Google Analytics, the most popular reporting platform in the world, is getting ready for the new General Data Protection Regulations in Europe, and just announced users about new Data Retention Controls, that will come into effect starting May 25, 2018.
The Google Analytics Data Retention controls give you the ability to set the amount of time before user-level and event-level data stored by Google Analytics is automatically deleted from Analytics’ servers.
However, these settings will not take effect until May 25, 2018, which is the same day GDPR comes into force.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. The key articles of the GDPR, as well as information on its business impact, can be found throughout this document.
The retention period applies to user-level and event-level data associated with cookies, user-identifiers (such as User-ID) and advertising identifiers (such as DoubleClick cookies, Android’s Advertising ID, Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers).
Google claims that aggregated data will not be affected by the change.
Users will be able to choose how long Analytics retains data before automatically deleting it, according to their business needs.
The options for data retention:

  • 14 months
  • 26 months
  • 38 months
  • 50 months
  • Do not automatically expire

When data reaches the end of the retention period, it is deleted automatically on a monthly basis.
If a user decides to change the retention period, then any affected data is deleted during the next monthly process. For example, if you change from 26 months to 14 months, then any data older than 14 months is deleted during the next monthly process.
Whenever you modify the retention period, Analytics waits 24 hours before implementing the change. During this 24-hour period, you can revert your change and your data will be unaffected.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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