For marketers involved in Google Analytics, measuring events, campaigns and conversions in the interface will sound familiar. However, there's another area one click away that gives opportunities to support data collection and analysis.
The "Admin" screen is usually frequented by analytics practitioners and those implementing data collection, but there are marketing benefits to getting familiar with the features available. Exploring Admin capabilities involves the consideration of property settings for account governance, attribution, reporting enhancement and overall user tracking.
What are properties in GA4?
In Google Analytics, a property is where the reporting on web or app data collection is located. Right now, there are two different types of properties -- Google Analytics 4 and the previous version of GA, Universal Analytics (sometimes referred to as "GA3"). The latter version will sunset and stop accepting data by July 2023, so all marketers should be migrated to GA4 or in the midst of migration.
As a tip, you can determine if it's the old version by looking at the property ID. The ID is visible under the property name in the main dropdown or in parentheses in the Admin > Property column. Does the number follow the letters "UA" and look something like this: UA-12345-1? If yes, that means that it is not a GA4 property.
Universal Analytics property IDs are tracking IDs. So, that ID would go on the website or in a tag manager to collect the data. It's important to know that the data source should be reviewed or added if you see any missing data or broken tracking. The number to request for GA4 is "measurement ID."
Properties aren't just about base measurement and they do much more than house the data and reports in GA4. Property settings and governance can affect remarketing capabilities, data integrity and even interpreting conversions.
How account structure relates to measurement strategy
Account structure is the foundation of a reliable and actionable analytics implementation. Decisions around where data should flow into which properties affect the analysis of the user journey. This is why it's important to have an understanding of how properties work with each other.
When dealing with only one website or app, it's typically straightforward and only involves creating a single data stream for a single property. For multiple websites and apps, websites with multiple domains and Google Analytics 360 customers, there are more great features to keep in your back pocket.
If a website has different domains (such as www.exampleA.com and www.exampleB.com), it's essential for marketers to make note of where the data is and why. This is a step where things can go wrong, resulting in a drop in data integrity.