Google changes to data retention in Analytics
Towards the end of the day yesterday, Google mass emailed all Analytics account holders to alert them of upcoming data retention changes. In case you missed it, here's a copy that we saved:
Ok, but what does that mean?
Put simply, Google is changing the length of time it will automatically store user and event data within the Analytics system. If a user doesn't return to the site within the designated time period, the user data is then purged.
Google uses a basic cookie to identify users and their correlated events, which helps provide more accurate data for:
- new vs. returning users
- event tracking
- interaction tracking
These data retention changes were triggered by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but because of the global reach of the internet, Google has simplified matters by applying the changes to everyone.
What should I do?
Google is defaulting all Analytics accounts to store data for 26 months, which is quite a long time considering most serious real estate leads buy or sell within 3 months. If someone hasn't visited your site in over two years, you may want to consider them a new user anyway. That said, you can extend this option to 38 months, 50 months, or "do not automatically expire."
If you want to track users and events for as long as possible, you'll want to go into your settings and select "do not automatically expire." You can find this under:
Admin > Property > Tracking Info > Data Retention
What if I have questions?
Post your questions about these data retention changes in the comments below and we'll be happy to answer that!