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Ownership of Google Analytics Accounts

This is a critical topic for analytics managers in online businesses of all sizes, as it’s vital to know who owns and manages Google Analytics accounts and access permissions for your company. The analysis of this important data can be crucial for streamlining the profitability and success of a modern-day business, but the management of access to it is often over-looked.

At corporate, SMB, or small business levels, there can often be multiple accesses granted to numerous administrators of an analytics account over time. These can be across various departments, or for internal or third party managers who may have also created the account in the first place. Most large companies have multiple pockets of analytics professionals spread throughout the organisation so it’s possible that there are multiple users of the account/s with differing levels of access privileges.

The important issue is that the business needs to ensure ownership of their own website analytics data, and have control over access to this information to maintain security and longevity of the reporting. There have been many cases where a website developer has created the Google Analytics account, for example, but not provided the site owner with full admin rights, so that there is always a danger that in the long term, if relations with the supplier sour, then the business could lose access to their account.

Since many companies are now using Google Analytics, Google has improved the ways in which access permissions are granted, as they understand the importance of the access privileges and have therefore provided the ability of users to do this in a logical manner. Google introduced two big changes to user permissions in recent years:

  • There are now three different types of user permissions: 1) Manage Users provides full control of the settings and user access 2) Edit access enables users to make changes to the set-up options, but not provide access to other users, and 3) Read & Analyse access gives users the ability to view reports but make no changes to the settings.
  • These 3 different types of permissions can now be applied any of the 3 different admin ‘levels’ of a Google Analytics account: Account level, Property (website) level and View (reports) level.

This set of options enables Analytics administrators to apply the correct permissions based on what the User should be able to do. For example, a big company with a separate marketing team can provide access to only those sections they wish them to view. It’s important that ownership of the account is clear, as many organisations forget to audit the people that have access to the data and so this should be done at least once a year (or once a quarter depending on the required level of data governance).

People that that don’t need access should be removed, or have their permissions adjusted as necessary. It’s also best practice to regularly assess and limit the number of users that have Edit permissions at the Account level, and of course to ensure that the login accounts with full manager access are part of the business and not an email that is linked to an external agency or could be lost in the future.

Analytics data can provide valuable insights into the way in which a website is running, so maintaining full ownership of the account is a significant consideration, which is often over-looked in the successful running of a business. You can read more about managing Google Analytics User permissions in this article by Justin Cutroni, the primary Analytics evangelist at Google.

If you would like to know about ensuring the correct levels of Google Analytics management for your business, contact us now for more information.