Do you need to clean up your Google Analytics experience? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Even though it’s a big (and scary!) step, sometimes it is necessary to make a major deletion in Google Analytics.
But, how do you delete accounts, properties, views, and data streams in Google Analytics?
You can delete major elements by going to the Admin section in Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4. From there, you can select your desired account, property, view, or data stream and delete it. You can recover deleted elements for up to 35 days unless it’s a data stream.
Today we’re going to cover how to delete an account, property, view, or data stream. We’ll discuss both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, so no matter what you need to delete, you’ll find the answers here.
Understanding the Universal Analytics Hierarchy
Okay, so first thing’s first. Let’s discuss the hierarchy for both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 before moving on to how to delete different elements. Because deletions like this are permanent and have a big impact, it’s important we understand the structure of each platform and what exactly you’re doing when you make a deletion.
The structure in Universal Analytics goes like this: Account > Properties > Views. You can have multiple properties within a single account and multiple views within each property.
Your Universal Analytics account is where you access and maintain everything in Google Analytics. You’ll likely only have one account for each organization you oversee.
In Universal Analytics, you need to set up a unique property for each website and mobile app associated with the same account. Also, sometimes users will set up a unique property just for testing. You can have up to 50 properties within a single UA account.
Last up in the UA hierarchy are views. You might also know them as “reporting views.” Your views are where you see your GA reports. Within your reports, you can set up filters to section out portions of your data that you want to focus on or exclude in a particular report.
When you make your UA property, you’ll automatically start with an unfiltered view. From there, you can build up to 25 views within a single property. You should always have an unfiltered view that remains untouched. This is important in case you make mistakes along the way or want to change how you view your data. Remember, you won’t be able to recover filtered data, so you must always keep an unfiltered view that contains all your data.
Next, let’s discuss the Google Analytics 4 hierarchy, and then we’ll move on to showing you how to delete what you don’t need.
Understanding the GA4 Hierarchy
Things are pretty different in Google Analytics 4, right down to the hierarchy. Let’s discuss the GA4 hierarchy, and then we can discuss how to delete unwanted elements.
In GA4, your hierarchy looks like Account > Property > Data Streams. You’ll have a single GA4 property this time that contains one or more data streams.
The big change to the structure of GA4 is that you now have one property for all your data, including your website and your mobile apps. So, if you have a website, an Android app, and an iOS app, a single property will house them all. This is different from Universal Analytics, where you have a unique property for each one.
Instead of having multiple properties like in UA, you now have one property and multiple data streams that feed into that property. Each source of data is a data stream, so your website and each of your mobile apps will each be a unique data stream. We previously published an article all about data streams in GA4, so check that out if you want more details on this new structure.
Now, let’s move on to discussing deletion in both Universal Analytics and GA4.
When to Delete an Account, Property, View, or Data Stream
So, the question remains, why would you need to delete something major? Well, you likely already know the issue and that’s why you’re here. But, remember to consider all your options before making a permanent deletion.
For example, remember that you can always do a data deletion request. Deleting your data in Google Analytics is possible, and it might be a suitable alternative to deleting an entire property, view, or data stream. To learn more about data deletion requests in Google Analytics, check out our previous post here.
But, sometimes you just need to clean up your Google Analytics world by making a big deletion. You might have an old website clogging up your data because it still exists in your UA property or because it’s one of your GA4 data streams. Or you might need to delete your entire account and start again fresh. Whatever the reason, sometimes a big, permanent deletion is necessary.
In the next sections, we’ll discuss all the major deletions you might need to perform and how to do them. So look through the next sections to find out how to delete accounts, properties, views, and data streams in Universal Analytics and GA4.
How to Delete an Account in Universal Analytics or GA4
Okay, so let’s start with a big one. Deleting your entire account in Universal Analytics or GA4 means you will also delete all associated properties, views, or data streams. We’re putting Universal Analytics and GA4 into the same section here because deleting an account in either version of GA is the same.
Your account will be permanently deleted within 35 days and all monthly data backups are deleted after 84 days. You won’t be able to retrieve any historical data or recover any reports once you’ve completed this deletion.
You must have the “editor” role to complete this deletion and everyone with admin access will be notified once it’s complete. Here is how to delete an account in Google Analytics:
1. First, be sure to remove the Analytics tracking ID/measurement ID from your web pages and mobile apps.
2. Go into your Universal Analytics account and click “Admin.”
3. Under “Account,” select the one you want to delete.
4. Click “Account settings.”
5. Click “Move to trash can” on the top right and save.
Until the deletion is permanent after 35 days, you can access your trash can to undo a deletion. Just click on “Trash can” under “Account.” Then select what you want to undo and click “Restore.”
How to Delete a Property in Universal Analytics or GA4
Okay, so now let’s move on to deleting properties. Again, you do this the same way in both Universal Analytics and GA4. There are also some important reminders and warnings when it comes to deleting a property.
Keep in mind that when you delete a property, all views or data streams (depending on which GA version you’re using) contained within that property will also be deleted. The property and everything in it will be permanently deleted within 35 days after being moved to the trash can. Again, as we showed above, if you want to undo a deletion, just access your trash can within the deletion grace period.
To delete a property in Google Analytics, follow these steps:
1. Log into your Google Analytics account and go to “Admin” on the bottom right.
2. Select the property you want to delete under “Property.”
3. Select “Property Settings.”
4. Click “Move to trash can” on the top right and save.
Again, run quickly to your trash can if you’ve made this deletion on accident! Otherwise, your property and the associated views (UA) or data streams (GA4) will be deleted within 35 days of your request.
How to Delete a View in Universal Analytics
Now let’s move on to a deletion that is unique to Universal Analytics—deleting views. In Universal Analytics, you can move a view to the trash can and again, it will be permanently deleted after 35 days. You won’t be able to recover historical data after that time, so be careful in deleting your views, just like all of your deletions.
To delete a view in Universal Analytics, follow these steps:
1. Log into your UA account and go to “Admin.”
2. Under “Views,” select the view you want to delete.
3. Go to “View settings.”
4. Select “Move to trash can” and save.
How to Delete a Data Stream in GA4
Finally, let’s talk about deleting data streams in Google Analytics 4. If you delete a data stream in Google Analytics 4, that’s that. You won’t be able to recover the stream or any of the associated data. So, like all your big deletions, proceed with caution here and only delete your data stream if you’re 100% you no longer need that source of data or any of the historical data you got from it.
To delete a data stream in GA4, follow these steps:
1. Log into your GA4 account and click on “Admin.”
2. Under “Property,” select the property with the data stream you want to delete.
3. Click “Data streams.”
4. Select the data stream you want to delete.
5. Click the three dots on the top right and click “Delete stream.”
If you do this, your stream will be immediately deleted from your GA4 property and you will not be able to recover it. So, especially when it comes to deleting data streams, proceed with extreme caution, and only delete a data stream if you’re 100% sure you no longer need it and don’t need any of the data.
Be Careful With Your Deletes
So now you know how to delete major elements in Google Analytics. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility, and that is definitely the case here. Do not delete major elements unless you are sure you won’t need them or any of the associated data. This is especially true for data streams in GA4 because they’re deleted instantly and you can’t recover them.
If you’re unsure about deleting a major element, consider completing a data deletion request to clean up your reports. But if you’re sure you no longer need a particular element, major deletions are very easy!
Have you deleted any major elements in Google Analytics? Let us know your experience!