Coordinating analytics reporting across a team can feel like whack-a-mole rather than a progressive workflow. Who is in charge of updating an analytics report? Who should be notified when reports are updated? Who no longer needs to be notified?
To make Google Analytics reporting less of a game, users should review access management. Doing so will help answer reporting questions and avoid the blame game when reporting goes askew.
Understanding the Reporting Structure in Google Analytics
Creating a team plan for Google Analytics workflows starts with understanding the hierarchy of accounts, properties and views. An account is what your team will log into to view administrative settings and associated reports.
A property is meant to assign an analytics measurement to an app or website or landing page. Teams can choose to display website or app metrics or subsections of websites or apps into separate views. The view is the presentation layer for Google Analytics, how you see dimensions and metrics in a report.
Accounts function as an organizational “parent” to properties and views. Your team sets the organization of reporting and views according to the websites, app or landing pages that are meant to be included in a Google Analytics account.
Understanding Google’s Access Management
Google provides two access management features in the admin to make any adjustments to the account structure. One is set for account and the other is according to property. Arranging access by account and property aligns administrative permissions according to permissions of individual users. A company could limit access to certain properties, giving only one team responsibilities instead of allowing the entire team to have editing responsibilities across the entire account.
There are four settings for access management. Manage Users is where you change user permissions. To change permissions, you add or delete the email address associated with a given team member. The Edit setting allows you to adjust the reporting view. The Collaborate setting allows more editorial adjustments — at this level, several individuals can create and edit shared assets, such as dashboards, report segments or even custom reports. The Read and Analyze setting allows people to view reports and configurations without them having access to edit settings. This is perfect for managers who need to see the outcome of the dashboards or custom reports without getting involved in the creation.
The four settings gives admins the flexibility to determine who needs edit access and to assign the report or group of reports they have access to.
Google updated these access modules after receiving feedback on the limited scope of admin settings in Google Analytics’ early years. The standard practice then was to add the email of a primary user to an account. But if that person no longer had access — due to team changes or if they were out of office for an extended period — downstream users could not access some reports. This forced people to share account logins to avoid continuity issues in accessing reports. Google introduced the updated administrative access capabilities a few years ago to avoid such scenarios.
How Analytics Teams Can Make the Most of GA4 Settings
A previous post discussed the need to ask specific questions when working in analytics. That specificity extends to deciding who should see GA4 reports and when to analyze reports. Share the baseline questions the report is meant to answer, plan the analytics reports, tags and tools as needed, and then give report editing access to the key analysts who are following the data. Too many cooks in the account settings can be disastrous, so the proper access between edit or view allows everyone involved to check on the reports as needed. Following this practice will establish your rules for running a useful analysis workflow with your team.
Google also offers a historical view into account access changes. In the property setting menu, select property history. A list of changes made to the property will appear, including who changed it, the date of implementation, and which property it impacted. The date range is adjustable to display the full history. The list can be handy for knowing the complete background on user access to inform decisions on next steps.
Most of these settings are straightforward, so no need to bring in a consultant to help here. But if your team is implementing GA4 with a consultant agency, do discuss the organization of the admin settings. It will establish how reporting will be managed and can highlight what analytic tag planning should occur. Doing this gives everyone involved a shared, complete familiarity with what the expected reporting workflow is within your organization.
It also highlights potential concerns as the team reviews campaign results in the reports, from optimization tasks to knowing who has access for privacy compliance. Many steps will not yield an immediate answer. But openly communicating about these settings will keep teams moving forward in unison.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides recommendations and web development action that improves marketing strategy and business profitability.