New Google Data Retention Policy for Analytics

Starting on 25th May 2018, to coincide with the implementation of GDPR,  The Google Data Retention policy is being updated for user and event data on Google Analytics.  The default position is that Google retains user and event data (identifying the visitor) for 26 months. After this period, Google deletes the data. Once deleted it will not be available for analysis. The change does not affect reports based on aggregated data.

If a visitor returns to the website, the clock resets. A one-time visitor on 25th May 2018 who never returns, will be deleted on 25th July 2020 (i.e. 26 Months later). If they revisited the site on 20th July 2020, the clock resets. The earliest their data would delete would be September 2022.

The upside

For most SMEs, I don’t anticipate this will have a major impact though it is another example of how GDPR is making us take more notice of the personal data we hold. With data becoming a key differentiator in many business marketing propositions, from a marketing perspective this is no bad thing in my opinion. It may feel like a bit of a challenge just now and yet another piece of bureaucracy to have to deal with but, in the longer term, it can make your business better.

There are options in your Analytics Admin (under Tracking Info) to change the retention period. You can also disable the timer reset if you wish. Remember though that under GDPR you should not retain personal data longer than is appropriate.

Google is also planning to introduce a specific user deletion tool to remove individual visitor data if this proves necessary.

Let me know if you have any questions

Filed under: Analytics, E-mail Metrics, Marketing Best Practice, Website Metrics

About David Wright

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Every business has a brand. Building yours can be the best way of adding sustained value to your business. A strong brand also builds market confidence and creates a great platform from which to develop sustainable business opportunities.

I combine professional marketing qualifications and experience with a solid understanding of real business to discuss and advise on building your business brand using effective marketing communication in a down-to-earth, no jargon way.

As well as discussing plans and strategies I am keen to 'get my hands dirty' and work with clients to make sure things happen!

  • Understanding you, your business, and what you want to achieve
  • Helping you choose the right tools for a practical marketing communications plan
  • Working with you to make sure things happen - and keep happening

My business goals are to achieve effective, long term relationships with clients, to deliver real benefit and to help clients drive their business forward.

Specialities:

  • Practical, joined-up marketing communication.
  • Professional, internet focussed business marketing.
  • Relevant content creation
  • WordPress training – take control of your website
I work on clarifying your goals then developing and implementing practical marketing to help you achieve them.

Extensive understanding on the internet and web marketing enables me to tap into highly cost-effective tools to achieve effective, sustainable marketing at realistic budgets.

2 Comments

lesie

What is it exactly that Google deletes after 26 months? From what I understand only affinity and demo data but conversions and sessions will retain indefinitely. Can you confirm?

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Duncan Wright

Yes, it is user-level and event-level data associated with cookies, user-identifiers and advertising identifiers that are affected by the policy. Standard aggregated analytics reporting is not affected.

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