Google Analytics is Cooking Up Changes to Data Retention: Here is What You Need to Know About It

April 19th, 2018

In digital marketing, things change, and they change very often.

In the last batch of changes that Google Analytics has cooked up, we can look forward to having the ability to change and customize just how long we can retain user-level and event-level data—like cookies, user-identifiers, and advertising identifiers—before it is wiped from Google Analytics’ servers.

While the change won’t affect aggregate data, the change will come into effect on May 25, 2018, in the European Union. This is the same day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will also come into effect and what some suspect is really the underlying cause that initiated the change.

Here’s the Skinny on the Change

Let’s face it, just mentioning the loss of data can leave any digital marketer quivering in fear, but the default will be set at 26 months and can be customized to suit your business’ needs.

If the default setting doesn’t suit you, the feature will enable administrators the ability to set a period of time to keep the data for 14, 26, 38, or 50 months, and if you want to hoard all of that delicious data, Google Analytics will have a “Do Not Automatically Expire” option that you can choose.

“Reset on new activity,” another default setting, will be set to “On”. This setting means that user data won’t be deleted if they are a regular, even if you have set a time period for all data to be deleted. Be aware that this only works if that same user returns to the site before their timer expires.

Should an admin not want to take advantage of this feature, all they need to do is switch it to “Off”. Any information of that user will be erased after your set period of time runs its course.

#Google #Analytics new data retention feature will come into effect on May 25, 2018 but is available now to test out. #CobaltDigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

Where Do We Go From Here?

The settings should be implemented into Google Analytics right now, giving you time to become more acquainted with the feature before it becomes legally effective in late May. You can access it by opening up your Google Analytics, selecting Admin, Property, Tracking Info, and then selecting Data Retention.

While you are becoming familiar with it, keep in mind that any changes to the deletion period you make take a 24 hour period to become effective and can be reversed during that time frame without any changes occurring. Also, if you switched down from a 26-month retention period to, say, a 14 one, data older than 14 months will be deleted during the next monthly process.

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