Save universal Google Analytics data with GA4

The answer is clear, and it will be a complicated way.

So, how to export google analytics data?

According to Google, it is possible and it explains in detail how to export data, but what we observe and what we read on several analytics websites is that in practice it is very difficult.

Moreover, we may be able to export data, but we won’t be able to take the history with us.

Let’s first look at where Google Analytics gets data from to understand why Google is getting rid of Universal Google Analytics and moving to GA4.

Google Analytics is a platform that collects data from websites and applications by using tags to create reports, so how does Google collect data, exactly? They use various web tracking technologies, such as IP address tracking, cookies, and others used in the ad tracking industry to collect data and learn more about you. IP address tracking is a technique Google uses to help identify your location.

With the new cookieless tracking models, the new GDPR directive in the EU, and the market inertia towards user data privacy, Analytics had to rethink itself to avoid falling foul of the law.

In fact, another question related to compliance with the law, at least in Europe, would be: where does google analytics store data?

Since the law specifies that, if the data storage is about users browsing within the EU, the regulation is clear, the GDPR requires data to be stored in the EU. The regulation is clear on its application, in case of collecting data from European users, companies must rely on providers with data centers in Europe.

Now with the change to GA4, the way of storing data remains the same, on their servers, but under the agreement with the EU for GDPR compliance (link to “location data…”).
So the next question seems clear

Why you shouldn’t use Google Analytics?

Let’s review the following:

We have seen that exporting is viable but not easy.
We also see that the change affects the information analysis as some data is no longer available. For example, some metrics currently consulted in the Universal Analytics properties, those related to cookies, will not be available in the new properties.

Let’s now add another drawback we mentioned at the beginning: there is a break in the data history; when we configure a new GA4 property, data collection starts from scratch, which means that we will not have a data history to make comparisons.

Add to all this the common complaint among marketers: GA4 seems to be designed for enterprise-level users rather than smaller businesses, and we could be looking at the possibility that Google wants to move away from the SMB website analytics market due to the endless privacy issues it continues to face, and move towards being an analytics software for large enterprises.

And this is where SEAL METRICS, a privacy-focused alternative to Google, comes in.

As we explain in SEAL METRICS:

“The ePrivacy Directive states that if you track a visitor individually, you MUST ask for their consent. It doesn’t matter if you are tracking individually with cookies, super-hash fingerprinting with a short lifetime, server-side, or any similar technology. The directive is clear: if you track individually, you need consent. SEAL metrics do NOT track individually. We are a privacy-first web analytics, and we want EU marketers to have the best web analytics tool.

SEAL METRICS identifies sources, not users. Since we do not use user IDs or fingerprints, we can measure 100% of your traffic without any legal risk. SEAL works with a proprietary ID-based system, which does NOT identify users. It identifies traffic sources. Each time a user accesses the website from a source, the system assigns an ID (not user_id) to that source. See the example below. And no, it doesn’t affect your SEO.

SEAL does not store or handle any personal data.

According to our latest audit, GDPR doesn’t even apply to SEAL because it doesn’t store or handle any personal data. To say ‘we are GDPR compliant’ seems like an understatement.”