Google Analytics

Accounts and Views (Profiles)

Google Analytics account management is a highly flexible system that you can use to track multiple web properties and to set up reporting access for a variety of users. Before setting up an Analytics account or a new view (profile), read this document to understand how Analytics accounts and views (profiles) work. This document defines important terms and concepts necessary to getting the most from your account setup.

If you need help with the steps involved in account setup, see the Account Administration section in the Help Center.

  1. Overview of Two Analytics Accounts
  2. You Need a Google Account to Use Analytics
  3. Analytics Accounts
    1. Analytics Account Organization
    2. Analytics Account ID
  4. Web Property
  5. Views (Profiles)
    1. Use a Master View (Profile)
    2. Views (Profiles) and Historical Data
    3. Filtered Views (Profiles)
  6. Sharing Analytics Accounts
  7. Two Example Analytics Accounts

Overview of Two Analytics Accounts

The following diagram shows two possible Analytics account configurations. Here, Liz has both a personal Analytics account and a company account shared with co-workers. Her company account tracks the company website, googleanalytics.com.

Account View (Profile) Relationship

After reading the description for the concepts described in this diagram, you should have a clearer idea of how account management and view (profile) access works in Google Analytics. The table below in Two Example Analytics Accounts completes the picture with a detailed scenario for the examples mentioned in the diagram.

The rest of this document describes in detail the components that make up Google Analytics account management.

You Need a Google Account to Use Analytics

Most Google products use Google Accounts to authenticate their users, such as Google Calendar, Blogger, and Gmail. A Google Account is a unified sign-in system that simplifies your experience with using multiple Google products—once you have signed in with your Google Account, you have automatic access to any other product that you have registered for. The Google Accounts sign-in form is made up of two parts:

  • an email address
    This is typically of the form username@gmail.com. For example, Liz signs into Analytics using liz@gmail.com as her email address.
  • a password
    Once Liz signs into her Gmail using her email address and password, she is automatically signed into the Analytics web interface and does not have to sign in a second time in order to view her reports.

Google Analytics also uses Google Accounts to authenticate users. The example in the Overview above uses the fictional user names, liz, joe, jim, and sue to illustrate sample Google Account user names.

In order to use Google Analytics, you must be signed in with a registered Google Account email address and password. Create a Google Account here. However, just having a Google account does not automatically grant you access to Analytics. First, you must register for Google Analytics, a one-time, simple process.

You can only access Analytics reports using a valid Google Accounts email address. You cannot sign in to Analytics with an email address hosted by Google Apps.

For more information on Google Accounts, see the Google Accounts Help Center documentation.

Analytics Accounts

An Analytics account is way to name and organize how you track one or more web properties using Google Analytics. Each Google Analytics user has access to at least one account, either one they created themselves, or one that they were given access to by someone else. In each Analytics account, at least one web property (such as a website) is being tracked. As shown above, a Google Analytics account can be used to track a single web property, or it can track many distinct ones, depending upon the requirements of its use.

Conversely, a given web property should only be tracked in one Google Analytics account. Tracking a single web property in different Analytics accounts is not currently recommended. See Cookies for more information.

In any case, Google Analytics accounts are mainly an organizational feature of Google Analytics. You do not need to sign in separately for each Analytics account that you have access to. To use the example described above, when Liz signs into Google Analytics with her Google Accounts email ID (liz@gmail.com), she can select any of the Analytics accounts that she has access to from the administrative home page.

Analytics Accounts Organization

If you are using Analytics to track a single website, account organization is simple: you will have one account for your website. For setting up Analytics accounts to manage multiple websites, keep in mind the following:

  • You may have up to 50 views (profiles) in any given Analytics account.
  • If you want to provide administrative access to other users of an account, those users will be able to see and modify all view (profile) data for all websites being tracked in the account.
  • You cannot migrate historical data from one account to another. Thus, if you set up an account for a web property and then later want to move tracking to a separate account, you cannot currently migrate the data from the old account to the new account.

With that in mind, consider the following common ways that an Analytics account might be used.

  • Track all web properties owned by a single person or organization
  • For example, you might have an Analytics account for your personal web properties that you name My Personal Account. In this account, you would track your personal website and your blog, which are separate properties. In this case, you install one tracking code snippet on your website pages, and use a different one for your blog.

    You might also set up different Analytics accounts for different groups or stakeholders. For example, if you administer Analytics tracking for two companies, you would set up a separate Analytics account for the websites owned by each company. Since you might want to provide administrative access to individuals in each company, you would not want to expose sensitive reporting data between companies, so it makes sense to track the websites from different companies in separate accounts.

  • Track a single web property
  • By default, an Analytics account is designed to track at least one web property. However, this is also a good way to set up Analytics if the website you are tracking is large and has a number of contributors interested in viewing reports across that property. In this way, the collection of views (profiles) within an account all correspond to the same web property.

    For instance, suppose you are the administrator for example.com, which has a number of sub-directories. If each department wants to track their section of the website independently from others, you can create distinct reporting views (profiles) within the account that includes only data from certain sections. In this scenario, you install the tracking code for the website once, and any difference in reporting views are handled by the views (profiles) and their filters.

Analytics Account ID

When you create an account in Google Analytics, the account is provided with a unique ID. This ID is part of the tracking code that inserted in the source code for your website or gadget. For example, suppose the tracking code for your site uses the web property ID UA-10876-1 as part of its tracking code, like this:

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-10876-1");

In this string, the account ID is the central number 10876.

Web Property

In Google Analytics, a web property is the cumulative set of pages on which a particular tracking code is installed. In the Analytics tracking code, the web property for a view (profile) has a unique ID, which is a combination of the account ID and additional digits.

This web property ID links a web property to one or more views (profiles) in an Analytics account. The ID can be found in the administrative section of the Analytics UI, or by searching for UA- in the source code of your web page. The web property ID has two parts:

  • the X's (UA-XXXXX-YY) represent your account number
  • the Y's (UA-XXXXXX-YY) represent view (profile) numbers within your account.

The complete string (UA-XXXXX-YY) is referred to interchangeably as your web property ID or UA number. For example:

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-10876-1");

Here, UA-10876-1, defines the web property ID for account 10876 and it is the first view (profile) for that account. A second view (profile) for the same account that tracks an additional web property might use UA-10876-2 for the web property ID.

Views (Profiles)

Each Analytics Account will have at least one view (profile) by default. The view (profile) for an Analytics Account is the gateway to the website reports: it determines which data from your site appears in the reports. When considering views (profiles) and how they work, first remember that an Analytics account can track a single web property, or track many web independent properties, as illustrated in the overview above.

Next, remember that no matter how many properties you track in the account, each website must have at least one view (profile) assigned to it. No data can travel from a website to Analytics without a view (profile) that references the web property ID for the website.

You can create more than one view (profile) for a given website, and use filters to provide distinct report views for the website. For more information on how to configure views (profiles), see the Help Center section for managing views (profiles).

Use a Master View (Profile)

When setting up tracking in an Analytics account, it is a best practice to make the first view (profile) for a property a master view (profile). A master view (profile) should have no filter to exclude or include sections of the data from the site being tracked. In this way, you will have a view (profile) for the web property that contains all historical data since tracking began.

If you do not set up a master view (profile), but instead have views (profiles) with filters excluding particular parts of your website, you will not have any data for the parts that have been excluded by the filter. For example, suppose you are mainly interested in tracking users to your site from the United States. If you set up a filter on a single view (profile) that includes only traffic from the U.S., you will never be able to see pageview data for traffic from anywhere but the U.S.

If you want filtered views (profiles), we recommend setting up two view (profile) types: one to track all sections of the website, and all users, and other ones more suited to a particular objective that excludes certain data. The master view (profile) should also be the first view (profile) you establish for your site.

Views (Profiles) and Historical Data

When you set up a view (profile) for a website, data tracking begins as soon as the tracking code is installed on the website and a user's browser loads a page. When you already have a functioning view (profile) for an existing website, and you add an additional view (profile) later on in time, the additional view (profile) will not contain the historical data that you see in the view (profile) created earlier.

For example, suppose in June of 2009 you set up an unfiltered view (profile) for your website collecting all traffic for the site. Then in September of 2009, you create an additional view (profile) called Sales that only collects data for the /sales directory of the website. If the users of the Sales view (profile) attempt to retrieve report information for July of 2009, they will see no data for that time frame. The data does exist in the initial view (profile), but it cannot be copied over to the Sales view (profile).

Filtered Views (Profiles)

Many large web properties have multiple views (profiles) for a single web property, with filters to include or exclude particular types of data relevant to the business objective. Other users use filtered views (profiles) to ensure that content is tracked only on a specific domain, to exclude certain traffic from the reports (such as internal traffic), or to replace difficult-to-read page query parameters with more easily visualized page URIs. For information on the types of filters available for views (profiles) and how to set them up, see the Filter Creation article in the Help Center.

Unless you need to restrict user access via the reporting views (profiles), you might find it unnecessary to set up views (profiles) purely for the purpose of viewing distinct sections of the site, or for making report viewing more convient for your account users. In many cases, your users can access the master view (profile) and use the Content Drilldown menu to navigate to their section of the website. Once there, they can also use the Advanced Segments feature of Analytics to filter only the data they are interested in, and even use that as a means to compare metrics on their set of pages to the entire website. For more information on Advanced Segments, see the Help Center.

 

Sharing Analytics Reports

You share your Analytics reports with other people who have Google Accounts. Those users who want to view your reports must first enable their Google Account for Analytics access (see the main Analytics website for info).

When you share your reports with other users, you can control which reports they have access to by giving them rights to a specific account that holds the report you want to share. Once users have access to your account, you can also control which view (profile) they have access to. So for example, if you want to let your colleagues view the Analytics reports for your gadget, but not for your blog or your website, you can give them access to your account, and then access only to the view (profile) that you have set to track your gadget.

When your colleagues have access to the reports, the account name appears as a separate selection in the Accounts drop-down menu of the administrative interface. After they select the account from the menu, they will see only those views (profiles) that you have granted them access to. In this way, you can control access to your Analytics reports at multiple levels. Additionally, it is common for Analytics users to have access to a variety of Analytics accounts, both their own and others.

Two Example Analytics Accounts

This table provides a detailed scenario of the overview diagram in Overview of Two Accounts.

Account Name View (Profile) Name URL Web Property ID Description
My Personal Account My Blog example.blogspot.com UA-18988-2

The personal blog is one of the web properties that Liz tracks on Google Analytics. She needs only one view (profile) for this property, My Blog. The tracking code for her blog contains the web property ID, and that ID makes the association between her blog, and any view (profile) that tracks it. In order to view reports for the blog, Liz selects the My Blog view (profile).

The reports for My Blog show only user traffic for example.blogspot.com. No activity on any other part of blogspot.com is contained in the Analytics reports, so users coming from www.blogspot.com to example.blogspot.com are reported as externally referred traffic, and users going from example.blogspot.com to some other blog on blogspot.com are reported as exiting the site.

  My Website www.example.com UA-18988-1

Liz has a second website with a domain that is distinct from her blog. She wants to keep separate tracking reports for each property, so the website has a unique web property ID. The tracking code for her site references this ID, and this ID makes the association between the website and the view (profile) My Website.

This view (profile) is unfiltered, so the reports show all user traffic for www.example.com. Any users that go from her site to her blog are tracked in the reports as exiting the site, since these properties do not share web property IDs and are not linked.

  My Gadget 84632.gmodules.com UA-18988-3

In addition to a blog and a website, Liz also has a gadget that she likes to track. The gadget is hosted on the gmodules.com domain under a unique sub-domain. This gadget uses yet a third distinct web property ID. As with the other views (profiles), only activity on the gadget is reported for the My Gadgets view (profile).

My Team's Account Master View (Profile) www.googleanalytics.com UA-10876-1

Liz has access to the Analytics account titled My Team Account, along with other team members. As with any website, the web property ID is part of the tracking code installed on the website pages.

This view (profile) is the master view (profile) and collects all user traffic for all parts of the googleanalytics.com website. Because it is the master view (profile), it has no filters that exclude data. In this way, all data is collected for the site and as the first view (profile), contains the historic record of traffic from the inception of tracking.

Because view (profile) access can be restricted by individual account users, only Sue has access to the reports contained in the Master View (Profile). The members of the Sales and Marketing team cannot view the reports in this view (profile) since they have not been granted access.

  Sales www.googleanalytics.com/sales UA-10876-1

In this account, the Sales views (profiles) tracks the same web property as the master view (profile)—the googleanalytics.com website. For this reason, it uses the same web property ID as the master view (profile). It differs from the master view (profile) because it uses a special filter to include only traffic on the sales section of the website: googleanalytics.com/sales.

User activity on other sections of the site is considered "outside" the site from the definition of the view (profile). For example, total pageviews would be only for this section of the site, and not for the entire googleanalytics.com. Time on page and time on site would apply only to the pages being tracked.

Access to this view (profile) is available only to Sue and the members of the Sales team, including Liz and Joe.

  Marketing www.googleanalytics.com/marketing UA-10876-1 Like the Sales view (profile), the Marketing view (profile) tracks the the googleanalytics.com website, but its filter includes only traffic to googleanalytics.com/marketing. In this example, only Sue and Jim have access to the reports in the Marketing view (profile).

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