The data purge: backing up your Universal Analytics data

April 29, 2024
Claire Feeney
The Data Purge: Backing Up Your Universal Analytics Data Illustration

Google Universal Analytics data deletion

Universal Analytics (UA) was officially sunset on 1st July 2023, making way for GA4: the modernised, albeit slightly buggy, analytics tool. The main difference between UA and GA4 is the data collection model moving from session-based to event-based, other differences can be found in Google’s documentation here. While you’ve been getting to grips with the new reporting platform, UA data has remained safe in your Google Analytics Account but come 1st July 2024 it will all be deleted.

Why is it being deleted?

UA was the most popular analytics tools for over 10 years, collecting and storing vast amounts of data. This data takes up space in Google’s servers and they’re ready to slim down (and reduce their costs). So, with GA4 becoming the new tool on the block, you’re now responsible for storing your own UA data, and managing any costs associated with that.

When will it be deleted?

1st July 2024 – once it’s gone you can’t get it back!

Do I have to back up my UA data?

Technically – no, but that’s a decision each business must make for themselves. If you want to wipe the slate clean and forget all your old data, you’re free to do so, but once the deadline passes this decision can’t be made again. The date and accuracy of your GA4 setup might influence this decision.

Do you have enough GA4 data to do year-on-year comparison? Are you certain your GA4 setup was correct from the get-go? Is a one-year comparison long enough, or do you want to go back further? Big changes to the business can create a need for additional years of comparative data, including website rebrands, new or seasonal products, and the impact of the pandemic changing customer behaviour for several years prior to the adoption of GA4.

How do I keep my UA data?

Analysts at Code Computerlove have evaluated all backup tools available and come up with a cost-effective package to transfer your data into BigQuery. We have developed a basic schema which includes all the main dimensions and metrics you would need for day-to-day reporting and comparing current performance to past performance, including channel and device split, conversions, events, user data and more. Our basic schema covers all the important data you will want to save and can be customisable for your individual needs. Saving UA data in Excel/Google Sheets is unadvisable due to the higher security risk and limited data storage/processing capabilities. Our team will support you with consultations through the process to ensure the highest level of accuracy and usability of your data once transferred out of Google Analytics.

What are the costs and timings involved in the backup?

The UA backup can be completed within a week, allowing for consultation times and setup/transfer. After the initial cost of the transfer, storage costs for UA data will be minimal - unlikely to costs more than $1 a month!

Be prepared for the data purge

The discontinuation Universal Analytics and the switch to GA4 represents a pivotal change in the analytics landscape, necessitating a proactive approach to data management. With the impending deletion of UA data from Google's servers on July 1, 2024, businesses are faced with the decision of whether to back up their historical data. This decision is influenced by various factors, including the sufficiency of GA4 for comparative analysis and the accuracy of the GA4 setup from the outset. For those opting to preserve their UA data, Code Computerlove offers a cost-effective solution for transferring data to BigQuery, ensuring its continued utility for reporting and analysis. The backup process, including consultations and data, can be completed within a week, with minimal ongoing storage costs. This article serves as a comprehensive guide for navigating the transition, highlighting the importance of informed decision-making and the availability of support for data preservation.

Act now

Don't let this crucial part of your digital data vanish into the ether. Embrace the future with GA4, whilst ensuring your past insights continue to inform your future successes. Code Computerlove is here to guide you through this transition seamlessly. Our cost-effective, secure, and efficient data transfer solution to BigQuery is designed to safeguard your analytics data with precision and care. Don't compromise on security or lose valuable insights due to procrastination.

Contact us today to start your data backup process.

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