Exporting data from Universal Analytics

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

For those who are not aware yet, Google decided to stop measuring data in Google Analytics3, also known as Universal Analytics. In this article we help you overcome data loss with our learnings and best practices

Google has officially announced that all standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023, and you will no longer be able to access your GA3 data and reports from July 1, 2024.

Here's a timeline:

July 1, 2023: Universal Analytics stopped processing new data.
July 1, 2024: You will lose access to the Universal Analytics interface and API, and all historical data will be deleted. This means that if you haven't migrated to Google Analytics 4 and want to keep your historical data, you need to export it before July 1, 2024. There are several ways to do this, including using Google's built-in export tools or third-party solutions.

Video tutorial

Hey there, fellow marketers and business owners! Let's chat about Google Analytics (GA) and how it can seriously boost your business. But before we get into that, let's talk about why it's super important to keep your GA data safe.

GA is like your website's secret diary – it tells you who's visiting, what they're interested in, and how long they're sticking around. It's a goldmine of insights, but Google doesn't keep this data forever. That's why it's smart to back up your GA data – it's like having a backup copy of your website's most valuable information.

Is GA data backup really necessary for you?

That depends on your website's traffic. Pop over to your GA account and head to "Behavior > Site Content > All Pages." If your site gets a lot of visitors (we're talking thousands or more), then backing up this data is definitely a good idea. It's like keeping a growth chart for your website, giving you valuable insights into how your site has performed over time and what to expect in the future.

Learnings based on my experience as a freelancer

Backing up GA data is usually pretty easy, but here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Too many reports: If you create too many reports, it can sometimes confuse GA and cause errors. Keep things simple and focused.
  • Social media traffic: If your website gets a lot of traffic from social media platforms like Facebook, filter that data out during the backup. This way, you can focus on the traffic that's coming directly to your website.
  • Google Ads integration: Make sure your Google Ads account is connected to your GA account. Check out Google's linkage guide if you need help with this. This will help you see how your ads are affecting your website traffic and conversions.

How to protect your GA data like a pro

  1. Check your permissions: Make sure you have the right permissions (either as an administrator or a viewer) to access your (or your client's) GA account. You can manage these in your Google Analytics Admin settings.
  2. Declutter your data: Get rid of unnecessary titles and labels. This will make your data easier to understand and analyze.
  3. Metric moderation: Don't go overboard with the metrics! Stick to 10 or fewer metrics per report to keep things running smoothly. You can find more info in Google's reporting API documentation.
  4. Double-check everything: Always compare your backup with your actual GA reports to make sure everything matches up.
  5. Connect Google Ads and Analytics: If you're using Google Ads, make sure it's linked to your GA account. This will give you a complete picture of how your ads are driving traffic and conversions.
  6. Supercharge your reports: Combine different metrics and dimensions in a single report to discover interesting trends and relationships.
  7. Save time with reusable setups: If you have multiple GA accounts, reuse your backup configuration by simply changing the view ID for each account.
  8. Customize your timeframe: Need to look at data from further back? Adjust the default 30-day reporting period to fit your needs.

The metrics that matter most for your business

Here are some key GA metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Acquisition: Website traffic, cost per click (CPC), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and conversion rate tell you how well you're attracting and converting visitors. You can learn more about these in Google's Analytics Academy.
  • Behavior: Bounce rate, average session duration, and pages per session show you how engaged users are with your website.
  • Outcomes: Monthly revenue, traffic and conversions per channel, completed goals, customer lifetime value (CLV), and repeat purchase rate help you understand the financial impact of your website. Check out the Google Analytics Help Center for advanced analysis techniques.

GA4 users: you've got options!

If you're using Google Analytics 4, take advantage of its built-in data export feature or connect it to Google BigQuery for backups. You can also try out some user-friendly tools like Supermetrics or Funnel.io to make managing your data even easier.

Your GA data: a powerful tool for business growth

Remember, your GA data is a goldmine of information. By keeping it safe and knowing how to use it, you can make smart decisions, improve your marketing, and grow your business like never before.

This article is based on my own freelance experience as a digital marketeer and the research I did using following resources

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