Why your Google Analytics 'View' names are important... for Google Data Studio

Here's a tip for when it comes to naming your Views in Google Analytics (Universal Analytics). It will make things easier when you come to use Google Data Studio.

Naming conventions for Google Analytics Views

If you've ever created a new Property in Google Analytics, you'll know that it comes with a single View. (This is called 'All Web Site Data' by default, but you can rename it easily.) And if you've read any Google Analytics guides online, you might also know that best practice is to create two further Views so you end up with the following:

  • Main View - any filters you need are applied here
  • Raw Data View - this has no filters applied at all
  • Test View - any new filters (or other changes) are tested here

I agree with this advice, and it's nice how the naming convention puts your 'Main View' first alphabetically. This means it is listed at the top when you 'Select View' in Google Analytics.

But my tip is to also include the name of your website or product as part of your naming convention. So for this site I use the following:

  • Technically Product MAIN
  • Technically Product RAW
  • Technically Product TEST

It's a good tip even if you only have the one View (but please don't only have one View!). In my case I could call it:

  • Technically Product ALL

I recognise that this goes against the advice of many other fine guides (Reflective Data for example says, "Keep in mind that you shouldn’t repeat what’s already said in property name, so in most cases, you don’t have to add your website’s name or URL there.") So why do I recommend doing this?

Enter Google Data Studio

The reason isn't Google Analytics itself but Google Data Studio (Google's free software for visualising your data and building dashboards). If you're not using Google Data Studio with your Google Analytics data at the moment, you probably will in future!

Google Data Studio lets you connect various data sources to your report. When adding a Google Analytics Universal Analytics data source, you select the Account, Property and finally the View:

Add Google Analytics data to Data Studio

But once your data source is added, Google Data Studio lists the View name only - and not the Account or Property name. You can see this in the settings for an individual chart or table:

Data source for table

As well as when choosing to 'Manage Added Sources' for the report as a whole:

Manage data sources

That's not so problematic if you've only added one Google Analytics data source. But at some point you may find yourself building a report to compare two or more websites - using Views from two or more Universal Analytics properties. And if those Views are all called 'Main' (or indeed, 'All Web Site Data'), then that can cause confusion:

Multiple data sources

Renaming the Views or the data source

The temptation then is to go back to Google Analytics and rename the Views in question (you'll find the option under View Settings). But when you do this, the names won't automatically update in Google Data Studio. Data Studio will only pick up a new name if you remove the data source and add it again - not ideal if you are already using it for charts in the report.

A better solution is to rename the data source directly in Google Data Studio:

  1. Go to Resource > Manage added data sources
  2. Edit the source
  3. Click on the name of the data source at the top of the page - this will enable you to enter a new name
  4. Click Done

But if you are creating multiple reports then you'll need to do it for each data source in each report. A better solution still would be to futureproof all your Views by giving them unique names - hence this post.

What about Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) doesn't actually have the concept of Views. So if you're using Google Analytics 4 (instead of Universal Analytics) as a data source, Google Data Studio lists the Property name rather than the View name.

That's less likely to cause confusion in Google Data Studio, but still something to bear in mind when you are naming your GA4 properties.

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James Clark
Hi! I'm James Clark and this is my website. I publish all my guides completely free, so if you find them useful then please:
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