Creating a Google Universal Analytics Archive

Your old Google Universal Analytics account is going offline on July 1, 2024. This is the first in a two part tutorial on how to make a basic archive of your old Google Analytics account.

Introduction: Creating a backup of your Google Universal Analytics account

To create your Google Analytics archive, you are going to need the following:

  1. A google account logged in to your Google Universal Analytics account
  2. The “View ID” of the Google Universal Analytics view you want to archive.
  3. The Chrome browser from Google installed on your computer
  4. The Google Analytics Add on for Google Sheets installed on Chrome
  5. A template Google Sheet designed to download your GA data

Let’s go through these steps.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Log in to your Google Universal Analytics account.

Log in to your Google Analytics account at

You will see at least one “Account” (probably for your organization) with a few “Properties” (Usually a unique website, with a unique tracking ID in the format UA-XXXXX). Each of these “Properties” can have several “Views”, which are subsets of the data in the property.

Step 2. Find the “View ID” of the Google Universal Analytics data you want to archive

The data in your Google Universal Analytics property can be filtered into different “Views” – subsets of your data- that track different conversions, sections of the site or traffic sources. You likely have several different Views in your account. Each View has a unique ID, a set of numbers (no letters). You need to identify which View you are going to archive – likely the one that you used most often – and record the “View ID” for that view. You will need this to create your archive.

To find your View ID, click on the “All Accounts” link at top right of your Google Analytics account to see your Properties and Views.

Here is what the Data Habits Account / Properties / Views looks like. Find the ID of the View you use most often, as it has the goals (signups, donations) and other metrics you rely on most frequently.

Click on the View then “View Settings”

Your View will be a string of numbers, see below. Copy this number, as we need to enter it in a particular Google Sheet that will create the archive of our data.

Step 3. Install the Google Chrome browser on your computer

To create this archive you will need a copy of the Chrome browser from Google. You can download Google Chrome here.

Step 4. Install the Google Analytics Add On for Google Sheets

Open your Chrome browser, and log in to your Google account that has access to your Google Analytics account. You need to install an “Add On” to your browser that allows a Google Sheets document to access your Google Analytics data.

You can download the “Google Analytics Add On” from Google here :

Click on the blue “Install” button. Follow the installation process, and at some point the Add On will ask for permissions to access your Google account – see image below. If this level of control over your Google account makes you nervouse, you can grant these permissions until you have created your Google Universal Analytics archive and then remove this Add On, and revoke that access.

You now have everything you need to create your Google Universal Analytics archive. Move on to Step 5.

Step 5. Copy this Google Sheet template

You will back up your Google Universal Analytics data to a Google Sheet, using a template and a plugin designed for this task.

You can use the backup template provided by Google, it is available here.

Or you can use a slightly different version of the same template that I developed, based on dozens of Universal Analytics backups. The Data Habits Template V8 is available here.

Once you copy those files, save them with a new name – “Your website name + GA Archive” should suffice. Later you will see why a shorter name is better for our purposes.

Both templates get you roughly the same results. I will use my version of the template as an example in the next tutorial – creating a Looker Studio dashboard to view your Google Universal Analytics data. But either template will work for you. In fact, there is no harm in creating two archives of your data, each using a different template.

Step 6. Populate your Google Analytics archive

The first step is to paste your “View ID” in row 3 of the “Report Configuration” tab of your Google Sheet. Paste it across the columns.

Next go to Extensions > Google Analytics > Run Reports

The report will run after which time you will get a status update.

The status shows which reports ran, and which had difficulties and why. In this case, the website was not running Ecommerce and I didn’t need the Default Channel report so did not paste the View ID into those columns. Other common glitches are not entering a start and end date for the report (Rows 5 and 6 in the ‘Report Configuration’ tab) and trying to archive too much data. In the latter case, you can reduce the number of reports or the date range.

Step 7. Check your Google Universal Analytics data in your Google Sheet

Your sheet should now have a tab for every report you ran in the “Report Configuration” tab.

Two reports to check are the “Goals” and “Goals 2” tabs. By default, the report collects data on the first five Goals by ID in the first tab, and data on goals 6 through 10 in the second tab. In the View you are backing up, it is possible you are not collecting data for those first ten goal “slots” and want to track a different 10 goals. You can edit those goal identifiers in the Report Configuration tab and run the report again.

Next step : Create a Looker Studio interface for your archive

Register for the webinar on using Looker Studio to create a dashboard of your data:

July 11th 2024 @ 1pm Eastern

Why create a Google Universal Analytics archive?

Your old Google Universal Analytics account stopped collecting data some time after July 1, 2023, but you can still (as of Spring 2024) access that data. Google has announced that as of July 1, 2024, you will no longer be able to access your old Google Universal Analytics account.

There is no way to import your data into your new Google Analytics 4 account, so you will lose any website metrics collected before you installed Google Analytics 4 on your website.

Whatto know about creating a Google Universal Analytics archive

First the good news: This process is relatively quick. This first part of the process – creating a Google sheet with 5-10 years of your top-level Google Universal Analytics metrics – should take you less than an hour to complete.

While you need to have a bit of technical knowledge to create an archive of your Google Universal Analytics account, the skills required are at the level of editing Google Sheets and installing plugins in Chrome browsers, not serious programming skills.

Here’s the worse news: you won’t have a full backup of all your Google Universal Analytics data, only the top-level metrics (page views, sessions, users, new users, goal completions, goal conversion rates, etc.) broken down by month.

This means you won’t be able to compare these metrics week-to-week, or find out how many people on mobile devices from Akron visited your website. (You can create an archive to answer those questions using this method, but it’s going to take a lot longer than an hour).

I created this post because Google’s documentation of the process is below.

From Google “How to archive your UA data with Google Sheets

In my opinion, this is very much “How to Draw an Owl” – it skips over some pretty involved steps.

With this tutorial and the next one, on how to create a basic Looker Studio dashboard for your Google Universal Analytics archive, I am hoping to fill in the feathers and shading in this process.