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by Gemma Holloway on 4th December 2013
Hello. Today I’m going to talk to you about how to set up your Google Analytics account to track data across multiple websites. Now there could be a whole host of reasons why you’d have multiple websites in the first place, but for the purpose of this video I’m going to focus on an international company using multiple sites to target different locations across the world.
So there are three common methods that you could use. The first is probably the easiest, and it involves creating a new web property per site. So this means that each of your sites will have their own UA code. Now, the obvious benefit of this is that you can then set up profile filters so that you can segment the site specific data even further.
The main downfall of this is that you don’t have an account which aggregates the data across all of your sites. Now, this is where method two comes into play. Method two uses the same UA code across all of your different sites, which then gives you an aggregated view of all of the data in one account.
Now, this is fine, but one thing you do need to take into consideration is cross domain tracking. Basically, that means that the cookies from one site will then be passed on to the next site so that the visit data is accurate. If you don’t implement cross domain tracking, what you will see is each of your sites appearing within referral traffic report, which obviously then affects the accuracy of this data.
Now, the main benefit of this method is that you can see your overall performance of your online channel, which is great if you want to analyse that. But what about when you want to analyse on a site specific basis? You can quite easily set up profile filters so that you can see the data specific to each site. However, should you wish to then segment that data further, you can end up with a lot of different profiles within one web property.
Now this can become confusing and can make consistency more difficult when it comes to reporting accuracy. So this is why I’d recommend method number three, which is using a roll up account. Basically what this does is tie together method one and method two. It allocates a UA code specific to each site, but then you also create another web property, an overarching web property so that each of your sites will also use the same UA code.
Now what this means is that effectively each site that you own will have two UA codes, one specific to them and one which is allocated to the overarching account. Now, this is great because they’ll see you get the benefits of both methods, but there are a couple of things that you need to consider should you choose this method.
The first thing is that, again, within the overarching account you need to ensure that cross domain tracking is implemented. Now one thing with cross domain tracking that I should have mentioned earlier is that within the content reports, you only see the request URI. Now that means that the homepage from any of your sites would appear just purely as a forward slash. That makes it difficult to differentiate which site that’s referring to. So in order to actually be able to analyse the data in more depth, you need to set up an advanced filter which pulls in both the host name and the request URI. This will allow you to identify which site each piece or each bit of data actually refers to.
The other two things to consider are both the time of day and the ROI. So there are several reports which refer to time of day and ROI within Google Analytics. Obviously, both of those are country specific. So it’s likely if you’re targeting different locations across the world, you’re going to have sites which target different time zones and sites which will present the information with different currencies. Therefore, those reports kind of need to be bypassed and looked at on a site specific basis.
Now, the final thing to take into consideration is that if you alter your cookies on any of your sites, that does change the reporting in both the aggregated account and the site specific accounts.
So that gives you the three main methods of tracking multiple site data within one Google Analytics account. Feel free to contact us if you’ve got any questions on the social profiles that will follow.