Google Analytics Account Structure and Governance

In this article I will show you, how to structure your Google Analytics account when you own/manage multiple websites, subdomains, mobile apps and/or you have got very high traffic website.

Understanding Google Analytics Account Structure

A Google Analytics Account is made up of one or more properties.

A Google Analytics property (which can be a website, mobile app or point of sales device) is made up of one or more reporting views.

A Google Analytics view (also known as reporting view) is made up of several reports.

How Many Google Analytics Accounts Do You Need?

If you own/manage only one company then you need only one GA account.

If you own/manage multiple companies then you should be using multiple GA accounts.

The rule of thumb is, one GA property per company.

Unless you are a business conglomerate or an agency, you most likely need only one Google Analytics account.

Note: Under one Google login, you can create/add as many Google Analytics account as you want.

How Many Google Analytics Properties Do You Need?

As a rule of thumb, use one GA property for each website.

So, if you own/manage only one website then you need only one GA property.

If you own/manage two websites then you need one GA property per website i.e. two properties.

If you are an agency which is incharge of setting up and managing Google Analytics on behalf of their clients then you would need multiple GA accounts and properties. One GA account per client and one property per website.

If you own/manage a mobile app in addition to a website then you would need one GA property for the desktop website and one GA property for each mobile platform specific app (IOS, Android app) .

For example, if you have got: one website, one mobile app for IOS device and one mobile app for Android device then you would need three GA properties.

One GA property for the website, one firebase property for IOS and one firebase property for Android:

You should also consider setting up one GA property just for testing purpose.

Note: Under one Google Analytics account, you can create/add up to 50 GA properties.

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How Many Google Analytics Views Do You Need?

You would need one GA view which contains unfiltered data. You must always maintain one unfiltered view as data once incorrectly filtered cannot be unfiltered.

You would need one GA view which contains traffic only from your target market.

For example, if your target market is only US then your view should collect data, only from US.

Otherwise you would end up analysing the website usage data of people from all over the world instead of just from the US. By default, Google Analytics view, report traffic from all over the world.

Now problem with such type of traffic is that, it skew all of your website usage metrics from: average time on page, bounce rate to goal conversion rate and ecommerce conversion rate.

You would need one GA view just for testing purpose. You can use this view for testing new Google Analytics configurations like filters.

Apart from these three views, you may need many more reporting views depending upon, how you want to segment the data.

Read the following article to know about the various GA views that I recommend: 10 Google Analytics Views that you must always use

Note: Under one Google Analytics Property, you can create/add up to 25 GA views.

Visual Representation of Google Analytics Account Setups

Following is the Google Analytics Account Setup for business owners who own only one website:

Following is the Google Analytics Account Setup for business owners who own multiple websites/subdomains:

Following is the Google Analytics Account Setup for marketing consultants/agencies or business owners who own multiple companies and websites:

One GA Property for Closely Connected Websites

When two or more websites together provide a complete user experience then such type of websites are known as ‘closely connected websites’.

For example, if your website checkout process occurs on a different website then your website and the other website are closely connected websites.

Similarly, if your website checkout process occurs on a different sub-domain then your primary domain and the sub-domain are closely connected websites.

So if your website checkout process occurs on a different subdomain then use one GA property to track both primary domain and subdomain.

In this way you can track customers purchase journey across domains.

For example:

Lets say your website address is www.abc.com but the checkout is hosted on store.abc.com

In that case use one GA property for both primary domain and subdomain. You can do that by installing same Google Analytics tracking code on all of the pages of both primary domain and subdomain.

However if store.abc.com also sell products which you can directly buy from the website without first travelling through www.abc.com then you should set up two GA properties:

One GA property for tracking users across primary domain and subdomain.

One GA property for tracking users’ activities only on the subdomain.

So you would need to install two different Google Analytics tracking code on the subdomain. You can do that by using multiple trackers.

One GA Property for Each Business Vertical

If you set up one subdomain for each business vertical then set up one GA property for each business vertical.

Lets say your website address is www.abc.com and you have set up following subdomains for different business verticals:

  • music.abc.com for selling products related to music
  • games.abc.com for selling products related to gaming
  • finance.abc.com for selling products related to finance.

In that case,

#1 set up one GA property for www.abc.com

#2 set up one GA property for each business vertical.

#3 set up one GA property which consolidate data from all GA properties. We call such property as rollup property.

With the help of rollup property you can understand the overall performance of your company across all business verticals.

Now instead of subdomains, let us suppose that you have setup one website for each business vertical.

Lets say your primary website is www.abc.com and you have set up following websites for different business verticals:

  • www.abcmusic.com for selling products related to music
  • www.abcgames.com for selling products related to gaming
  • www.abcfinance.com for selling products related to finance.

In that case also, you should:

#1 set up one GA property for www.abc.com

#2 set up one GA property for each business vertical.

#3 set up one GA Rollup property which consolidate data from all GA properties.

No Rollup Property for Mobile App(s) and Website(s) Data

Mobile App Analytics and Website Analytics are two completely different types of tracking.

They both use their own set of metrics.

In addition to that, users behavior on a mobile app is quite different than users’ behavior on a website.

So you should not try to consolidate mobile app and website tracking data in one GA property. Keep them separate.

Setting up Multiple GA Properties to Fix Data Sampling Issues

If your website gets more than half a million sessions a month and you are not planning to use GA Premium/360 then you should consider tracking different sections of your website via different property.

This is because data sampling occurs at the property level and the probability of Google Analytics to sample the data increases, when a user query is based on more than 500,000 sessions.

 

What is the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?


99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.


Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.


You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.


You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.


So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

You can sign up for the free training here: https://learn.optimizesmart.com/registration-web-class

I truly hope you find it helpful.  

My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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