What The Google Analytics Update Means For You

If you’re an administrator of a Google Analytics account, you recently received an email about updates to Google’s privacy policy. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), a law that will take effect on May 25, and the recent Facebook data usage scandals have urged digital platforms to protect data privacy. Google announced two important steps it is taking to protect personal data while retaining the power of aggregate analytics.

First, Google Analytics just introduced data retention controls. These controls determine how long user and event data is held on Google’s servers. Data will no longer be retained indefinitely. Now user information will now expire according to the time limits that Analytics administrators determine.

Second, Google will also be introducing another measure to protect website visitors’ data before GDPR takes effect. Google Analytics admins will be able to delete any particular anonymous user’s data. This new automated tool uses any of common identifiers sent to Analytics: Client ID (standard Google Analytics first party cookie), User ID (if enabled), or App Instance ID (if using Google Analytics for Firebase).

What does these changes mean for you? When considering how long you want to retain user data, consider your user path. Not all website visitors convert on the first visit to your website. Depending on your business model and customer behavior, your user conversion paths could be multi-touch over the course of months. To avoid missing out on the full picture of customer attribution, consider your user path and how long it takes for a typical user to convert after first visiting your website.

Advertisers and marketers will be empowered to choose what type of data they want retained on Google’s servers and what data they do not need. You can streamline the data that is held on Google’s servers. It also means that Google Analytics users will have their privacy protected, and that website visitors will have more privacy.