Nenad Todorovic
By Nenad Todorovic on 11 Sep, 2023


The clock is ticking. On 1 July 2024, Google will permanently delete all historical Universal Analytics data.

While Google's focus shifts toward the new, more advanced analytics platform Google Analytics 4, it's crucial to recognise the value of historical Universal Analytics data to your organisation.

Preserving this data should be a priority. Let’s dive deeper into why...

The importance of historical data

At its core, data is the lifeline of decision-making in the digital age. It allows you to understand user and customer behaviour, refine marketing strategies, and make more informed decisions.

Over the years, Universal Analytics has been an invaluable tool, offering organisations a treasure-trove of insights spanning several years. Losing this data would the same as erasing a huge chunk of your organisation’s history.

It would mean losing the ability to identify and compare long-term trends, assess the effectiveness of past campaigns, and make data-backed future predictions.

You won’t just be losing data - you’ll be losing the context that helps you to make sense of it.


4 reasons to keep your Universal Analytics data

It's essential to retain your Universal Analytics historical data.

Our top four reasons are:

  1. Historical trends - a historical perspective to your data is essential for identifying patterns and making strategic changes.

  2. Data comparison - preserving historical data will allow you to compare your current performance against past data. This could be helpful in understanding seasonal fluctuations and identifying growth opportunities.

  3. Data continuity - having continuous datasets can provide a seamless understanding of long-term trends and activities. Any gaps in the data could lead to skewed interpretations.

  4. Competitive analysis - your historical data can offer insights into how you stand against your competitors over time.


How to preserve your Universal Analytics data

If you’re not aware by now - preserving your Universal Analytics data should be high on your list of priorities, and you should make steps to do it right now!

Here are some options that are available to you in order to preserve your data:

  • Manual export: While the free version of Google Analytics has limitations on bulk data export, you can manually export reports in CSV, Excel, or Google Sheets files. This approach is more time-consuming, but still a viable option for small- to medium-sized properties.

  • APIs and custom scripts: For those with some coding knowledge, Google Analytics offers APIs to pull data programmatically. This provides a more comprehensive way to back-fill your data. Programming languages like Python and JavaScript can be used to interact with the API. For more details, check out the Google Analytics API documentation.

  • Third-party tools: Some third-party tools and plug-ins can facilitate the data export process, although their capabilities may also be limited for free Google Analytics users, as well as being costly.

  • Back-filling historical data in BigQuery: While BigQuery integration is generally a feature of Google Analytics 360, free users can also manually import exported data into BigQuery. This requires some manual work, but it will help you maintain access to your historical insights. To do this, export your Google Analytics data and then upload it to a BigQuery data-set.

For Google Analytics 360 users...

  • Automated exports to BigQuery: Google Analytics 360 users can directly export their data to Google Cloud's BigQuery for long-term storage. However, you should be aware that exports are limited to 13 months or 10 billion hits, whichever is smaller. When these limits are reached, you may need to look into alternative options for storing larger sets of historical data.

Before choosing any of the above methods, be sure to check the associated costs, especially if you're considering third-party tools.

Regardless of the method you choose to preserve your Universal Analytics data, it's crucial to verify that your exported data is both complete and accurate to maintain data integrity.

And that’s why you need an expert data and analytics agency like DCX to help!


How can DCX help preserve your Universal Analytics

The death of Universal Analytics data is more than just a technical change. Ignoring the impending deadline of 1 July 2024 may mean irreversible data losses that you could have easily avoided.

Our data and analytics experts will ensure that all your historical data is preserved. Not only that, but we’ll review your current analytics measurement framework and current set-up and configure your new GA4 instance to ensure you can analyse and report on the same key web, app, and marketing KPIs that you always did.

Keen to know more? Get in touch with us today!

Do Data. Better.