With Universal Analytics in the process of being phased out and replaced by Google Analytics 4, Google is strongly suggesting that you export your historical Universal Analytics data before access is lost. This will be necessary to ensure that you have accurate, complete records to guide future business decisions. However, while archiving your historical data, you may run into some complications with data retention settings. These settings let you choose the amount of time before user-level and event-level data stored by Google Analytics is automatically deleted from their servers. Depending on your data retention settings, certain dimensions and metrics might not be available when you try to backfill your archives. Thankfully, the experts at Calibrate Analytics can guide you through the process. Keep reading to learn how to navigate around the Google Analytics data retention controls.
If you're just getting started on archiving your Google Analytics data, then check out our recent blog post:
When you decide to transfer your historical UA data to a data warehouse, there are several things you need to check in your UA property to set up your transfer correctly.
- Select the UA property that you want to transfer data from.
- Select your date range in UA. Your date range will depend on how far back your data goes and the relevance of that data. Currently we are recommending migrating data at least through 2019 to get a view into pre-pandemic traffic and performance.
- Lastly, you will want to check your data retention setting. This can be found in the Admin section under Tracking Info. This setting will determine which dimensions and metrics you select in your data transfer schemas.
The schemas found in this blog post are perfect for pulling data during the data retention period:
Going back further than the data retention period will limit some of the data that you are able to transfer out of Google Analytics, and certain dimensions and metrics won't be available. To take some of the guesswork out for you, here are the recommended schemas for transferring data beyond the data retention period:
- Affinity Category
- Transaction ID
Traffic and Performance
- Source / Medium
- Page Performance
- Time on Page
- Landing Page
- Product SKU
- Product Category
- Product Revenue
- Device Category
Calibrate Is Here to Help
Maintaining a healthy analytics stack is necessary for optimizing your business. If you need any help archiving your historical data and preparing for the switch to GA4, don't hesitate to reach out. Our data experts will happily introduce you to Launchpad — our no-code ETL (extract, transform, and load) platform — as well as create a custom solution to suit your specific needs.