This post is for all you contractors and agencies out there that are setting up Google Analytics for your clients. I want to help your relationship. No, not the relationship between you and your significant other. The relationship between you and your client.
One of the biggest problems I see when working with companies is contractors that set up Google Analytics incorrectly. I’m not talking about poor configuration settings, I’m talking about Google Account issues.
Here’s the situation. You, as the contractor, decide to create a profile for each of your clients in a master Google Analytics account. This seems like a good idea because you can log in and have all your client metrics accessible in one location. Plus you can grant user access to each client so they can access their metrics. However, you can’t grant them admin access because each client would have access to ALL profiles (i.e. clients) in your account.
Here’s the problem. If you ever decide to part ways with your client there is no way to transfer ownership of their profile(s). They will have user access to their profile(s), that you created, FOREVER.
Why? When you create a profile it’s tied to a specific account. That means that the data physically flows into a specific bucket. Look at the tracking code for a profile
The account number is right there for you to see. During data collection, the data goes into the bucket for the account number in the tracking code. If you change the account number in the tracking code the data goes into a new bucket but the historical data stays in the old bucket. See, there is no way to move the data.
Account Setup Tip
To avoid this situation, do not add client websites as profiles to a single Google Analytics account. Instead, create a new Google Analytics account for each client. Then, have the client grant you, the contractor, access.
This also pertains to those of you setting up GA for your companies. Do NOT create a profile for your employer in your personal GA account.
At EpikOne we have two primary GA accounts: an admin account and a reporting account. We ask clients to add these accounts to their GA account when a project begins. The admin account is only used by a few of us. We use it to make changes to a client’s GA settings. The second account is used for day to day access to the client data. We give analysts and other internal data consumers access to this profile so they can play with the data and we don’t have to worry about them breaking any settings.
If You’re Guilty
If you’re setting up client profiles in the above manner, I suggest you tell them immediately and start a migration process. Will it be painful? Potentially. But it’s in the best interest of the client.
See the Problem for Yourself
There are some folks that are probably thinking, “Just make the client an administrator, and then delete the contractor’s admin account.” That will work, but the client will then have access to all of the profiles that are in the contractor’s account. Furthermore, if the client deletes the other client profiles, they will be deleted from the contractor’s account as well.
I think it’s difficult to visualize this problem so you can test it out for yourself. I’ve create two GA accounts that you guys can play with. I’m not sure how well it will work, but I thought I would give this a try.
If you do add/delete profiles, please re-create them for the next user. Try to leave both accounts the same way that you found them.