Understanding the Analytics account structure
The hierarchy of accounts, users, properties, and views
You use Analytics to gather and report on information about visitor traffic to a property. A property can be a website, a mobile application, a blog--any page or screen that receives traffic via the web or a mobile app. To collect that information with Analytics, you need to:
- Sign up for an Analytics account.
- Add your property to the account.
- Add the Analytics tracking code to your property.
This article covers the functional and hierarchical relationship of accounts, properties, views, and users.
First, let's take a look at how these entities are related within the framework of Analytics.
Account: Your access point for Analytics, and the topmost level of organization.
Property: Website, mobile application, blog, etc. An account can contain one or more properties.
View: Your access point for reports; a defined view of visitor data from a property. You give users access to a view so they can see the reports based on that view's data. A property can contain one or more views.
Users: You add users to an account. You can assign four different permissions to a user (Manage Users, Edit, Collaborate, or Read & Analyze), and you can assign different permissions at the account, property, and view levels. The permissions govern which actions users can take, and whether they have access to reports.
You need at least one account so you can have access to Analytics, and so you can identify the properties you want to track. How you manage the relationship between accounts and properties is up to you. You can use a one-to-one relationship of one account/one property, or you can use a one-to-many relationship of one account/many properties. You can have multiple Analytics accounts. If you do not have an account, sign up for one here.
Within an Analytics account, you add the properties from which you want to collect visitor data. When you add a property to an account, Analytics generates the tracking code that you use to collect data from that property. The tracking code contains a unique ID that identifies the data from that property, and makes it easily identifiable in your reports. Analytics also creates one unfiltered view for each property you add.
A view is a defined perspective of the data from a property, and provides access to the reports for that property.
For example, within a property you might have:
- One view of all the data for www.example.com
- One view of only AdWords traffic to www.example.com
- One view of only traffic to a subdomain like www.sales.example.com
You define a view by applying filters.
When you add a property to an account, Analytics creates the first view for that property. That first view has no filters, and so includes all the data for that property. To ensure that you always have access to all of the data for a property, do not delete that first unfiltered view.
You can create additional views and apply filters to them so that they each include the specific subset of data in which you're interested.
When you create a view, you can then report on that particular data from the creation date of the view forward. For example, if you create a view on June 1, then you can report on data from June 1 forward, but not on any data collected prior to June 1.
If you need to report on data from before the creation date of a view, you can use your first, unfiltered view, and use the date range and other controls to isolate specific information. Be careful, however, not to apply filters to that view.
If you delete a view, that specific perspective of the data is gone. Forever. Don't delete a view if you think you might ever want to report on that particular perspective of the data.
To view reports in Analytics, you first select a view. While Analytics includes a default set of reports, only those that correspond to the data identified for the view have any content.
You add users to an Analytics account. You can add those users at the account, property, or view level; and you can restrict their access at each level. When you add a user, you identify that person by an email address that is registered in Google accounts, and you assign the appropriate permissions. Depending on the permissions you assign, that user can manage other users, perform administrative tasks like creating additional views and filters, and see the report data.