Navigating Google Analytics Data Retention Changes

Man navigating a mountain

Don’t allow Analytics changes to cause you to lose your way

Google Analytics data retention settings are changing starting on May 25, 2018. From then on, some of your Analytics data will be automatically deleted. The deleted data will be event and user data associated with cookies, user-identifiers and advertising identifiers. However, these controls do not affect most standard reporting, which is based on aggregated data.

We recommend you immediately review these settings (Property ➝ Tracking Info ➝ Data Retention) as Google Analytics will begin to delete data according to these settings starting May 25.

Email regarding Google Analytics Data Retention settings

Email from Google Analytics

To quote an email we received from Google Analytics regarding this change, “Impact of this setting as of May 25 is the following:

  • Any user and event data that is older than your retention setting will be marked for permanent deletion, and will no longer be accessible in Google Analytics.
  • Deletion will affect the use of segmentation, some custom reports and secondary dimensions when applied in date ranges older than your retention setting.
  • Reports based on aggregated data will not be affected.”

Google Analytics Data Retention Update Instructions

You will need to have Edit permission for the property to set these options. If you don’t have the level of permission needed, contact your Analytics administrator. You can read more about this process on the Google Analytics Data Retention settings page.

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics..
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the property you want to edit.
  3. In the PROPERTY column, click Tracking Info > Data Retention.
  4. User-data retention: select the retention period you want. Choices are:
    1. 14 months
    2. 26 months
    3. 38 months
    4. 50 months
    5. Do not automatically expire
  5. Reset on new activity: turn the switch on or off.

Google has updated these settings to get ready for the Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that also take effect on May 25th. You’ll also want to understand these laws and make sure your business or organization complies by that date as well. Google has written a blog post about it here.

Privacy Policy Updates

Don’t forget! It is also important to update your website’s Privacy Policy to align with your updated Google Analytics Data Retention settings. It’s best to have a lawyer draft your Privacy Policy for you. Afterwards, you’ll want to update your website. If you have trouble making this update, please contact us.

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