops and the traffic from mobile devices.
You know that Google Analytics allows you to track the members of your website using a feature known as User-ID. If you have User-ID implemented on your website, you may find it logical to set up a User-ID View to track the visitors who log into the site.
Let’s check out some account structuring use cases specific to certain scenarios.
If you have only one website, you need one Google Analytics Account, a Property, and multiple Views (as necessary).
If you have only one mobile app, follow the same structure.
If you have one or more websites and mobile apps, you should create a Property for each of them. For instance, if you have five websites and a mobile app, you should create six Google Analytics Properties under one account.
As we earlier mentioned in the View section, for subdomains you can create separate Views to track the data. If you have only one website and a few subdomains under that, you can safely track the data by creating separate Views for each subdomain.
If you are a Google Analytics manager with several clients, you will have to create a proper organization structure for yourself and create separate Google Analytics accounts for each client. The image 1A.1 above shows the organization structure you need to follow.
Ideally, management of Google Analytics accounts for different clients, you need access only to the various Properties, such as websites and apps. Your client should create the GA account under their email address and invite you to be the admin of the web Property.
This way, you will only have the Property-level access with all the privileges of an admin. The only downside is that you won’t be able to create any Filters, which are an Account-level feature. The organization structure in this case is given in image 1A.1 below.
In Google Analytics, you may also need to manage multiple users. For instance, if you are the Analytics manager for an organization, organizational stakeholders may require access to the traffic reports. Let’s see how to manage them properly.
As the admin of the Google Analytics Account, you have the complete access to it. You can manage users in three levels: Account-level, Property-level, and View-level.
Go to the Admin panel and see the “User Management” link in each section.
Here, you can add or remove users in the three sections, by using their Gmail addresses.
The level in which you add the user determines the access privileges of the user. For instance, if you add users at the Property level, they will have access only to that Property and the Views under it. If you add users at the View level, they will be able to access only that View.
Your “Add User” pane looks the same on all three levels as shown in Image 1A.I. The privileges are determined by four types of permission checkboxes. Let’s look at each in detail.
- Edit: With the Edit permission, your user can perform most of the administrative functions, such as add or delete Accounts, Properties, or Views; create Filters; create Goals; etc. Edit permission doesn’t allow the user to add new users though.
- Collaborate: With this permission, a user can create and share assets including attribution models, channel grouping, custom reports, calculated metrics, etc.
- Read & Analyze: With this permission, a user can view the data, filter and sort tables, add secondary dimensions to reports, create segments, etc. Users can also create shared assets, but cannot collaborate with them.
- Manage Users: With this permission, a user can add or remove users and change their permissions.
Each of the permission levels above is inclusive of the permission level below it (except Manage Users). For instance, the Edit permission allows the user to collaborate and read & analyze. The Collaborate permission allows them to read & analyze as well.
But the Manage Users permission is not given by default to the other permission levels. So, for users to be an admin, they need both the Edit permission and the Manage Users permission.
I hope this article has been helpful to you and answered your queries in organizing your Google Analytics accounts. Please like, comment, and share. Also, please don’t forget to subscribe to my updates.
Lenin VJ Nair
Lenin Nair has years of experience in marketing for software and technology domains. He is a certified specialist in marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to market products and services for small and medium businesses. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and ideating. He holds an MBA in marketing and a bachelor's degree in IT.