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Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics

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You can expand of this method for many other uses ? and is useful even if you only work with a single property. If you are wondering how to use the same method on a site with multiple domains (not subdomains) where you cannot share the same cookie (as cookies are per domain), you can sync the cookie using an iframe that will be called from all domains and will return the cookie value as a parameter in the URL. (By the way, using an iframe to sync cookies is much more accurate and reliable compared to using the cross domain tracking code suggested by Google, but that is completely off topic and I will write a separate post about it in the future. You are welcome to contact me in the meantime if you would like to hear more about this method.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 147-153 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:31:14
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mark each user on their very first visit to any of your sites. Once you have determined this, you can inform your Google Analytics using Custom Variable or Custom Dimension. For example, let?s say all my properties (blog, support, landing pages, main site, forums, etc.) are under the same domain (as subdomains or subdirectories). Setting a domain level cookie (*.yourdomain.com) on all of your pages will share that cookie across all properties. That way, the first time the user visits any of your pages, this cookie will be empty and you will know that this is the first time the user has ever visited the site (or has cleared his cookies ? which is the same for Google Analytics). All you have to do now is filter the data on your dashboard by this custom variable (the condition will be: custom variable is not empty). If you store the name of the section the user just visited in that custom variable, you will also be able to break down the number of visitors according to the first section they saw.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 140-147 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:31:04
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In the past there were certain disadvantages to using multiple views under one property, but they have been resolved. I will however mention them in brief, just to provide a complete picture: In the past, you could not set different permissions for a user across views under the same property. Once you set users as an administrator, they had administration rights to all views. (Today, however, you can set permissions up to the view level so one user can be an administrator of one view and have no access to a different view). The Real Time Reports presented raw data in the past, so you could not see filtered data for a specific view. (Today filters are applied on your real time reports). Some metrics were calculated based on raw data. (Today all metrics are calculated only based on the filtered data).
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 103-109 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:27:34
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To emphasize these disadvantages, following is a true story of one of my clients. Most of their traffic came from display campaigns. All traffic to the main website and landing pages was collected by one property in Google Analytics, with three views: (1) Master (no filters at all), (2) Non-Media traffic (traffic to the site from non media sources) and (3) Media traffic (traffic to the site with campaign information passed in the URL). At some point, one of the media buyers accidently created a Pop-Under Campaign to one of the landing pages ? but forgot to set the campaign tracking parameters. Of course, all traffic from that campaign went into the Non-Media Traffic View. Needless to say, this profile became useless from that moment on. All metrics went ?crazy?, as Pop Under Campaigns have an extremely high bounce rate, low ratio of pages per visit, and a high number of unique visitors and visits. (Completely the opposite of Non-Media Traffic?). Oops. The only person to blame here, besides the media buyer, was me ? the person who created the profile. What I should probably have done was set the filter by the first page that the user viewed (as landing pages can only be accessed by Media Traffic). Although this could also happen with multiple properties, in my experience, implementing the logic in your code as to which tracker to use (preferably via a tag manager): Makes maintenance so much easier. Reduces the possibility of mistakes. Debugging JavaScript is so much more simple to than Google Analytics filters. There is much more freedom when working with JavaScript, as decision can be based on additional information to that sent to Google Analytics.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 88-100 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:26:57
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The total number of visitors, visits, bounce rates, pageviews, etc. are of no interest whatsoever, and are not actionable. Acting based on such data could lead to significantly incorrect conclusions, and worse.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 61-64 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:19:26
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My rule of thumb is to divide a site into properties based on the personas who will be using the site. For example: Blog readers vs. potential clients vs. registered clients Free vs. paying customers Traffic from online marketing campaigns vs. organic traffic
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 59-61 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:19:11
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Data Collection ? Google Analytics has a limit of 10 million hits per month ? or at least that?s what Google states. From my past experience, Google does process more than this amount, but I?m not sure if it processes all of the data, or just more than this stated limit.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 36-38 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:16:55
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Data Freshness ? If you have more than 200,000 visits a day, Google processes the data once a day ? which could lead to a delay of two days in your data refreshness. I have also noticed that with large numbers of visits, custom variable values in standard reports are not updated for up to 3 days, but I am not 100% sure that this is necessarily due to the large amount of data sent (the data is, however, available in the API, even if the GA reports have not yet been updated in the reports).
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 38-41 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:16:50
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You can solve the overall data sampling issue by creating subsets of your data using views ? but that only helps with standard reports. Since session sampling is done on the property level, creating multiple views will not avoid data sampling when applying advanced segments or creating customized reports. You can find more information about data sampling here
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 30-34 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:13:38
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Sampled Data The first reason why using multiple properties is my prefered choice is that in most cases it enables you to use complete data, not just sampled data. Sampled data often occurs with relatively large sites when using a single property, and is of course not always optimal. If your query includes more than 500,000 visits, Google Analytics will only return sampled data. For example, if your site generates 1,000,000 visits per month, Google Analytics will use sampled data as the default on your reports.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 21-25 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:12:10
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So now let?s begin with the main advantages of using multiple properties.
Single vs. Multiple Properties in Google Analytics - blog.intlock.com - Your Highlight Location 20-20 | Added on Thursday, 22 August 13 21:12:04
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