All About Google Analytics 4: Aggregating Data with GA4 360 Roll-Up Properties

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As you adopt Google Analytics 4 (GA4), you may have questions about how to use its features, views and new capabilities. In this post, we're addressing a new Google Analytics 4 360 (GA4 360) feature you should familiarize yourself with: GA4 Roll-Up Properties. Roll-Up Properties aggregate data from multiple GA4 properties, giving you a broad business view across websites, subdomains, brands or regions, depending on how properties are strategically separated. This way, you can see disparate data in the same reports. 

GA4 Roll-Up Property Requirements

GA4 Roll-Up Properties are a 360-only feature. Google Analytics 360 refers to the paid versions of Google Analytics, whether that is Universal Analytics or GA4. The paid 360 version of GA4 comes with many features and higher limits than its free counterpart. Roll-Up Properties are one of these features. 

When You Should Use a GA4 Roll-Up Property in a Google Analytics Account

Analysts often want to see an organization's performance at the highest level, regardless of how Google Analytics splits the data. Analysts don't want to deal with joining various data sources within a database or numerous spreadsheets to arrive at high-level insights.

The GA4 Roll-Up feature combines source property data, making it easier for leadership or marketing teams to review performance in one place. 

This aggregate view in Google Analytics presents session data merged, so if a user traverses from the website of one line of business to another, that visit persists as one session rather than two separate ones. This connection offers a more accurate view of how people are moving across sites and allows user journeys to be connected from landing pages to conversion events to exits, wherever they might happen. 

Much like traversing sessions, Roll-Up Reporting can show the total number of unique visitors that reach all of a business's websites and apps together. This type of reporting is a great way to holistically illustrate how users are finding their way to owned and operated web and app destinations.

In summary, GA4 Roll-Up Properties offer these benefits:

  • Automatically combining data from multiple source properties into a single data set. 
    • From the point of view of this aggregated single data set, reports such as the engagement overview report would show the average engagement time for all active users. The monetization overview report would comprehensively show the total revenue. While at the same time, the real-time report would display the total number of users in the last 30 minutes. 
  • All data imported within source properties would be available within Roll-Up Properties. 
  • Roll-Up Properties de-duplicate users from source properties when users share the same reporting identity, for example, user_id. 
  • Comparisons between source properties while also allowing for comparisons to the overall consolidated data. 

How to Strategically Plan a Roll-Up Property

Before setting up a Roll-Up Property, it’s best to plan out what the Roll-Up Property's structure will be. Sometimes, it won't make sense to lump all websites and apps into one Roll-Up. There is also an aggregation limit of 50 source properties per GA4 Roll-Up Property.

With those things in mind, source properties should be grouped by how they are similar. Perhaps a business has three brands and multiple websites and apps for each brand. In this instance, there could be Roll-Ups created for each brand. 

Something else to consider is that a single-source property can belong to multiple Roll-Up Properties. So as long as the Roll-Up limit of 50 source properties is maintained, this example could have Roll-Up Properties for each brand and potentially one Roll-Up including all brands. 

Suppose there is a need to break out data from each source property within a Roll-Up Property. In that case, two dimensions within a Roll-Up allow source property data to be seen individually, Source Property ID and Source Property Name.

Other GA4 Roll-Up Property Considerations

There are currently a few other GA4 Roll-Up Property restrictions you need to keep in mind:

  • GA4 360 properties can act as source properties for a Roll-Up, but standard GA4 properties cannot. 
  • The same restrictions that apply to standard GA4 360 properties also apply to Roll-Up Properties.
  • A maximum of 50 source properties can feed each Roll-Up Property.
  • Roll-Up Properties cannot act as a source for another Roll-Up Property.
  • A Roll-Up Property must have either a sub-property from a source property or the source property itself; it cannot have both. 
  • It is not possible to make sub-properties from a Roll-Up Property.
  • At this time, a Roll-Up Property will not inherit custom dimensions or custom metrics from its source property. 
  • Roll-Up Properties do not have their own unique events, separate from source property events. They only have events that have come from source properties. 
  • When creating a Roll-Up Property, data is only available from that point on; there is no backfill of historical data from the source properties. 
  • At this time, there is only a direct connection to Google Ads for Roll-Up Properties. None of the other standard GA4 integrations are currently available for Roll-Up Properties. 
  • Activate Google Signals within a Roll-Up to process visitation information from websites and apps for users who have signed into a Google account with ad personalization turned on. Roll-Up Properties do not inherit Google Signals information from their source properties. 
  • Even though a source property can be disconnected from a Roll-Up, the historical data from that source property remains within the Roll-Up.

How Roll-Up Properties Differ from Standard GA4 Properties or GA4 360 Properties?

Roll-Up Properties are different from standard GA4 properties or GA4 360 properties. Here’s how:

  • Roll-Up Properties have an additional cost for data that differs from the source GA4 360 hits. The cost of hits within a Roll-Up Property is half the cost of those same hits in each source property.
  • Each Roll-Up Property can have a total of 50 source properties. But all accounts, Roll-Up, source or standard properties, can have a maximum of 100 properties of any kind total. 
  • While Roll-Up Properties can have an equal number of custom dimensions, custom metrics, audiences and conversions as any 360 source property, they are not automatically inherited from the source properties. 
  • Currently, only the Google Ads integration is supported for Roll-Up Properties. 
    • Any audience made within a Roll-Up is available to Google Ads accounts connected to the Roll-Up. 
    • Any events marked as conversions within a Roll-Up are available to Google Ads accounts connected to the Roll-Up.
  • User access configurations and Google Signals are available in Roll-Up Properties but not inherited from source properties; these two features must be set up separately in the Roll-Up. 
  • There is no ability to alter Data Retention settings at the Roll-Up level. 
  • There is no ability to use the Data Import feature at the Roll-Up Property level.
Graphic depicting the differences between GA4 standard and GA4 360 Properties.

How the Google Ads Integration Works for a Roll-Up Property

Roll-Up Properties and source properties can have their own independent linkages to Google Ads. 

For a Roll-Up Property to send data to Google Ads, the Roll-Up Property needs to have its own link to Google Ads. For example, to export audiences or conversions to Google Ads, there needs to be a link between the Roll-Up Property and the Google Ads account.

When a connection to Google Ads happens at the source property level but not at the Roll-Up Property level, Analytics uses the most permissive configuration of those multiple links for the data flowing into the Roll-Up.

Google recommends that links to Google Ads should be at the source-property level, not Roll-Up level, to ensure data integrity.

How to Create a GA4 Roll-Up Property in a Google Analytics Account

  1. Click Admin in the bottom left-hand corner of a GA4 property.
Screenshot showing the location of the admin tab for a GA4 property in Google Analytics 360.
  1. Under the Property column of the Admin panel, click Create Property.
Screenshot showing the location to create a GA4 property in Google Analytics 360.
  1. Click the Roll-Up Property row.
Screenshot showing the location of the Roll-up property in Google Analytics 360.
  1. Enter a name and select the time zone and currency for the Roll-Up Property.
  2. Select: "I'm aware of the additional cost in creating this property."
  3. Click Next.
Screenshot of the Roll-up property setup window in Google Analytics 360.
  1. Under the Source properties row, click Choose properties.
    1. It is possible to select any type of property except another Roll-Up Property.
    2. When selecting source properties from a group, it is possible to choose only one from that group, either the source property or one sub-property.
    3. You can choose a maximum of 50 source properties.
Screenshot showing how to select the source property for a GA4 Roll-up property in Google Analytics 360.
  1. After source property selection is complete, click Confirm.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Select an industry, the size of the business and the various reasons you use Analytics for the Roll-Up Property.
  4. Click Create.
Screenshot showing the "About your business" window for creating a GA4 Roll-up property in Google Analytics 360.

If you have questions about Roll-Up Properties or GA4, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And keep an eye on the Adswerve blog. We’ll share more features and updates in the coming weeks and months.