Google analytics tip: user permission updates

The Google wizards have done it again! You now have greater control over what users can access and manipulate within your account. Google Analytics user permissions were updated with important changes: you can set user permissions at the account, property, and view levels, and you have more options of the types of access you can grant. These improved user permission settings ensure every employee, teammate, and vendor is granted a granular viewpoint of exactly the information they need to help you grow your business.


Before going any further, let’s get some definitions out of the way. Google has created a hierarchy of account access that we alluded to earlier:

  • Account: the highest level of the organization.
  • Property: the entity you are collecting metrics on using it’s unique property ID (your analytics tracking code). This might be a website, blog, or mobile application. You can then use views and filters to organize the data.
  • View: the “view” level is where you organize, filter, and segment analytics data to “view” your organizations’ activity. This may be confusing, because a “view,” or dataset, used to be called a “profile.”
 Next we need to define the new types of access:
  • Manage Users: Can manage account users (add/delete users, assign permissions). Does not include Edit or Collaborate.
  • Edit: Can perform administrative and report-related functions (e.g., add/edit/delete accounts, properties, views, filters, goals, etc., but not manage users), and see report data. Includes collaborate.
  • Collaborate: Can create personal assets and share them. Can collaborate on shared assets, for example, edit a dashboard or annotation. Includes Read & Analyze.
  • Read & Analyze: Can see report and configuration data; can manipulate data within reports (e.g., filter a table, add a secondary dimension, create a segment); can create personal assets, and share them, and see shared assets. Cannot collaborate on shared assets.

Permissions are inherited at the parent level (account > property > view), but can be overridden/customized using the new permission settings.

Control permission settings at different levels + greater permission options

In the past, Google Analytics relied on a role-based user access system with two levels: “Full Account Administrators” or “Users.” Administrator access was set at the account level (the highest level of the organization) and provided access to everything – all properties and views. Users could be assigned at the view level, but could only “read” reports. So if you needed to add team members or create reports, you required Administrator access. The limitations of these two access levels caused headaches for some organizations.

As we mentioned above, the latest Google Analytics update, enables you to set user access at every level: the account, property, or view level. These new access levels are in addition to new user permissions. As mentioned, instead of only offering two role options (user or administrator, aka, read or everything else), permission levels can be customized with a combination of “manage users,” “edit,” “collaborate,” and “read and analyze” setting.

Putting it all into context

Let’s pretend you’re Gap (we have no affiliation with Gap, but most people can recognize the brand, so it simplifies our explanation), a retailer made up of multiple recognizable brands (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, etc.). We will look at only two of their brands for our example, and A super-simplified view of Gap’s updated analytics account structure might look like:

google analytics access levels - Whereoware

In our example, Gap has two properties set up in Google Analytics, one tracking Gap’s website traffic and one tracking Old Navy’s website traffic. Let’s pretend Gap’s marketing team hires an outside marketing company (Super Marketer) to manage pay-per-click (PPC) for Old Navy. Old Navy needs to give Super Marketer the ability to create and manipulate AdWords traffic reports.

The old Google analytics settings require GAP to assign Super Marketer full administration access, because “user” access only lets Super Marketer “read” AdWords datasets, not add team members or create and manipulate reports. With full administration access, Super Marketer could access and manipulate Gap’s e-commerce and AdWords analytic reports, in addition to Old Navy’s. You can see with our simple example how these access limitations could be frustrating.

With the Google Analytics updates, Gap can assign Super Marketer access ONLY to Old Navy’s AdWords view level.  Gap can go a step further with the updated permission settings and provide “manage users” and “edit” access at the AdWords view level, so that Super Marketer can add team members and edit reports, without accessing other views and properties in Gap’s analytics arsenal.

How Gap may update permission settings:

1.  Open analytics Admin page. Set permissions by clicking User Management at the account, property, and views levels. Gap would select User Management under the AdWords View level.

google analytics user management - Whereoware


The dashboard shows users currently saved in the system and their permission settings.

2.  Hover over the dropdown arrow to open the window of permission options: manage users, edit, collaborate, read and analyze. Permissions can be combined by checking multiple boxes.
google analytics permission settings - Whereoware

3.  Checkbox permissions and click Save.

Easy! Gap’s user permission settings have been customized to best align with their organizational structure and goals. These new access levels combined with new user permissions give Gap and other organizations greater control and flexibility over their data, ensuring business data is secure, streamlined, and agile.