reclaiming google analytics

Reclaiming a Google Analytics account

A few times in my career I’ve had the problem of inheriting a website with an existing Google Analytics account attached to it, but not having any access to it and therefore being stuck with zero historical data. I even remember a case at the agency where I used to work where an SEO company had taken over one of our old site and wanted access to the analytics data so they kept emailing us asking for login permissions, but the problem was that we couldn’t find the account anywhere! In the end we eventually found it under some obscure unused email account and sheepishly gave them access after weeks of denying that we had any knowledge of the account at all! Cowboys.

The way I’ve dealt with not having access to existing analytics accounts in the past is to just create a new tracking code and give up all that valuable historical data. Not the best solution. In this recent case though, a new SEO client, I really wanted to see that data so I could ascertain how much traffic the site used to get and compare it to what the site was getting now – so I investigated if there was indeed a process to getting access to an account.

The key here is to contact Google, and to do this through an Adwords account. If you don’t have an account, make sure that you create one, then go here: Settings (cog symbol) >> Help >> Live Chat >> Choose “Google Analytics” from the dropdown box.

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The when you get to chat to a Google person, explain the situation and they will begin the process of getting you access. The first thing they will do is contact the email address that is attached to the old account and request that they give you access. In my case, this was either ignored, or the email address was dormant, so the next stage is for you to prove that you have control over the website that the analytics is on. To do this they send you an email with instructions on how to upload a analytics.txt file to the website stating a few facts on it such as the date, your email, a unique code that they give you and the UA analytics code that you want control over. If they haven’t heard back from the owner within a few days, then you can upload this file, reply to the email that Google sent you and give them the url to the txt file, then in the next hour (it was that quick for me anyway) you will get a phone call from Google saying that they have given you full permissions for the account and they will try and flog you some Adwords!

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