Data & Analytics

“What gets measured gets done.” – Tom Peters

We’ve entered the next generation of analytics and data. Google Analytics is just one of many tools that can help you measure your business online. Never has it been so easy to determine ROI and results of advertising. In this section we discuss data and analytics and approaches and best practices.

Recover Access to a Google Analytics Account

A common issue I deal with is tracking down ownership of a Google Analytics account that nobody seems to have access to. Before we use this backdoor method of gaining access to the account in question, I first recommend trying to recover by logging in with as many different email addresses that might at one point had access to that account. So first, track down the proper active UA code and see if someone has access — and hopefully that account will be able to “manage users.”

Google’s Backdoor Method to Access GA

Once you’ve identified the active UA code and if you’ve failed to gain access, time to take the backdoor method! Note, this requires being able to access the website at the file level — either through cpanel “file manager” or ftp is best. You’ll be creating a text file (analytics.txt) and placing it at the root level of the domain – so that it appears /analytics.txt.

Steps to Recover your Google Analytics Account

Visit Google Support’s Troubleshooter ( for the full walk-through on this method. I’ll summarize the steps below for clarity.

  1. Select option 4: “I can’t find an Analytics administrator, 2) the Analytics administrator left the company, 3) I lost administrative access, or 4) I want to upgrade my access”
  2. Create a txt file and name it analytics.txt. You can do this using notepad or Plain Text File on a Mac.
  3. Place the following code in the text file and edit as appropriate.
    GooGhywoiu9839t543j0s7543uw1 – pls add {INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS} to GA account {INSERT UA-ID} with ‘Manage Users and Edit’ permissions – date {INSERT DATE}.

    so that it looks something like this:

    GooGhywoiu9839t543j0s7543uw1 – pls add [email protected] to GA account UA-12345678-1 with ‘Manage Users and Edit’ permissions – date October 5th, 2018.
  4. Save that file and place it at the root level of the domain.
  5. Notify Google of the file at
  6. (Option: if you unable to access the root domain, there is a meta tag version of this process. Instructions here for that process.)

It will take a few days to review and give you access. Good Luck!

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Quickly Find Your Google Analytics UA Code

Often times I need to quickly reference a UA code (UA-xxxxxxxx-x). Clarifying the active UA code can help you make sure you are accessing and inviting others to the live version of your tracking code. Sometimes I’ll be requesting access to a specific Property by looking at the source code and finding the active Property UA. Or I may be clarifying the correct Property with my client. Here’s how to to both.

Finding the UA Code in Google Analytics

There are several methods to quickly find your Google Analytics Property UA number (UA-xxxxxxxx-x). First, sign in to Google Analytics.

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GDPR & You

(The following is adapted from a recent newsletter that I sent out via the ‘Milani Five-0.’)

I wish this was a fun, post. Lot’s has been happening and according to the farmers almanac, Sunday was the time to plant and our garden is booming. I wish I was using this email to talk about the big changes in our yard after getting inspired from our trip to Mendocino (where I taught a workshop). But alas, this is all about the big EU data protection regulation and what you need to know about it, and what actions you may need to take. Let’s ‘dig’ in.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) — What is it & what does it mean for you?

If you’ve heard or seen the emails, you might be concerned or likely confused. The European Union’s new data regulations go into effect May 25th, 2018. Even though this new regulation is EU based it has worldwide impact because your website(s) are likely global.

In short, GDPR’s purpose is to give people more power to protect their personal data, and it requires businesses who collect that data — whether it be names, addresses, email addresses, phone, IP, etc — more transparency on when and how it’s used.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Tell them who you are when you collect any data,
  2. Get clear consent to process their data,
  3. Allow people to access their data,
  4. Inform people of data breaches,
  5. Give people the right to be forgotten, 
  6. Give people the option to opt out of direct marketing that uses their data,
  7. If you use “Profiling” to process applications there’s a bunch of new rules,
  8. Use extra safeguards for sensitive info like health, race and more.

There are a few more nuances to these new regulations, like transferring data between compliant and non-compliant countries. Overall, I think this is a positive thing to protect people’s data and it was inevitable.

What should you do?

Well, that part depends on your situation. You may need to bring it to your legal team if you operate internationally, or have a lot of moving parts. You should probably review this wonderful infographic/website to get familiar on how it might effect your business ( If you use WordPress, there is team of core developer that are working together to help plugin developers quickly get up to code. You can read more over there as well ( Whatever your system uses to collect information will likely have a blog or page on their website dedicated to helping you in the transition — like this WordPress Plugin’s Gravity Forms page ( Your websites/clients will need to evaluate the process for data collection, how you make it accessible on-demand, and update your Terms of Use.

Case Study:

Again every situation is going to be different, but I’ll share what I did for my website which took less than one hour. First, I updated my privacy policy to be more explicit regarding the statements above. I then added a checkbox to all my contact forms letting visitors ‘opt into’ having their information stored and that I can contact them; I also link to my privacy policy. Now, I don’t do any remarketing for my website, so I’m not implementing a opt-in for cookies. Just to be safe, I also went ahead and just turned off all Advertising features in Google Analytics (I don’t use them, but if I did then I would make sure my privacy policy is up to date in accordance to which advertising features I use, data I collect, and I would use a cookie opt-in). Finally, I went in to Google Analytics>>Admin>>Tracking Info>>Data Retention and clicked Save (In accordance with the new Google Analytics policy).


Ultimately, you should audit your own data collection process, and look for ways to comply asap. Note that many plugins and third party platforms have released statements on how they are complying. A simple search “(company/platform) + GDPR” will give you information on what you need to be aware of.

Good luck and let me know if I can support!

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Track Blog Performance – GA Dashboard

I’m a big fan of Dashboards in Google Analytics (GA). A dashboard can give you quick access to monitor sections of your website or track an advertising campaign. The options are endless, and you can share dashboards seamlessly between views. Handy, especially if you monitor several websites or in my case dozens! Here is one of my free Google Analytics Dashboards that I’m sharing for tracking blog performance.

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Review: Google Analytics Demo Account

Get the Most out of Google Analytics with the GA Demo Account

Google recently announced the launch of the Google Analytics demo account, which features a fully built out example of what Google Analytics can offer. The demo is a great resource because most people can play around in their own dashboard and learn a thing or two, but this account allows you to dive deeper into what Google Analytics can really offer. You can compare data and setups to one actively managed by Google.

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