Google Analytics accounts that are set up the right way, follow the recommended structure:
Organization –> Account –> Property –> View
There are different considerations that must be made throughout this hierarchy but down at the view level is where most of the hands-on, down-and-dirty, tactical work is done when it comes to exploring your website or mobile data. As a result, ensuring that the “right” views are in place is important (if not imperative).
Most individuals experienced in managing Google Analytics have their own preferences when it comes to how many views should be set up and what type but the following tend to be the most common. Keep in mind that too many views can quickly clutter an account so it’s best to avoid adding them uncessarily and delete them when they become unneccessary.
The following are three views I recommend setting up (or ensuring they include) when you gain access to a new property:
Raw Data View
Once the account has been set up, the most important view for each property is what is known as the Raw view. A Raw Data View does not include any filters or have any goals established – it is simply a collection of all the data being tracked by the system. The view is important to set up because if for some reason the data in other views becomes corrupted, the data within this view will always be available.
Just as important is the raw view is the test view as it enables you to implement different filters and settings to determine if everything is working properly. If it is, they can then be implemented on the master view. The test view is simply a safer and more process-driven approach to implementing tracking changes in the master view (although the raw data view will always be accessible).
The main view, the one that GA users will interact with most often, is that of the Master View. This is where all the filters are applied, where the goals and custom reports have been put in place, and where site search will be enabled. It’s where all the analysis is done. Remember that if you’re going to implement new settings or make modifications to existing ones, use the Test View first and leave your Master View alone.
Other View Options in Google Analytics
The three views listed above are just the beginning. Masters users of Google Analytics often set up very specific views to exert more precise control. For example, views can be set up for specific people within an organization, for individual sources of traffic or for designated locations. This may be overkill however as most of this can be achieved through filters, but there is some value in the approach as GA users won’t have to drill down to specific reports or clutter their dashboard with specific report views.
With the right views in place you will be able to ensure that you’ve got the most accurate information possible and be able to apply all the capabilities of the Google Analytics system to your data.