It’s 2024 – do you know where your Google Analytics data is?
As of July 1, 2024, everyone will lose access to Universal Analytics and the data that sits there. Read here to learn how to save that data and make sure you can visualize it outside of Google Analytics.
Most business owners are probably familiar with the great Google Analytics debacle of 2023. In short, Google decided to sunset its widely used and popular data reporting platform Universal Analytics and replaced it with Google Analytics 4 (or GA4). Though GA4 is a very robust platform, the switch from Universal Analytics has not been easy for many businesses who now need to learn how to use a new tool that lacks, shall we say, intuitiveness for the general user.
By now, most businesses have made the full-on switch to GA4 and just kept their Universal Analytics tracking intact, even though it’s no longer capturing data. But what many don’t realize is that Universal Analytics will no longer be accessible after July 1, 2024, and when Universal Analytics goes bye-bye, so will your historical data.
Do you even need the historical data from Universal Analytics?
Some businesses might not care about the website data they tracked prior to July 2023. But for many others, that data is invaluable. You’re going to want something to benchmark against for any changes you make to your digital marketing strategy going forward, and unless you were using another tool for comprehensively tracking website traffic and performance, the data from Universal Analytics is the best source you have. My recommendation is to save it, even if you’re not sure how to use it yet.
How do you access and save the data from Universal Analytics?
There are a handful of ways to access and save your data from Universal Analytics:
Option 1: Manually export and save it
For those who just want to get the data saved before the deadline and aren’t concerned with data visualization right now.
CONS: Somewhat time-consuming, no data visualization
Manually exporting the data will be somewhat time consuming but will be the most straightforward for users not versed in data housing and management. The point of this method is to just get it saved before access is cut off.
To manually export your Universal Analytics data:
1. Log into the Universal Analytics property, then the View, you want to export data from
2. You won’t be able to export any Real-Time data, so start with your Audience reports
The list of Audience reports in Universal Analytics
3. Click on one of the reports, toggle it to the timeframe you want to save data for, then hit Export:
4. You can then choose which format to export it to – PDF, Google Sheets, Excel, or CSV.
5. Repeat this across all reports, and save the data in a location you know is safe
Option 2: Use the Google Analytics Reporting API
For those who want to the data to be saved in a reporting dashboard that lets them read and manipulate the data, but don’t want to pay an ongoing fee.
PROS: You will be able to visualize the data
CONS: Need to hire a developer or agency to do it properly at a one-time cost
However, if you do decide to go this route (either because you do it yourself or hire an agency that knows how to manage Google Analytics data to do it for you), you can:
- Build a custom dashboard to display data like web traffic, top channels, multiple date ranges, cohorts and lifetime value, and more.
- Automate reporting tasks to save time
- Integrate your Google Analytics data with other business applications
Google provides documentation to get started with its Reporting API, and Digital Dynamo can also help you create beautiful reports with your Universal Analytics data. Contact us if you’d like to explore how we can help.
Option 3: Export Universal Analytics data into GA4 with Google Analytics 360
For big companies who can afford a Google Analytics 360 account at $150,000+ a year.
PROS: The easiest way to transition your Universal Analytics data to GA4
Google Analytics offers a free account (which most of us use) and a paid account called Google Analytics 360. Since the pricing for Google Analytics 360 is based on the amount of volume to your website, I can’t provide you with a set price for the product, but the suggested retail price is $150,000.00 a year.
If you do have a Google Analytics 360 account, the platform will easily allow you to merge your Universal Analytics data into Google Analytics 4.
Option 4: Supermetrics
For those who don’t mind paying an ongoing fee and want to learn how to manage their data.
PROS: Makes it possible for a non-programmer to manage the data move and visualization
CONS: Ongoing fee, you still need to learn how to use the tools to do the data move and visualization
Supermetrics is a reporting tool that lets you pull data from many different platforms and build dashboards to visualize the data. With Supermetrics, you can export raw data just like as described in the first option listed in this article, but you also have the option to export data to a data warehouse like BigQuery. This allows you to back up Google Analytics data within one file.
Even though Supermetrics offers an easier solution for exporting the data, there are three factors to consider:
- It charges a monthly fee
- You will need to learn how to use it if you plan on managing the export yourself
- You will need to learn how to build the dashboard if you want to visualize the data
Start thinking now about how you want to manage your Universal Analytics data. Whether you’re going the route of manually downloading the information or investing in a data management solution through an agency like Digital Dynamo, act soon before it’s too late. It’ll be July before you know it!