What is Roll-Up Reporting in GA 360?
Roll-Up reporting combines data from multiple Google Analytics properties and lets you view them in a single one.
For example, say you have a brand website (www.yourbrand.com), an ecommerce site (shop.yourbrand.com), a slew of paid search landing pages (www.yourbrand-marketing.com/Campaign-Name), and several international sites (www.yourbrand.eu, www.yourbrand.ca, www.yourbrand.co.uk), roll-up reporting merges data points -- in the form of Google Analytics “hits” -- into an individual property.
Your data is “rolled up” into a single Google Analytics (GA) property that contains aggregated data from ALL (or however many you specify) of your websites and digital properties.
It’s an extremely useful feature of GA 360 that can provide significant value if you know how to leverage it properly. In this first section we’ll walk you through why you should be using the Roll-Up property feature in GA 360 and what you can do with it. In the next section we’ll get to the nitty gritty details of how to set it up and what the nuances are.
The Value Proposition: Why This Matters to Your Business and to You
GA 360 Roll-Up Versus Manual Roll-Up
The largest benefit of the Roll-Up feature is just how simple it is to create and set up, compared to how you’d have to do it manually. Let’s pretend you’re a client with 20 different sites, all with their own custom tracking and naming conventions for the tags. In order to manually roll these properties up and get an enterprise view of all 20 sites together you’d have to re-tag all 20 sites with additional tracking, which in itself is expensive and time consuming. This can get even more complex depending on whether any of the sites are Ecommerce sites or built on different platforms.
With Roll-Up reporting, it takes the initial set-up time with Google and then the time in selecting the properties and setting up the views - so as little as 30 minutes - and with a click of a button you have the data from all 20 of your sites in one place, without having to add additional tracking to each site.
This alone leads to significant time and money savings.
Track User Behavior Across Your Sites
Having a Roll-Up property also allows you to be able to trace user behavior across properties. This means you’ll have a better understanding of how each of your brands and websites may impact each other. Not to mention how actions taken on one site can influence a conversion or purchase made on another. This is especially important for clients with multiple interconnected sites that link out to one another because it lets you get a sense of content consumption across your brand, as opposed to a single website.
You can analyze how landing on site A impacts conversions on site B and where each site falls along the user journey, and use this to identify high value sites versus low value sites in the conversion funnel.
Audience Development & Remarketing
Actionably speaking, you can use insights from roll-up reporting to optimize conversions based on actual user behavior. You can see whether a tool completion on your brand site has any effect on purchase on your Ecommerce site. Or whether viewing content or sites in a specific order leads to greater goal completion. This opens the door to remarketing opportunities and targeted audience development (among other digital marketing strategies).
How Roll-Up Reporting in GA 360 Works
Users are identified by the same Client ID across the different properties in “The Roll-Up”, their session data is merged -- meaning it does not break when they travel across different subdomains and domains owned by your company. This allows you to see the full user journey from one point to another even if it’s not on the same website.
- You must have a Google Analytics 360 account in order to use this feature (if interested in inquiring about getting Google Analytics 360 through Seer, click here). Want to learn more before taking the plunge? We got ya, get to know the benefits of GA 360 here.
- The Roll-Up property and source properties must all be under the same Analytics 360 account - you cannot roll up properties in separate Google Analytics accounts. For instructions on how to move properties between accounts, you can find more of the details and configuration requirements right here.
- 360 must be turned on for each of the source properties (as opposed to Standard).
Setup Details: Creation & Management
If you’re anything like us, you’re raring to set up your own Roll-Up property at this point.
However, before you set up a Roll-Up property, you must first take into account how this will impact your hit count. Each hit processed by a Roll-Up Property is counted separately from the corresponding hit in the Source Property, and counted as half of a hit rather than a full hit when it comes to your monthly billable hit volume.
For example, say your website gets about 10 million hits in your Roll-Up Property, Analytics counts that as only 5 million in GA 360.
But don’t forget -- you can’t directly create a Roll-Up property yourself as of right now. You have to contact the Google Analytics 360 Support team to set it up for you (we’re used to that by now, our Seer Analytics team is a trusted Google partner, we handle the nitty gritty for your business so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff -- get a breakdown here.
The good thing is the process is quick and you can contact them via email, chat, or by submitting a help ticket directly from your account and provide the following information:
- Company name
- Account number for the Analytics account in which you want the Roll-Up Property
- Time zone for the Roll-Up Property (e.g., (GMT -08:00) Pacific Time)
- Default hostname (e.g., www.example.com)
- Number of Roll-Up Properties you want
Once you submit this, the support team will create the Roll-Up property and you should be able to access the property in your account and manage it by going to Property > Roll-Up Management.
You can also begin to add your source properties and start sending hits to your Roll-Up property there.
The types of Source Properties from which data is merged include:
- Properties for sites linked via cross-domain tracking
- Properties for different directories or subdomains of the same top-level domain
- User-ID properties for sites or apps that share the same login
The note about linking properties via cross-domain tracking is an important one to keep in mind. Unless you have cross domain tracking set up for your sites, Google Analytics will not know to merge your data.
This means that for the rollup feature to work properly, you must set up cross-domain tracking between the sites you’d like to see data merged for. For more on how to set up cross-domain tracking in Google Tag Manager, click here.
Something else to note is that Source Property settings do not carry over to the Rollup property. Since you’re rollup up data across multiple properties, each with its own setting, the Rollup won’t automatically roll those settings over. This means you’ll need to set up your Rollup property in line with best practices, the same way you’d set up any new property.
Additionally, you’ll need to create your Raw, Test and Overall views and add the appropriate filters before you’ll be ready to go. Read more about creating new views here.
Once you’re rolling with your Roll-Up (see what I did there?) we wanted to call out that if you notice the data in your Roll-Up not matching that in the Source properties you’re not the only one. This is due to the session merging that happens in the Roll-Up, which leads to some anomalies between the properties.
Where possible, GA 360 will identify users by their Client ID and merge sessions where this occurs. However, session timeout settings can affect how sessions are merged when users navigate among Source Properties. Standard session timeout is 30 minutes (the default) on both of the Source Properties and on the Roll-Up Property.
Additionally, if users are not identified by the same Client ID across different source properties, then the session data is not merged and is duplicated.
As a result, the number of sessions in a Roll-Up Property does not necessarily equal the sum of all sessions in Source Properties (which is okay).
Got it. This is great. Where can I learn more about GA 360 capabilities?
Lastly - did you know that Seer is Google Analytics 360 Premium Reseller? To get in touch with the team and chat on how we can support your business and marketing goals, complete our interest form below :)