Google Analytics recently announced major changes to the way it handles your data retention. Beginning on May 25, 2018, Google Analytics will introduce changes to its data retention controls that will automatically delete user and event data from its servers after a 14-month period, unless users take proactive measures to adjust their settings. Analytics users have been emailed about the upcoming changes – here’s what you need to know so that you can retain your valuable Analytics data.

What exactly is changing with Google Analytics data retention?

In order to fully comply with new data sharing regulations being enforced in the EU, Google Analytics will be changing important aspects of how your data is stored, and for how long. As of May 25th, Analytics users around the world – not just the EU – have to manually opt into longer periods of user and event data retention in order for data to remain on Analytics servers for longer than the default 14-month period. Users have been given access to a user deletion tool that will allow users to easily manage the storage or deletion of their data after set periods of time. The new data retention settings have been applied to all Analytics users, even those living outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Why is Google Analytics changing their data retention policy?

The changes to Google’s Analytics data retention controls were implemented just in time for the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), being officially enforced as of May 25th, 2018. The new GDPR is designed to protect the data privacy of citizens across Europe, and change the approach taken by companies in terms of data privacy. Companies around the world have reshaped their data retention and collection policies in the wake of the GDPR in order to avoid the heavy penalties that come with breaking the agreement. The penalties for breaching the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation include maximum fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20 million, whichever is greater.

How do I ensure that I retain my Analytics data?

The data affected by the new changes to the retention period settings include user and event-level data that is associated with cookie, user identifiers, and advertising identifiers, while standard Analytics reporting will remain unaffected by the changes. Users can select from five different retention periods – 14 months, 26 months, 38 months, 50 months, and no automatic expiry. Another feature that is available to users is a reset on new activity option that will allow users to reset retention periods for each new user event.

In order to ensure that your relevant data is kept securely stored on Google Analytics servers, you will have to follow the following instructions:

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account and navigate to the Admin panel
  2. Select the property you wish to edit
  3. Once you’ve selected the property, select Tracking Info under the Property column
  4. Select Data Retention – “User-data retention” – from here you can select the data retention period that suits your needs
  5. Under the “Reset on new activity” option you can turn the reset feature on or off

Following these instructions will allow Google Analytics to retain your user and event data for as long as you want. Without properly adjusting your Analytics settings, your organization will no longer be able to measure analytics on a year-over-year basis. The best way to avoid this and ensure that your Analytics data is kept secure is by seeking the assistance of an agency who understands the importance of your data, and how to keep it in your hands. Hiring an agency can help your organization take care of security measures, transform your business through innovative new technology solutions, and help you achieve your organizational goals with your unique needs in mind – freeing you up for other important aspects of your business operations.

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Having the right analytics tools in place is just the first step. Even if you have a robust digital marketing and analytics plan in place, if you can’t tie it back into your business activities, you are flying blind. We can put tools into place which we refer to as “reporting to revenue” which do exactly that – tie in your marketing, advertising, and digital activities to your actual business bottom line so that you can see how much lead cost you to get, which leads from which sources produce the most revenue, and much more.

We can even build custom dashboards to connect to any software solutions you have in place. Reporting to revenue gives you the ability to instantly pivot to cut initiatives that aren’t working and put more budget behind ones that are. We won’t just make sure Google Analytics is working – we’ll make sure everything is working.  

For more information contact us today.