How to transfer Google Analytics profile ownership

Posted on // Best Practices, Tips and Tricks

Our client had been tracking with a Google Analytics profile for a number of years when they came to us for a redesign. When we launched the new site, we simply migrated the legacy tracking code and embedded it into the new site's templates. But due to a miscommunication, a new Google Analytics profile was created, unbeknownst to us.

Online marketing, and tracking, has become a renewed priority for the client so they were ready to roll up their sleeves and analyze years worth of data. Then came the "oh no!" moment.

While we were patting ourselves on the back for having the presence of mind for migrating the legacy tracking code, we learned that no one at the organization even had access to that Google profile. Sure, we could simply install a new code, but that would merely start the tracking process anew.

I'm used to companies like Google or Amazon being "too big" to solve these types of problems, but was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to regain access for our client. Here were the steps taken:

  • Login to your Google account and visit the AdWords support chat. (as of this writing: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/8206?hl=en)
  • Initiate a chat, and prepare the following:
    • The tracking code that you want to regain access to
    • The ability to create a analytics.txt file and post in the web root such that it is accessible, e.g. http://example.com/analytics.txt
  • Google will give the owner of that existing profile 2 business days to respond
  • If the prior owner doesn't respond, Google will transfer ownership to you, provided the analytics.txt file (above) is satisfactory

A snippet of my support chat appears below:

Reclaim Google Analytics profile

I was surprised a) that Chat support was even available, and b) by how courteous and responsive they were. I checked on my ticket two days later; another support rep fielded my request and I didn't feel I had to start from ground zero.

For years a common gripe with Google Analytics was the clunky, unforgiving ownership policies that forced companies to abandon their orphaned tracking codes. Those days are happily over!

Two minor points of confusion:

  • I only was able to find chat support with respect to AdWords. I couldn't find general "Google Apps" chat support or anything specific to Analytics. It didn't seem to matter once I was chatting with a rep, though.
  • I'm not certain if a paid Google Apps account is required to receive this level of support. (Perhaps chat isn't available for free accounts)

Hopefully this article helps a web developer in my situation, elevating you from zero to hero with your client!