How to Backup Google Universal Analytics Before the GA4 Transition

Don't lose your valuable Google Universal Analytics Data! 10up can help you seamlessly backup your Google Universal Analytics data before the GA4 deadline.

On July 1, 2023, Google Universal Analytics (UA) properties stopped processing new data as part of Google’s transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Google Analytics 360 (GA360), the paid, enterprise version of UA, will also stop collecting data one year after UA on July 1, 2024.

Users will also lose access to the UA interface, historical data, and APIs on July 1, 2024. But don't panic — losing your valuable historical data isn't inevitable. Here's what you need to know:

Why Backup Your Google Universal Analytics Data?

  • GA4 won't save historical data: Switching to GA4 won't automatically transfer your historical UA data. It's a completely new platform with a new data structure. If you don’t backup or transfer your UA data before July 1, 2024, it will be permanently deleted. 
  • Future reference and marketing decisions: Your historical UA data can be a treasure trove of insights. You will need it to understand past performance, track trends, or make informed marketing decisions.
  • Company value: Historical data isn’t just a record; it's an asset. Retaining this data enhances company valuation by showcasing a proven track record of customer interactions and business outcomes. It’s crucial for due diligence in mergers, acquisitions, and investment discussions.

Backup Options for Google Universal Analytics & UA360 Users:

  • Manual download: UA will allow you to download your data in a variety of formats:
    • Google Sheets: Google Sheets is a viable option for those with small data sets. It has a capacity limit of 10 million cells (not rows). This may make it difficult to transfer all data given the amount of data stored in UA. 
    • Excel(XLSX): Exporting to an Excel XLSX file is similar to Google Sheets, though XLSX files have a much larger storage capacity of around 17 billion cells.
    • CSV: CSV files do not have a fixed limit, with their only restriction being the amount of storage space available to hold the file. These formats carry a functional limit of 1 million rows based on the software used to work with data.
    • PDF: PDF is the least useful of these options since it has the least portability to other platforms. It can be useful however in exporting visual reports such as charts and graphs. 
  • GA Reporting API: Google Analytics has built-in APIs to export data to cloud storage, but limitations apply

For enterprises needing robust solutions, BigQuery offers advanced data management at scale.

A flowchart showing how to back up Google Universal Analytics data in different formats such as PDF, CSV, and database tables

Flowchart showing different options for backing up Google Universal Analytics Data if you have Google Analytics 360 and BigQuery

BigQuery Solutions with 10up & Analytics Canvas 

BigQuery is a managed, serverless data warehouse product by Google. It is designed to help you store, analyze, and visualize data with ease.

 UA360 users can export their data to BigQuery without an additional fee, though a UA360 license costs approximately $150,000 per year. 

10up has partnered with Analytics Canvas to offer options for exporting, storing, and managing Google Universal Analytics data in BigQuery, without the hefty price tag of GA360.

Universal Analytics Backup Utility

10up offers a Universal Analytics backup utility with a one-time cost of $99 per 10 million rows of data. Their team of strategists will collaborate with you to tailor a data backup plan that suits your budgetary constraints and meets future needs. 

Neither 10up nor their partner retains any of the data, which will be securely stored in your own BigQuery account. 

A flowchart showing your options for backing up Google Universal Analytics data based upon which version you use

Monthly subscription 

10up is also offering access to Analytics Canvas monthly subscriptions at a discounted rate to their clients. Analytics Canvas Premium comes with a number of additional features such as a user-friendly interface for working with data in BigQuery without needing to know SQL. That means no coding on your end. 

Don't wait until it's too late — contact 10up today to discuss your options and secure your valuable historical data before July 1st.


Additional Information:

Is BigQuery free? 

Data exports to BigQuery are not available under standard Universal Analytics, only through UA360 or a service like 10up’s.

  • BigQuery includes a free pricing tier (Storage: first 10 GiB per month, Queries: first 1 TiB of query data processed per month). 
  • Outside of extremely large data sets, storage costs are low ($0.01-$0.02 per GiB per month). 
  • Query costs are reasonably priced for normal analysis of historical data ($6.25 per TiB of data scanned by your queries). Analytics Canvas offers an additional tool to evaluate completed backups in BigQuery and estimate monthly storage costs.

Decide what data you need 

You don't have to export everything. Many organizations have been collecting UA data for over a decade. Not all of it will be relevant or necessary, focus on the data most relevant to your future needs.  

Unsure where to start? 

Pick one important aspect of your historical data and let 10up handle the rest:

  • Price: set a limit on how much you want to spend
  • Date range: pick the most critical months or years to preserve
  • Custom information: export and preserve the custom dimensions or metrics your business uses for decision-making
  • Due diligence: default backup tables are also available to ensure common data relationships are saved to BigQuery; in the absence of other priorities, 10up can apply these to your UA data and provide options at various price points based on the volume of data in your account

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