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  • Optimal approach for managing extensive subdomain tracking in a single GA4 account

    Posted by Aaron on 14 June 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Hey there, I’ve got this complex scenario at a big university where I’m overseeing tons of subdomains and apps, and we’re switching over to GA4 (yeah, we’re late to the party!). Right now, we’ve got 20+ properties each housing up to 25 views, and these bad boys are all tracking individual apps or subdomains. We usually grant permission to access these views on an individual basis.

    But here’s the kicker – GA4 doesn’t do views anymore. So, I’m just curious if any of you had to wrestle with this before, especially how you managed to divvy up your subdomains. Ideally, we’d love to stick with one account if we can, and we’re really aiming to clean up and streamline the data for our users.

    Oh, and we’re using Google Tag Manager too, for what it’s worth.

    Up to this point, we’ve got a single GA4 property with a datastream for our main web, but the apps are still in the dark. We’ve also set up a few other properties for our heavy hitters – colleges or departments that will likely be needing a whole bunch of custom stuff.

    I’m wondering whether it would make sense to make more properties with a bunch of “web” datastreams for all those subdomains. But then, how will this switcheroo impact the way users are engaging with our new analytics setup? I’m really mulling over whether we should tackle this in a totally different way.

    Quinn replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • David

    3 July 2023 at 4:48 am

    Hey, in your situation, it’s not about creating new properties for different people or stakeholders but for different types of activities that you’re tracking. So, more properties wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial.

    Yes, GA4 doesn’t use views, but you can still filter reports using the hostname dimension. Using hostname-based segments would be a great way to help stakeholders make sense of the data.

    For tracking your apps, Firebase is the way to go. It syncs directly with GA4 in its own datastream, so why not keep it with the web data?!

    Just remember to not dive into creating more properties unless it’s really needed. It can lead to needless complexity that can throw a wrench in the data collection and processing stages. And let’s face it – nobody likes dealing with a complex mess when they don’t have to. Keep it clean and simple, my friend!

  • Quinn

    6 July 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Switching from traditional Google Analytics to GA4 presents a unique set of challenges, especially with your complex setup where you look after numerous subdomains and apps. In GA4, the concept of views doesn’t exist anymore. However, you can use data streams within a single GA4 property to represent different apps or sites. For a big organization like yours, a good approach would be to create one GA4 property for each sub-brand, department, or functional unit that needs separate reporting and user access control. Then, for each property, create a data stream for every app or subdomain. This way, you can grant access at property level to mimic the access control you had with views, keeping the same granularity. Remember, a property in GA4 is not the same as in Universal Analytics, it’s rather a flexible container for data, which might represent a brand, a functional unit or any other form of logical separation. As for the user engagement, the switch to GA4 shouldn’t present significant changes unless they were extensively using some features no longer present in GA4.

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