In case you forgot, it has been over a year since Google announced that Universal Analytics or UA would stop collecting data from July 1, 2023, and users were forced to embrace the newest analytics tool version, Google Analytics 4. However, the search giant finally decided to bid adios to the legacy UA 360 on July 1, 2024, and let universal analytics data be deleted. But don’t worry, if you export Google Analytics data to BigQuery now, you can easily overcome this problem.

For those who don’t know last year, Google announced that UA would be eventually replaced by GA4 and would stop collecting and processing data as of July 1, 2023. Users were required to migrate their UA property to a new Google Analytics 4 property by following the UA to ga4 migration checklist. As per the new announcement, users will lose their previously processed UA data after that.
Are you going to let your hard-earned universal analytics data be deleted? Of course not. As mentioned above, you can prevent universal analytics data deletion by backing them up first. But how to do that? Everything’s explained in this article, read on.

export google analytics data to bigquery
export google analytics data to bigquery

What Should you know about universal analytics data deletion?

Before I discuss the solutions, it is highly essential to make sure that Universal Analytics data retention is done at all costs, why? This is because this valuable data provides a well-detailed understanding of your website’s performance. You can effectively compare past data to predict future ones, point out what worked well previously, which areas require tweaking, and so on. Alright, since you know Universal Analytics data retention is important, what if you haven’t done the import data into BigQuery process and the data gets deleted forever? Be ready to consider these key points:

Say Goodbye To Historical Insights

If Universal Analytics data retention isn’t done, then all the data including historical trends, user behavior patterns, and performance benchmarks details processed for years will vanish in an instant. Not only does this affect your ability to conduct comparisons and track performance, but this will also make understanding user behavior more difficult.

No access or retrieval chances

Just like what I told you above, once the data is permanently gone and isn’t backed up, you can no longer access or retrieve them by any means. This affects all the data you have collected, processed and relied upon until now. This is exactly why you should export Google Analytics data to BigQuery.

Therefore, you must import data into BigQuery and save it as losing access effectively hinders your ability to understand past performance and affects your business’s future negatively. Even though you may not refer to this data as you embrace the new technology, it’s always better to a have copy stored safely rather than letting Universal Analytics data be deleted forever.

How to save UA data with BigQuery

Some of you may still ask will universal analytics data be deleted? Yes, it will be, but there are two ways to save universal analytics data. The first way involves exporting the data to CSV, Excel, TSV, Google Sheets, etc which is free and more accessible for a broader range of UA users. The second way involves using data warehouse solutions such as BigQuery. Whatever way you choose, it should depend on your specific needs, budget, and technical expertise.

Being one of the best cloud-based data warehouse solutions, BigQuery offers superior storage capacity and robust data analysis tools, making it best suited for users with expertise with cloud platforms and data analysis tools. However, you will need to have Google Analytics 360 property as this won’t work with UA property.

Export Google Analytics data to BigQuery: Points to consider

It is recommended to work with BigQuery data warehouse as the transfer process is pretty straightforward. Importing UA data to BigQuery before the deadline ensures the data remains and will continue to serve your business without any issues. Here are some points to consider before you transfer ua data to BigQuery:

Determine your needs: 

Since there will be a lot of data, not all of them might be essential for use in the future, therefore, it’s important to prioritize the business data thereby optimizing storage and costs. 

Analyse the long-term costs:

Even though storing the UA data in a BigQuery data warehouse is cost-effective, the cost of querying the data must be also taken into consideration when you decide to integrate it with various dashboards or other tools, etc.

Choose your preferred export mode:

Exporting the UA data can only be done through its API. Simply hitting the export data won’t be enough. To achieve a successful transfer, most companies have dedicated tools to transfer ua data to BigQuery

Step by Step Guide To Transfer UA Data In BigQuery

Now that you have learned how to save UA data with BigQuery, following the steps below will help you learn the process of transferring the data in BigQuery thereby effectively preventing universal analytics data deletion from happening. It’s worth knowing that this process will only work with Google Analytics 360 properties.

Step 1: Set Up a BigQuery Account

To set up one, both Google Cloud account and BigQuery must be enabled so that you can easily import data into BigQuery.

Step 2: Link Google Analytics to BigQuery

By using the native integration, you can begin linking your GA360 property to BigQuery.

Step 3: Start exporting the data

Once the data is linked, start configuring and running the data exports to BigQuery. You must have some technical skills to do this process.

If you haven’t yet figured out how to archive UA data to BigQuery, trying out the above steps should help with your cause.

Will GA4 Data Be Deleted As Well?

Once you export Google Analytics data to BigQuery you can be relived, however, one question remains, will the GA4 data also be deleted? The answer is no but instead of this, you should be asking will universal analytics data be deleted instead of GA4. The thing is that GA4 is now the newest iteration of Google Analytics and in fact, the search engine giant is effectively letting Universal analytics data be deleted by phasing out UA and encouraging all digital marketers to transition to this platform by the end of June 2024. 

What’s more, GA4 comes with an upgraded set of features and integration capabilities and more importantly complies with modern data protection standards. So, if you are concerned about universal analytics data deletion, I would suggest you import data into BigQuery before the deadline and keep a copy of it so that you can stay stress-free. 

If you face any difficulties in this aspect upon doing it yourself, it is better to consult the professional services of a renowned digital marketing agency like GTECH as our team is capable of helping you complete the Universal Analytics data retention process with ease. So, that is all about Universal Analytics and what changes will happen once it shuts down. What do you think about it? Have you learned how to archive UA data to BigQuery? let us know in the comments.

Related Post

Publications, Insights & News from GTECH