Google has recently released product updates to Google Analytics Data Retention that are to kick-start May 28th, 2018. These changes are being made to a new feature that aims to provide ways to safeguard user and event data.
Google Analytics Data Retention Controls
Google is stepping up to the plate at the right moment, providing their newest system change on controlling event and user data.
In the light of the fall out of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, user data has been a hot topic. Therefore, users are demanding more control of their user data and wanting to know, “who is in control?”
Since the scandal, providers of data analytics systems, like Google, are becoming more involved in privacy assurances by shifting from a sole focus of collecting and analyzing to focusing the length of time data can be stored.
With new data storage capabilities coming to the forefront, Google Analytics users can choose the length of time their data is retained before it’s automatically deleted from servers.
- 14 months
- 26 months*
- 28 months
- 50 months
- Do not automatically expire
Once data has reached the end of the users selected retention time frame, it is automatically deleted from the database.
Which Data Retention Option is Right For You?
There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer to which timeframe you should choose. However, we recommend that you select the 26 month (the default) time period. You’ll be able to have the data you need long past your average sales cycle, and can compare it to the year before – and the year after.
You can always create and run reports and save the data you need on your own, secure servers, should you desire a longer time period of data retention.
Data Affected: User-Level & Event-Level Data
- User-Identifiers (User-ID)
- Advertising Identifiers, ex: Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers
Is There Any Data That’s Not Affected?
According to Google, standard aggregate data will not be affected by the newest changes.
“The user and event data managed by this setting is needed only when you use certain advanced features like applying custom segments to reports or creating unusual custom reports.” – Google Support Data Retention
Therefore, reports like Roll-Up Reporting will still be available even after the deletion of the granular data.
How to Reset the Retention Period On New Activity
Turn this option ON:
Turn the data retention option on to reset the retention period of information, like your user ID for each new event for a particular user. This sets the data retention expiration date to the current time and retention period time-frame that is selected.
Turn this option OFF:
Turn this option off if the retention period for a user identifier is based on that user’s activity, and you no longer have a need for that information to be stored. Data associated with the user identifier will be deleted automatically after the retention period time-frame that is selected.
Why is This Important?
The newest feature by Google Analytics, Data Retention Controls is a response to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This will also take effect May 25, 2018, and will affect European and non-European businesses that collect personal data from users in the European Economic Area.
Non-EU Companies That Will Need to Comply:
- If you are collecting or processing information (names, emails address, etc.) from any of these areas.
- If the company’s activities relate to offering goods or services to EU citizens.
Therefore, you’ll need to take certain measurements to ensure that the personal data you collect is well protected. Which means you’ll want to ensure you have active consent from all EEA persons in your database, you may also need to designate a third-party or person to be in charge of data protection to put together a risk mitigation plan.