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I run 4 separate business so I use 4 Google Analytics accounts.

300 web-sites in single Google Analytics account

In ONE of the business, we plan to roll-out about 300 websites, with about 10 engines, and each engine feeding about 30 websites. There is a Google Analytics "account" for this business and will contain the 300 sites inside.

Say, as a "small example" that we talk about 3 engines and 3 sites per engine, this could be our final setup:

  • Forums engine:
    • Forum about drink water quality
    • Forum about trees, plants and flowers
    • Forum about maintaining machinery in factories
  • Informational engine:
    • How to select the best dishes and glasses for home
    • How to select the best pens and markers for offices
    • How to select the best doors and windows for industries
  • Statistics engine:
    • Statistics about kids education per spanish-speaking countries.
    • Statistics about diseases in Canada per age-range.
    • Statistics about usage of radio and television on countryside areas.

What I've found so far

Every single article about configuration of Google Analytics I find suggests to put "each web site" in a "Property" under the Google Analytics account.

But each engine makes all its child sites to behave similar with similar user-flow goals. Although the URIs of ones or the others can vary, like for example the dishes and the pens sites could have different URLs like these:

https://dishes-and-plates-example.com/the-20-most-popular-glass-combinations
https://pens-and-markers-sample-site.org/how-markers-ink-can-damage-your-table

There are also common similarities like same URL paths for all of the siblings of a certain engine, like for example a brands (by brand) or a where to buy (by country) for the informational sites, or a drill-down (by axis and value) for the statistics:

# Informational sample common path "brands" by brand
https://dishes-and-plates-example.com/brands/villeroy-boch
https://pens-and-markers-sample-site.org/brands/stabilo

# Informational sample common path "where to buy" by country
https://dishes-and-plates-example.com/where-to-buy/colombia
https://pens-and-markers-sample-site.store/where-to-buy/canada

# Statistics sample common path "drill down" by analysis axis and value
https://kids-education-example.info/drill-down/subject/mathematics
https://radio-television-consumption-sample.org/drill-down/time-range/9am-12am

In the reality there will be about 10 engines with about 30 sites per engine totalizing about 300 sites.

Note that neither the brands nor the where-to-buy paths are part of neither the forums engine nor the statistics engine. Instead the statistics engine has the drill-down path common to all the sibling sites but that path does not belong neither to the forums site or the informational sites.

Put the other side: All the sister-sites run from the same engine are "similar" although they live in different domains; while they are very different from the sites generated with other engines.

Property per engine?

The inctuition tells me that placing a single site per property, ie: 300 properties under a single account does not make sense. Specially because we might be interested in looking at "all the forums" as an overall, or "all the statistic sites" as an overall.

This "suggests me" that maybe I should setup the Property to be the "engine" and then use "Views" te filter data in function of the website domain.

This is:

  • Property => Forums
    • View all
    • View forum site 1
    • View froum site 2
    • ...
  • Property => Statistics
    • View all
    • View statistics site 1
    • View statistics site 2
    • ...

Final note

I'll use the new "Google Analytics 4" for all of them, as this is a new deploy. The final goal is use analytics for SEO-positioning all the 300 sites.

Question

Can you help me find, please, official documentation where it is said if this is a good practice or not?

I mean, I'm not seeking for open answers of "you can do it like this, or like that, up to you", I already know I can do it both ways. I'm more seeking sources to validate if my inctuition is correct or incorrect: Formal documentation either from google or from other knowledgeable users that specifically say that this is a correct use case or clear advise to not do this approach for this or that techcnical reason.

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  • Google's official documentation for structuring your Google Analytics across sites is here: support.google.com/analytics/answer/1102152?hl=en However, it doesn't really address a situation like this with 300 sites. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 21 '20 at 14:03
  • Thanks Stephen. Not only it does not address the issue. Even, that documentation is outdated: it is for old Universal Analytics, not for the new Analytics 4. – Xavi Montero Nov 21 '20 at 17:18
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I think this is too unusual a situation for there to be clear official recommendations. The closest I have found is rough guidelines in the Analytics Help Center, which says you should combine data streams into a single property only when they correspond to the same user base and share integrations with services like Google Ads. I have additional thoughts based on a lot of experience with Universal Analytics and my reading about GA 4.

In Universal I would say yes, batching things together by Properties and then filtering them into separate Views the way you have outlined is the appropriate approach. In Universal Analytics there is a limit of 100 Properties per Account, so splitting out 300 sites by Property isn't possible in a single Account. You wouldn't be able to do exactly 10 x 30 since there is also a limit of 25 Views per Property, but in general, you could probably save coding by tracking similar sites in the same setup.

However. GA 4 is quite different. There is no longer any such thing as a View. The documentation discusses recreating View-based functionality in GA 4, but you won't be able to separate the traffic to a Property out to appear in different places.

There is also no longer any such thing as a filter, though it appears you can replace that with event-level data modification. I believe that would permit you to recreate the standard Universal multisite-property approach of modifying each page path to include a domain indicator, though I am not certain whether it includes pageviews. If it does not, though, you could integrate GA 4 using Google Tag Manager, which would allow you more control.

So my flow chart for deciding the best setup would be this:

  1. Do you need separate vendor integrations, for integrations done at the Property level? Then you'll need separate Properties (it appears the 100-Property limit still applies to Accounts).

  2. If not 1, do you need people to be able to access one (or a few) site's data and nothing more within GA? In that case you also need separate Properties. If the only people accessing GA directly are allowed to see all of the data in the Property (and depending on your needs, something like Google Data Studio could help with this), then it's okay to combine across Properties.

  3. Finally, if neither 1 nor 2 applies, I think your approach of combining by engine makes sense. Do something to the events to keep your data distinguishable, and use report search or Comparisons (the replacement for Segments) to filter the visible data to a single site.

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