Google Analytics users may be aware of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25th of this year.
Those harnessing Google’s analytical offerings are required to take action by that date in order to ensure compliance going forward. Though the imposition
of this new regulation may seem a bit daunting, reviewing and modifying new data retention settings isn’t as complicated as it might sound. Below,
we outline the new regulations, breaking down what, exactly, is required of today’s users.
What’s the GDPR, anyway?
The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, becomes effective on May 25th, and
represents a substantial increase in the rights provided to individual data subjects within the European Union. Of course, the Internet reaches far
beyond the EU, so the regulations will impact the United States, too – including the software agreements you accept when you use data-harvesting tools,
like Google Analytics.
Historically, the US has handled data protections far more loosely than the EU, allowing companies to harvest personal information from users as long as
privacy policies are made clear. The EU, on the other hand, believes that personal information belongs to the individual, and individuals must provide
consent each time their information is collected. So what does this mean for American companies? Basically, any organization providing software as
a service (SaaS), including Google Analytics, will need to address new regulatory requirements through technical solutions, procedural methods, or
What Do Regulatory Updates Mean for Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is contacting all their customers with a lengthy email, which can be summed up pretty quickly: Everyone needs to review their data retention settings and modify them accordingly – before the May 25th deadline.
Google’s email to users explains that they must take action by May 25 in order to manage their own data retention settings.
Users are being given a default data retention time of 26 months, but have the option to choose a longer time period –as long as they take action before May 25th.
Updating Data Retention Settings Step-By-Step
Basically, Google Analytics users need to look for a new user deletion tool, which will allow them to manage how long their user and event data will be
stored on Google’s servers. The automated tool is located pretty easily – under “Admin,” scroll down beneath “Tracking Info” until you find “Data Retention.”
Under “User and event data retention,” you’ll see a drop-down menu set to 26 months.
Update your user retention period by clicking on the drop-down menu that displays 26 months as its default.
As Google states in its email to customers,
Google Analytics will automatically delete user and event data that is older than the retention period you select.” Choose the time frame that works
best for you – and make sure you take action before May 25th!
The bottom line: Don’t be daunted by Google’s lengthy email,
which is basically suggesting that customers take a quick peek at their Data Retention preferences and update accordingly. The most important takeaway
is that an update must take place by May 25th – and this update depends on the user’s action.
The default setting is generally a safe option if you’re unsure, but it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice based on your unique situation