Google analytics data retention: how to guard against coming changes

May 25, 2018 is a date you might want to circle in your calendar. That’s the day that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into effect in the EU. Even if you are not in the EU, this will effect you if members of your list are. There has been much chatter in marketing circles about GDRP. If you are familiar and compliant with CASL (Canadian Anti Spam Legislation) in Canada, you are likely well on your way to being prepared anyway, but if you need a more detailed run down, here is a great resource from Amy Porterfield that I found extremely useful. If you’ve been ethical all along with how you added people with expressed permission, have a double opt in, a way for them to easily removed themselves, and have safeguarded their personal information storage, you are likely in good shape. However, the use of lead magnets for email collection in the past could well trip you up if that subscriber is from the EU. Experts are recommending you segment your list into UE based emails and obtain permission again prior to May 25. There is also some language and settings to consider for future data collection, especially around lead magnets, so I highly recommend you check out the summary link noted above this week. Most email delivery platforms are making changes to help you too, especially around identifying emails attached to EU based IP addresses.

But there’s another reason May 25 should be circled in your calendar. After May 25, Google Analytics will have a default setting to only retain your historical data for 26 months. I happen to think it’s hugely important to have ALL your historical data for strategy planning purposes, especially if you are looking at growth and changes in your site traffic over time. This is just too important to let slip. But there is a fix, and it’s easy to do. I’ve recorded a video below (run time just under 5 minutes) that visually walks you through what to do. I show you how to change the setting to not let you data expire.

In the video I do a screen share of these steps to make it dead simple. Have a watch and you’ll be set up in no time.

If you’re less of a visual learner, here’s the quick written run down:

  • Go to your Google Analytics home page.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the left hand column where it says “admin” and click on that.
  • You’ll see 3 columns, the middle one being “create property”.
  • On the third line down you will see “tracking info”. Click on that.
  • Under tracking info you will see “data retention”. Click on that.
  • The default will be set to 26 months, due to kick in as of May 25.
  • Scroll from the 26 month option to the bottom option, which is “don’t automatically expire”. Click on that.
  • Press “save” and you’re done.

Another interesting thing happening May 25 is the closure of Formerly the darling for ranking individual’s influence on social media, Klout is a heavy user of third party data. I suspect their very business model is threatened by the coming GDPR legislation. Is the Google Analytics change tied to this as well? Quite possibly.

Thanks for joining us this week. Be sure to address these changes prior to May 25. And let me know if you found the video tutorial useful. I may do more of this type of thing in the future if the feedback is positive.

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Mary Charleson

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