Transfer Google Analytics without losing historical data

Photograph of desk with computer

*** UPDATE — APPARENTLY GOOGLE HAVE CHANGED THE GOALPOSTS AND THE BELOW STEPS NO LONGER WORK. ****

I love the internet, I find it a totally fascinating place, and I’ve been working online for many years now. As a result, I’ve got all sorts of projects scattered across the web – under different accounts, linked to different email addresses, using different blogging platforms. It’s a bit of a mess, if I’m honest.

(For the record, it’s nothing sordid. I am also a freelance photographer).

For better or worse, it’s becoming increasingly clear that if you want to be taken seriously online, you need to start owning your internet identity. And so, I’m on a quest to streamline my various presences.

I started simple, and worked out how to juggle multiple Google accounts. Sometimes the simplest things can cause the biggest headaches!

My next step has been working out how to unscramble my Google Analytics. I’ve set up Analytics for this website, for my photography website, and project-based photography blogs. In bursts of well-meaning but poorly-researched enthusiasm, I had gotten the whole shebang in quite a mess.

It was a mini-nightmare to unravel, but I did work it out, and during the process I realised that the shifting nature of the Google goalposts has serious implications for many businesses.

Transfering Google Analytics without losing historical data

A good example are online marketers who are running into problems where they have set up client accounts under their own Google Analytics accounts, and are having trouble separating them out.

Let’s have a look at an example, where a mythical SEO company has been looking after the Analytics for Two10 Solutions, as well as other companies they run this service for.

Flowchart of SEO company running Google Analytics accounts for two clients.

SEOCompany has set up Analytics tracking for all their clients under the umbrella of their own account. It would seem to make sense to do that initially, so they don’t need to keep logging in and out of different accounts to do tweaking and reporting for their clients.

However, Two10 have decided to move control of their account in-house, so now the SEOCompany have a problem. They can’t just give Two10 access to their account, as the account contains all the information for other companies they are running Google Analytics for.

Two10 can set up a new account under their own steam and start tracking from that point forward, but how do they access all the historical data and information?

Step 1: Add a new user to the original Google Analytics account

  • Create a new Gmail account for Two10 (if they don’t already have one).
  • Log in to the over-arching Analytics account (SEOCompany@gmail.com), and go down to the level of Two10 Analytics
  • Add a User to the account (Two10@gmail.com), and make sure they are Administrator for this account. This is very important.

Screenshot of how to add a new user to a Google Analytics Account
Screenshot of giving user admin permissions on their Analytics account

Two10 Analytics now has 2 Administrators.   

Flowchart showing client being given administrator permissions on their Analytics account

 

Step 2: Delete the original Administrator from the Analytics Account

  • Logout of SEOCompany@gmail.com
  • Log in as Two10@gmail.com – because Two10 is an Administrator, they have total control over the account now.
  • Demote SEOCompany@gmail.com from Administrator to User
  • Delete SEOCompany@gmail.com from the account (you can’t delete an address associated with an account if they are still an Administrator, which is why you have to do the demote step first)

Screenshot of how to remove user from Google Analytics account

 

In this example, Two10@gmail.com is now in charge of their own Analytics Account, with all the historical data intact and migrated.

Flow chart showing how to swap a Google Analytics account

So, it’s a bit fiddly and involves some logging-in/logging-out/logging-in nonsense. But it does mean that all is not lost if you initially started running Analytics without really understanding the bigger picture.

 

 

About the Author

Cathy

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Cathy is the engine behind Two10 Solutions, as well as the designer behind many of our projects. When not juggling the demands of running Two10, she sometimes finds time to work on the odd photography project.

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