Google Analytics Data Protection

Google Analytics is wiping out old data on May 25. Here’s how to make sure your website data is not deleted when they make this change.

I recently got an alarming email from Google Analytics. Due to recent data privacy concerns, Google Analytics is changing their data retention policy.

The concerning thing is, changes set to happen on May 25 (in two weeks!) could permanently wipe out historical data from your account.

Why this matters?

This matters to you if you have an older website with years of statistical data that you can access, Unless you change your settings by May 25, Google is warning that it will wipe out all your older data. Permanently.

Looking into my accounts, it seems that the default time period Google will keep is 26 months of data. That means you will never be able to view changes in your user behavior beyond that 26-month window if you don’t adjust your settings immediately.

This also matters if you have a fairly new website, but you want to eventually be able to view your statistical data over time. If you don’t know about changing this setting, you will never develop historical data beyond 26 months.

The good part is, you can easily adjust the time frame. You can even set it to “never expire,” which should mean it keeps your historical data for years. And it’s pretty simple to do.

How to Change Your Data Retention Settings in Google Analytics

1 – Login to Google Analytics and repeat the following process for all your websites.

2 – Go to your Admin Section. (If you don’t see it, try accessing it via the gear icon in the lower left corner of your screen.)

3 – Select Tracking Info (under Property Settings).

Google Analytics Data Retention

4 – Click on Tracking Info and you will see a few links under it. Select “Data Retention.”

Google Analytics Data Retention

5 – Change the time period in the Data Retention window. At this point, it seems like the best all-around option is to set data to “never expire.”

6 – IMPORTANT! Click “Save!” Ensure your settings are retained!

If you’re not the one who accesses your Google Analytics — of if you don’t have this service set up yet, talk to your web designer or team about it.

Expect More Data Privacy Regulations and Policy Changes

Google Analytics is one of MANY companies who are making big policy changes right now. Regulations around data privacy are tightening, the online landscape is changing. Another major change is the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that comes into effect on May 25 2018. Stay tuned next week for new resources to help you navigate these changes.

 

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Lindsay Carlson

Lindsay is the Director of Website & Brand Strategy with We Make Stuff Happen. She's also the course developer and instructor for Power Content -- our 10-week guided program for content marketing. Lindsay has been working in communications and business since 2000.
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