Google Analytics: 1 Mouse Click Can Cause You To Lose Everything

By Avelyn Austin | Nov 16, 2009
More Articles by Avelyn


It’s an extreme title, but it’s completely accurate.  One mouse click can cause you to lose all of the data located in a Google Analytics account.   In this post we’ll talk about:

  • What Google Analytics is.
  • How your data can easily be deleted.
  • What your Google rep will say when you ask them to restore your Google Analytics data.
  • And 5 tips to help you avoid losing data in the first place.
    Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

What is Google Analytics?

“Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.” (http://www.google.com/analytics/)

How Can Google Analytics Data be Deleted?

There are two main ways to delete a lot of data from a Google Analytics account:

  1. To delete a profile: (Google Analytics Support)
    • Select the appropriate account from the Accounts summary box.
    • In the Website Profiles box, click ‘Delete’ under the ‘Actions’ column next to the profile that you’d like to delete
    • When prompted, click OK to delete the profile
  2. To delete an account: (Google Analytics Support)
    • In the Accounts summary box click ‘Edit’ next to the account you’d like to delete
    • On the Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings page click ‘Delete this account’

**Note:  Deleting either a Profile or an Account is permanent and data cannot be restored. This means that “You won’t be able to access your reports if you decide to do this” (www.google.com/analytics/)

What Will Your Google Rep Say When You Ask Them to Restore Your Google Analytics Data?

Like I noted before, deleting your profile or account is permanent and data cannot be restored.  So when you ask your Google representative to restore the data that you deleted they’ll say something to the extent of:

“…I will submit the request to recover the deleted profile, however please [note] that there is no guarantee that we will be able to recover their data.  if we can recover the data, it often takes quite some time due to the manual nature of the recovery process and the prohibitive cost associated with reprocessing the data”

In my personal opinion this note should be translated as “We warned you that deleting the profile would permanent and because you do not spend enough money with Google it is highly unlikely that we will restore your data”.

5 Tips to Help You Avoid Losing Google Analytics Data in the First Place.

  1. Limit the number of users associated with the Analytics Account Does everyone really need to know website statistics or is it just a few individuals?
  2. Regulate Access – Once you determine who needs access to the Google Analytics data, decide what type of access they need.  If users simply need to see the data, give them ‘View Reports Only’ access (this will limit individuals from having the ability to manipulate the account which includes deleting it!).  If users do, however, need to create goals and manipulate what statistics are being tracked by Google Analytics, then you’ll need to give them ‘Account Administrator’ access.  Do keep in mind that users with ‘Account Administrator’ access have the ability to delete data.
  3. Train Users – Although all users should be trained on how to interpret Google Analytics data, it is more important to train users with ‘Account Administrator’ access on how to use Google Analytics.  The first thing a user should learn is:  Do not delete profiles or accounts.
  4. Hold Individuals Accountable – Once an individual is trained on Google Analytics they should be held accountable for their actions when manipulating an account.  Assign each user a unique login, do not share login information.  If a user no longer requires Google Analytics data remove them from the user list and if a user no longer requires the ability to manipulate the Analytics account, limit their access to ‘View Reports Only’.
  5. Backup Data Finally, because accidents do happen make sure that data is downloaded to an alternate location regularly (at least once per month).

In conclusion, losing a Google Analytics profile or account can be devistating to a website, especially one with a lot of historical data; be selective of who you are granting ‘Account Administrator’ access to.

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