If you’ve landed here, you’re probably just getting started on your Google Analytics journey. So welcome to the team! To get your footing, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a few terms: accounts, properties, and views.
You see, Universal Analytics has a very clear hierarchy made up of these three parts. You’ll want to make sure you understand each step before moving forward with your data collection and analysis.
The Google Analytics hierarchy starts with an account. Within each account, you can have up to 50 properties. Within each property, you can have up to 25 views. You can customize each of your views with filters to divide up your reporting data.
This hierarchy is easy to understand, but if you haven’t familiarized yourself with these terms, you may be not using your Google Analytics account to the fullest. Come with us as we explore these key elements of Google Analytics and learn all you need to know about accounts, properties, and views.
Okay, so first, let’s talk about Google Analytics accounts. An account is how you access and maintain everything in Google Analytics. When you first create your GA account, you’ll get a unique ID. This ID is part of the tracking code that’s inserted into the source code for your website or mobile app.
Typically, you’ll only need one Google Analytics account per organization. Sure, if you’re managing multiple companies, you’ll have more than one Google Analytics account, but for most people, one is all you’ll need. If you do require multiple Google Analytics accounts, you can manage them all under a single Google login.
As the owner of your Google Analytics account, you can grant access to people in your organization. You can allow them to manage users, edit, and collaborate. You can set up these permissions for your entire GA account, or a specific property or view within your account.
Within each of your Google Analytics accounts, you can have up to 50 properties. Let’s move on to discussing properties next.
As we mentioned above, you can have multiple properties within a single Google Analytics account. Properties are your websites and mobile apps. If your company has a website, an Android app, and an iOS app, you’ll need to have a property for each one. Also, many people find it useful to have another property set up just for testing.
Each of your Google Analytics properties can have up to 25 views. So now let’s look at how views work.
The full name for a Google Analytics view is a “reporting view” because you can see multiple reports within a single view. Your Google Analytics reports include things like real-time, audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions. Google Analytics views allow you to access, customize, and analyze your data by setting up filters.
When you create a Google Analytics property, you’ll automatically start out with an unfiltered view. However, as we mentioned above, you can have up to 25 views for each of your Universal Analytics properties. Keep in mind that all of your data will automatically show up in all views associated with a single property.
You may wonder why you would need multiple views within a single Google Analytics property. The primary reason you’d want to set up more than one view is so that you can use filters. Filters allow you to customize your view so that you’re only seeing what you need.
Filters are super helpful for segmenting certain kinds of user traffic. For example, you might have a filter set up to exclude internal traffic from your company’s employees. You might also have a filter set up for your subdomain, like your shop or blog. Filters are also great for looking at traffic from a specific region or country.
Note: You should always have an unfiltered view that remains untouched. This is important in case you make mistakes with your filters as you’re setting them up. You won’t be able to recover filtered data, so make sure you always keep an unfiltered view that contains all your data.
To create a new view in your Google Analytics property, follow these steps:
1. Log-in to your Google Analytics account.
2. Select your desired property.
3. Click “Admin” (in the bottom left-hand corner).
4. Click “Create View.”
5. Select your desired specifications and click “Create View.”
How is Google Analytics 4 Different?
The hierarchy in Google Analytics 4 is different, but it’s equally straightforward. In GA4, you have your account, a single property, and data streams.
In Universal Analytics, you have a unique property for your website and your Android/iOS apps. In GA4, you’ll now have a single property, and within it, you can receive data from your website, your iOS app, and your Android app. Each of these becomes a data stream (source of data) in your GA4 property.
When you click on “Admin,” you’ll only see “Account” and “Property.” GA4 has done away with views, and in their place, we now have “Data Streams” (underneath “Property”).
Your data streams include your website and your Android and iOS apps. You’ll have one data stream for each source of data feeding into your reports.
In GA4, you configure your data streams to affect your single reporting view for each property. Keep in mind that you can only have one of each data stream (Web, iOS, and Android) within a single GA4 property.
The Google Analytics Hierarchy
Understanding the Google Analytics hierarchy is the first step to getting the most out of your GA account. Each piece is essential to viewing and analyzing your visitor data.
While you’ll probably only need one Google Analytics account, you’ll need multiple properties—one for each website and mobile app you manage. You’ll also want to have multiple views so that you can apply filters but still have an unfiltered view in case you make mistakes.
Have you run into any issues when setting up your Google Analytics accounts, properties, or views? Let us know in the comments!