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I'd like to get some advice on how to setup Google analytics for us. We create websites for clients, which are pretty much using the following URLs (2 domains, each with 35+ client sites on each domain. The number of client sites keeps growing)

http://domain1.com/clientSite1
http://domain1.com/clientSite2
http://domain1.com/clientSiteN

http://domain2.com/YetAnotherClientSite1
http://domain2.com/YetAnotherClientSite2
http://domain2.com/YetAnotherClientSiteN

My idea was to create 2 properties in google analytics (1 for domain1.com, and 1 for domain2.com) and then create as many views for each property as there are client sites hosted for that property. Views would be created with filters, based on the client site URL (e.g. view 'clientSite1' for property 1 would have the filter "URL contains /clientSite1").

The problem is that Google analytics is limited to 25 views per property. Is there any way to have all traffic tracked in Google analytics, but clearly separated per client website?

  • Are you hoping to give each customer access to their own view? – James Tikalsky May 3 '17 at 1:41
  • No, it's really just for us. – David May 3 '17 at 7:05
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We had a similar situation where we wanted to aggregate GA data for around 150 client sites. One difference was that each of these sites was on its own domain (domainX.com, domainY.com). (We use structured templates and so wanted to see if we could identify UX and traffic patterns related to our content.)

We came to a solution using Google Tag Manager. Since we already host the UA code snippet in each domain's unique account, we added a second, shared UA code snippet which fires for every domain - effectively, two UA codes are deployed for all pageviews, after both tags fire.

This seems to work well, with some limitations. Since we wanted to track templates, the obvious method of segmentation based on template (we tried this using domains for segmenting) is not effective since GA has a limit on those filters. Event tracking is also tricky for conversions; we use a tool that tracks phone calls as events, but since that fires independently with it's own GTM tag, and each of the profiles for this tool were tied to the unique domains, it was impossible to aggregate them. It also should go without saying that the data collection will start new for the aggregate code, since it's a fresh UA.

If those aren't concerns of yours, it may also be an option to consider. It's fairly easy to implement (I rolled out the tag to all 150ish sites in about an hour or so). Plus, we get to call it the AggDash, which sounds kinda neat.

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OK, I did this piece-meal, but hope it is all coherent and makes sense.

Here are a couple options with a bunch of assumptions made, but feel free to fire back with questions. As to your question "Is there any way to have all traffic tracked in Google analytics, but clearly separated per client website?", yes, you can get all GA data tracked for each website, and you can separate each website data, but the question should be more of "how comfortable would you be with switching between properties or views to access their data and how quickly will you be accustomed to your final account structure?". Unless you have 360, there's no way you'll get all websites tracking into the same property and under different views, or even each website tracking into its own property (which are probably the two best scenarios). I present to you a couple of options which help, but again you'll need to come to grips with the fact that you'll be jumping between properties and possibly accounts.

Option 1: One account per domain/client, one property per website

Create one GA account for each domain, and then one property for each site. You probably wouldn't be concerned about rollup across both domains (assuming the sites are fairly different), so this option would work well. One GA account can then support up to 50 websites, and then you could have best practice views for each property (minimum of master, test, raw). There would be a lot of rote work in creating views and filters, but you could leverage the management APIs to help you out. Also, depending on how the sites are deployed, if they have similar structure and layout, you could also use Google Tag Manager with a single account and container for each domain, and then use a lookup table to "direct" data to the different properties.

Pros:

  • you have 25 views for each website, including best practice views and more if needed
  • things look pretty clean (up to 50 websites) and are all within the same account
  • each client has its own account

Cons:

  • more configuration required for each property
  • would require multiple GA accounts and therefore would jump between accounts and properties
  • new account required each time you get > 50 websites

Option 2: One property be domain/client, one view per website

The limiting factor for this option is, as you already know, the limit in the number of views available to you per property. Here the setup would be one property per domain, and one view per website. With one view per website, you wouldn't have capacity for best practice views, and also your data could span more than one property for a particular client. You could also have a rollup view for each property, but it wouldn't be complete if the client has more than 25 sites. Again, GTM can be used if you are tracking similar things on the sites and all data would be sent to the same property with your filters separating out the data. The GA configuration of filters would not be as extensive as Option 1.

Pros:

  • Can get rollup per domain, but up until you exceed the 25 views
  • easier configuration of filters

Cons:

  • won't be able to fit in best practice views
  • client data would span multiple properties (if more than 25 sites)

Bonus: Food for thought...

One thing to consider is that if you are anticipating 70+ websites, then you might want to consider getting a 360 license (likely not going to fly with your clients though!), in which case you would have the ability to request more properties and views, and you'd get more Custom Dimension and Metrics and access to BQ and so much more! At, say, $150k for the license, that would divide out to just under $3k per website, and I don't think that's unreasonable to charge to the clients (so about $75k per client .... ouch!). Anyway, food for thought.

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