The sun is finally setting on Universal Analytics (UA). As of July 1, 2024, Google will begin to discontinue access to the UA platform and API, meaning no historical reports will be available after this date. This significant shift in website analytics leaves many businesses scrambling to salvage valuable historical data gathered through UA. For some, this might not seem like a big deal, but for others, the ability to look back year-on-year to previous campaign periods or trends will be a significant blow to planning and strategy.

After this date, the only data you will have access to will be data in your GA4 account, from the date you set it up.

The timeline:

  • July 1, 2023: Standard UA properties stopped processing new data.
  • From July 1, 2024: Full shutdown of UA. No access to historical reports, API, or properties. This begins on 1st July and will last around a week, but there is no way of knowing when your accounts will be shut down.


Planning is key

The first step to preserving your existing UA data is to decide what data you would like to keep. This will be different even between stakeholders at the same company, so it’s important to have those discussions internally with teams who regularly use the UA accounts to ascertain what data is of value.

As tempting as it might be to try to archive all data, the reality might be that you don’t actually need it all. A good starting point is to examine the UA accounts and look for saved reports. These will most likely contain the key dimensions and metrics that have historically been important.

In the event there are many saved reports, have a think about whether or not you can combine some or all of these into one report that you can export, saving you time and storage space, as well as making it easier to find the data when you need it.

Next, you need to decide where you are going to save this data. It might be something as simple as a shared drive, giving access to everyone that might need it. At the other end of the spectrum, you might want to set up a Google Cloud Platform account in order to export data in such a way that it is possible to interrogate it using BigQuery. This enables a far greater volume of data to be saved, and then cut and diced in any way necessary to the task using SQL. The processes for both of these are described below.

Our data team at Reflect Digital can help you to decide on the important metrics for your business, and the most efficient way of exporting and storing this data for easy access later.


Exporting Your UA Data

There are two primary methods for exporting your UA data:

  • Google Analytics Reporting Tools: This method allows exporting reports in various formats like CSV, XLSX, or PDF. However, it has limitations:
    • Limited Report Scope: You can only export data for a specific date range and report type. Exporting a large dataset requires multiple reports, which can be time-consuming.
    • Data Granularity: Exported reports may not capture all the data points available in your UA property.
  • Google BigQuery Export (for GA360 customers only): This method offers a more robust solution for exporting comprehensive historical data.


  • Google Analytics 360 account
  • Google Cloud Project - Ensure you have a Google Cloud project with billing enabled.
  • BigQuery dataset - Create a dataset in BigQuery where the UA data will be stored.
  • Enable BigQuery Export: Within your UA property settings, navigate to "Data Export" and enable export to BigQuery. This creates a dataset in your Google Cloud Platform (GCP) project where UA data will be streamed automatically.
  • Configure Data Export: Set the desired export schedule (daily, weekly, etc.) and choose the data views (specific data sets within your UA property) you want to export.
  • Access Your Data: Once exported, access your BigQuery dataset through the GCP console. BigQuery offers powerful analysis tools and integrates seamlessly with other Google products



Preserving Value from Your UA Data:

While exporting your data is crucial, simply storing it isn't enough. Here's how to unlock its full potential.

  • Data Transformation: BigQuery data might not be readily usable in its raw format. Consider using data transformation tools to clean, organise, and structure the data for future analysis.
  • Historical Benchmarks: Use exported UA data as a baseline for future website performance measured with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the current analytics platform.
  • Trend Analysis: Analyse historical data to identify trends and user behaviour patterns that might inform future marketing strategies.
  • Custom Reporting Tools: Consider building custom reporting tools or dashboards that leverage your exported data to provide insights unavailable in GA4. Contact us at Reflect Digital to find out how we can support on this.
  • Data Retention Policy: Develop a data retention policy to determine how long you plan to store your UA data. Remember, storage costs may apply in BigQuery.

Beyond Exporting: Considerations for Moving Forward

While data preservation is important, the future lies with GA4. Here are some additional points to consider.

  • Migrate to GA4: If you haven't already, set up a GA4 property and start collecting data concurrently with your UA setup. This allows for a smoother transition and historical data comparison.
  • Data Integration Challenges: While GA4 offers powerful features, some metrics and reports may differ from UA. Prepare for potential data integration challenges when comparing historical and future data.
  • Focus on Future Insights: Leverage GA4's advanced capabilities like machine learning and user-centric measurement to gain deeper customer insights and optimise your website for success.


Key Takeaways

The sunsetting of UA marks a significant shift in website analytics. Exporting and preserving your UA data empowers you to maintain valuable historical insights and inform your future marketing strategies. By taking proactive steps and adopting GA4, you can ensure a smooth transition and continue to measure website performance effectively. Remember, data is one of your most valuable assets – use it wisely to propel your business forward!

There are many ways in which Reflect Digital can support you in this transition, including:

  • Consultancy on what data would be most valuable for your business to preserve.
  • For UA360 customers, setting up a Google Cloud Platform instance and enabling automatic exports of data from UA into BigQuery for analysis.
  • Creation of dashboards in which to visualise the exported data in the most meaningful way to you.

Please do contact us for more information!


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Ed's job as Data and CRO Lead is to make sure everything we do at Reflect Digital is customer-focused and data-driven and the results are measurable and insightful. He is a champion of hypothesis-led test-and-learn strategies, positively impacting the customer journey, website performance and client growth. Ed's expertise includes delivering robust reporting tools to enable the team to extract the maximum insight from the activity we run and help our clients to understand the impact we're having.

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