Melting clock

Time is running out to save your Google Analytics data

Google will be deleting all data from Universal Analytics accounts from 1 July. Here’s what you need to know to avoid losing crucial information.

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By Sarah Crooke, 3 June 20244 minute read

The sunsetting of Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) has been on the horizon for a while now, and while it feels like we’ve had some time to come to terms with the departure of our trusty friend, it’s almost crunch time for making sure you are fully prepared for the end of UA. Critically, this means ensuring that you have done everything you need to do to ensure that any data you may need from UA is properly backed up. Because as of 1 July 2024, you will no longer have access to this data. Google will be turning off all Universal Analytics services and Universal Analytics APIs.

This means any historical data from UA that you rely on for trend analysis, performance benchmarking, and strategic decision-making will no longer be available. Without proper preparation, the deletion of this data could result in the loss of critical insights, disrupting ongoing projects and future planning. So it’s essential to take proactive steps to preserve this data..

(Want to read more about the transition from UA to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)? Check out this article: What you need to know about moving from Google’s Universal Analytics to GA4)

Audit your data requirements

Unfortunately, it is not possible to export all of your UA data with a single click. You will have to make a number of queries to extract the data you need. Understanding what data is crucial will help prioritise what needs to be preserved and migrated to GA4. Begin by conducting a comprehensive audit of your existing UA data. Identify key metrics, reports, and insights that have been instrumental in your business operations. Consult relevant stakeholders within your organisation to determine which reports are being used and analysed, ensuring that you capture details like segments and filters that the reports use.

Options for downloading historical data 

Once you’ve determined which data needs to be preserved, you will need to decide how you are going to export that data. There are several ways to do this, including: 

  • Exporting to a file from the Reports interface of the UA web application
  • Transferring data to BigQuery (Analytics360 customers only)
  • Archiving your UA data with Google Sheets via a free Google add-on 
  • Exporting data via the Google Analytics Reporting API 

Exporting to a file from the Reports interface 

This method is the least technical approach but is also very manual, and can be very time consuming. It may be a suitable option if you don’t have a lot of data to export. In the UA interface, select the view, then select the report from a chart, table, or custom report, and click ‘export’. You will be prompted to save to one of four file types – PDF, Sheets, Excel or CSV. 

Transferring data to BigQuery 

BigQuery data transfer service for UA is free but is only available to Analytics360 customers. When you link a UA view to BigQuery, it automatically exports 13 months or 10 billion hits (whichever is smaller) of historical data to BigQuery. 

Archiving your UA data with Google Sheets 

Google offers a free Google Analytics Spreadsheet add-on along with a template for archiving UA data. This is a good option if you have minimal data requirements or small data sets. There are 10 pre-defined queries to get you started but each query must be modified individually. The add-on does not eliminate sampling and is not designed for medium-to-large data sets.

Exporting data via the Google Analytics Reporting API 

The remaining option is to back up UA data by connecting to the Google Analytics Core Reporting API. Coding to this API is complex but there are many out-of-the-box solutions that have been created to do this for you, such as Analytics Canvas and Supermetrics. Before you select a tool, be sure that it is able to handle the volume of data that you want to extract, with the level of detail you need (e.g. custom dimensions, segments, etc.). While this can be the quickest and easiest option, it may be expensive if you have a large volume of data and many accounts. 

Whichever option you choose, make sure you save your data exports in a secure location, ensuring they are organised and easily accessible for future reference.

Need help?

If backing up your UA data feels a bit overwhelming, Luminary’s analytics specialists are happy to help. Feel free to reach out to our team for a chat about your needs. But get in quick, less than a month to go!

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