Navigating the Settings in the New GA Interface – We’re not in Kansas anymore


Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale

I’ve been meaning to write this post for several months, as I’ve repeatedly fielded questions (and complaints) about how to find things “behind the scenes” in the administrative settings of the new Google Analytics interface. Now that the “new” new interface has finally been released, it’s time to highlight the major landmarks. Once you know what to look for, it will make a lot of sense. And managing your accounts and profiles will be faster and easier than ever.

Where Did My Reports Go?

The first thing you may notice about the new interface when you log in to Google Analytics is the big empty orange bar. Where is everything? This is the new “Account Home” – what used to be the overview of all your accounts. There are no numbers here for comparison (sad), just an alphabetized list of accounts and profiles. And where are the reports?

Account Home

Usually instead of heading for the administrative settings first you’ll want to go straight to a report. So let’s take a quick detour through the up-front navigation and then I’ll take you behind the scenes.

Searching and Clean Profile Switching

To get to a report you have to choose a profile. You could scroll through the list, expanding the plus signs, but… don’t. (Unless it’s a really short list.) The fastest way is to start typing in the Search box either the name of the profile or the account it’s under. Then click on the profile you want and the Visitors Overview report will appear.

Account Home Search

You can use the same type-to-search method to switch profiles from any report, only this time you type in the Accounts List under the arrow at the upper left. By the way, if you want to see the name of the profile you’ve currently selected, you have to hover over the web property name in the orange bar (again, sad – wish they’d display the profile name instead).

Account List Search

On the other hand (not sad!) when you switch profiles, GA will remember the way you’ve configured the report – such as changing the date range, the view, or the filter – and show you the same report in the new profile. For me, this clean profile switching is one of the best features of the new interface.

Now we’re ready to go behind the scenes and figure out what’s what in the new administrative settings.

Gear Icon Black

Gear Icon White

Meet the Web Property – A Group of Profiles

When you click the gear icon at the top right of GA, your first thought might be, “Where the heck am I?” Take a deep breath. We’re at the Web Property level. Think of it as a group of profiles that all have the same Web Property ID number (UA-XXXXX-Y).

That means all the profiles here get their data from web pages with this number in the tracking code. The URLs of those web pages may or may not match the URL of the Web Property – because the tracking code on the page is the only thing that determines where the data ends up.

Web Property Level

What you’re looking at now are the settings for a single profile, the one shown in the Profile pulldown list (the same profile whose report you just viewed). The tabs below the profile name are the Assets, Goals, Users, Filters, and Profiles Settings for that profile only.

Above the profile name are tabs for this Web Property level, including the Tracking Code (with this unique Web Property ID number) and the Web Property settings.

So what do you do if you need another tracking code number? You create a new Web Property. And you can do that at the Account level.

Follow the Bread Crumbs to the Account Level

The trick to orienting yourself in the Account and Profile Settings is to follow the bread crumbs at the top of the page. Our tour began at the deepest level, in a single Web Property with a single profile selected.

Bread Crumbs

So to go to the Account level, click on the Account Name in the bread crumbs at the top. Now the tabs say Webproperties, Users, Filters, Data Sources, and Account Settings. Here you can choose the button for + New Web Property if you want to get another snippet of code with a new tracking number.

There are a couple other important features here as well. In the old interface you may have known them as the User Manager and the Filter Manager. If you didn’t know them, allow me to introduce you.

Discovering the User Manager and Filter Manager

There are times when you need to make user or filter changes only in one or two profiles. And the new clean profile switching works great for that here behind the scenes, the same as it did up-front in the reports.

But if you have changes to make in lots of profiles, checking them one at a time is not so great. Or if you simply need information about a particular user (which profiles does he have access to?) or a particular filter (which profiles use that filter?) then checking one at a time is also clearly suboptimal.

Here at the Account level, the Filters tab is the same as the Filter Manager, and the Users tab is the same as the User Manager.

Account Level

With these tabs, you can apply changes to multiple profiles all at the same time. Or you can just look up information about a particular user or filter. Click the Filters tab and then click any filter to see how this works.

Filter Manager

When you select a filter, you’ll see a list of all the profiles currently using that filter. You can easily add or remove profiles, or just make a note of which profiles use this filter.

You’ll see something similar when you select a User under the Users tab (but not for Administrators, since Administrators have access to every profile). Give a User access to multiple profiles or remove access here, without having to visit the Users tab for each profile one at a time. It’s supposed to work the same way, but for now, it doesn’t and you’ll have to set User access one profile at a time.

Last Stop – Account Administration and Back Again

And finally you can even go all the way back up the trail of bread crumbs to the highest level, by clicking All Accounts.

Account Administration

Here under Account Administration you’ll see the accounts you have access to and whether you’re a User or Administrator for each one. The button to create a new account is here, too.

Navigating back down into an account, to a web property, to a profile, feels more intuitive than the upward climb through the bread crumbs. It’s a little more obvious where you’re going. After a few trips up and down, the tabs at each level will become familiar landmarks and you’ll be a pro.

The navigational tools in the downward direction are mostly familiar, too. You can use the page navigation in the lower right, or even “star” frequently used accounts and web properties (alas, not profiles). And type-to-search is available at every level. It’s my favorite way to get where I want to go fast.

What do you like (or dislike) the most in the administrative settings of the new interface? What’s missing or what do you wish Google Analytics would change? Please share in the comments.

Dorcas Alexander is a Manager for the Analytics & Insight department. Her path to LunaMetrics followed stints in ad agency creative, math, and computer science. Dorcas has a master's degree in language and information technologies from Carnegie Mellon University, where she helped build precursors to a Universal Translator. One of the top-rated tournament Scrabble players in Pennsylvania, Dorcas has an insatiable drive to compete and win.

  • Hi Dorcus,

    How have you found setting up new profiles in the new version of GA? I keep on having difficulties, it commonly won’t let me save settings. I have now switched to the new GA for reviewing reports but find myself having to flick back to the old version for any configuration work.



    • Dorcas Alexander

      Hi Peter, Google Analytics is still a work in progress – minor fixes and updates continue to be rolled out unannounced, and sometimes you will see errors saving profiles or other unsuccessful saves. One time I was unable to save changes to a profile, but after I logged out of GA completely and then logged back in again, I was able to proceed normally. More frequently I see temporary glitches in the display. Typically I can resolve them either by refreshing the page or by exiting the current screen and trying again. I do all my configuration work in the new interface because I really like the clean profile switching there. Are other administrators of your account also having the same issue (or are you the only admin)? Hope you can resolve it. Best regards, Dorcas

  • Seriously, WHERE is the profile settings tab? LOL. Pulling my hair out. We need to delete old accounts and I was hoping Google would find a better, easier way with the new version. Help.

    • Dorcas Alexander

      Hi Diane, I felt exactly the same way when I was learning my way around the new interface. The screen shot above (under the heading, “Follow the Bread Crumbs”) shows where you’ll see the Profile Settings. Make sure you’re logged in with an email that has Administrative access and not just User access since Users can’t see the Settings, Filters, Goals, etc. If you need to manage accounts, rather than profiles, click on the link for “All Accounts” that you see in that same screen shot. Hope that helps!

  • Dan

    Is there anyway of getting the account overview of all your website profiles on a single page? I loved the way I could see at a glance how everything was performing on the old Analytics, now I have to click into every website and can’t find a way to view and compare side by side.


    • Dorcas Alexander

      Hi Dan, This feature is not currently available in the new interface. I recommend scrolling to the bottom of the account overview page and clicking the “Send Feedback” link. Google continues to update the new interface according to feedback from users; in fact, I see new or improved features every week without any official announcement from GA. They really are reading the feedback, so feel free to share your comments about the account overview and anything else as well!

  • It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pete

    Just getting started. Company wants to track download traffic to a intra-company web page. I would greatly appreciate directing me as to the steps a novice can take to get a tracking-report device active within my departments web page. Thanks

    • Dorcas Alexander

      Hi Pete, To track downloads you need event tracking code on the link or button a visitor clicks to initiate the download. (You also need the page with the link or button to contain basic GA tracking code with your GA account number.) See the official GA Event Tracking Guide for detailed implementation instructions.

  • I have has google analytics connected to the blog part of the above website for about 4 years.
    Just recently the past few months, when I go to access my analytics it says that i do not have access to Analytics and I should go to the control panel to enable it.
    I go to the control panel and have searched all over and not been able to find how to enable it. Its been so frustrating how much time I have spent looking how to access my analytics, can you help at all? Google makes it so difficult to get help..
    Thanks, Jules

    • Dorcas Alexander

      Hi Jules, I am not sure what you mean by the control panel. Perhaps you need to log in with a different Google account in order to access your analytics data. Have you received any emails recently about upgrading Google Analytics to Universal Analytics? The email address that received those emails is the one you should use to log in to GA.

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