Data Import lets you upload data from other systems into Google Analytics. To do this, Google Analytics needs to match an existing dimension with a dimension in your uploaded data. This is called a “key” because it allows the two datasets to be connected together.
For example, the Google Merchandise Store can track revenue using Enhanced Ecommerce, and it can track how much money it’s spending on ads by linking their Google Ads account. But what if they want to add additional cost data for other non-Google Ads marketing campaigns?
The Store can use Data Import to import the cost data, clicks, and impressions for ads served on other platforms. The key to connect these two datasets is the “source medium” dimension. This will require some planning, since the Google Merchandise Store will need to manually tag their destination URLs with source and medium parameters.
All Google Analytics accounts have the ability to import data that will be matched to collected hits. This is called "processing time" data import. Note that it is not retroactive, so it won’t impact past data and is a permanent part of your data once imported.
If you are an Analytics 360 customer, you can import data that will be matched to past hits when you query a report. This is called “query time” data import. It can retroactively affect your data and is not permanent, but be aware that at this time it is still in beta.
The first step when importing data is to define the data set you wish to import. In Google Analytics, click Admin. Then select the property to which you want to import the data, and under Property select “Data Import.” To begin, select “New Data Set.”
You can import different types of data into Google Analytics. For the Google Merchandise Store, we can select Cost Data and click ‘Next Step’ to continue.
Name the data set. Then select which views should include this data.
Each data set type has a specific schema, which determines the format and key for your data. For the Store cost data, the data set must include the Medium and Source keys. Beneath the keys you can view which dimensions may be imported such as Referral Path or Google Ads Content ID, or which metrics may be imported such as clicks, costs, and impressions.
If your cost dataset contains multiple rows with the same keys, Google Analytics can either summarize the data or overwrite the data. Summarize means to sum the metrics for all the rows with duplicate keys. Or choose Overwrite to have Google Analytics use the newest data in your data set.
Once you have defined the data set, Google Analytics will create a data schema that you can download. We recommend downloading the schema template and opening it in a spreadsheet. In the spreadsheet, you can enter all of your key values and imported metrics. Once complete, you can save this file as a CSV file.
When you are ready to upload it to Google Analytics, go back into the Data Import section on the Admin screen, and next to the data set you created, click “Manage uploads.” Click “Upload File” to upload your data set to Google Analytics.
It can take up to 24 hours for this imported data to be processed. Once processed, you can build custom reports, advanced segments, or remarketing lists using the data. Note that this data will only be available from the moment the data import gets processed. This data will not show up in date ranges prior to the data import.
With a little preparation and planning, Data Import can help extend your analysis and drive more insights.