GA4: Google is Deleting Historic Analytics Data

What’s happening

You may know there’s a new version of Google Analytics being rolled out this year called GA4.

What you may not know is none of your data is getting ported over to the new version, which means if you don’t back up your historic Google Analytics data, it will be deleted forever.

This is a screenshot from Google’s support docs:

What you can do about it

There are a few options available

  1. Some organizations may be ok losing that historic data and starting fresh in GA4. If that's the case, you only need to configure GA4 to track what you need for reporting.
  2. One option is to manually export reports from the Google Analytics interface or even to take screenshots of any dashboards you use with historic data. If you have very basic needs, this might a good option. The downside to this approach is the data you'll get is extremely limited and it may be hard to use these in any dashboarding tools as they won't match up with the data those tools pull directly from the GA API. The upside to this option is it's fairly easy.
  3. The 3rd option is to export your historic data to a data warehouse such as BigQuery. The downside to this approach is cost. The upside is it's really the only way to get detailed enough data to use in dashboards or for any sort of historic data analysis
  4. One more important consideration: As we're learning, reporting in GA4 is extremely limited and this transition is showing us that data stored in Google Analytics isn't ours, it's Google's. Because of that, Google's made it easy to also backup the new GA4 data to BigQuery, and we highly recommend that for any organizations that want to maintain ownership of their data moving forward.

If you’re interested in more detailed information about this issue as well as GA4 overall, watch our recent webinar here.

Get more detailed info about the transition

We put together an email series about the transition, including FAQs, a timeline calendar, and more detailed information about what's happening and how you should prepare. You can request that here.

John Crenshaw
John Crenshaw
UFO company founder. 15+ years experience in performance marketing.
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