Category Archives: Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps you understand what's going on with your website, social media and email.

From Wikipedia:Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website's traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales...

What does “Review your data retention settings before they take effect…” mean?

As a Google Analytics user, you likely received a cryptic email from Google with the subject line “[Important Reminder] Review your data retention settings before they take effect on May 25, 2018

It is a slightly confusing email that has no clear follow up actions. Don’t worry, here’s what to do in three quick steps:

Step 1. Log in to Google Analytics Admin section

Log in with your Google Analytics password at, choose your account and click on the orange “gear” icon at the bottom left hand side of the page.Admin button in Google Analytics

Step 2. Click on Property Settings > Tracking Info > Data Retention

This is in the middle column of the admin page.

Google Analytics admin view: Property Settings srcset= Tracking Info > Data Retention” width=”271″ height=”381″>

Step 3. Set “User and event data retention:” to 38 months and confirm that “Reset on new activity” is ON and click to Save.

View of admin setting in Google Analytics User and Event Data Retention

Step 4 [Optional] Understand what you did (and didn’t) just do

– Your data won’t be deleted after 38 months, only a small subset of your data that could be used to identify individual users will be affected.   Standard reports in Google Analytics will not be affected, while some advanced segments and custom reports will see gaps in data older than 38 months.

– Setting the “Reset on new activity” to “On” means that every time someone revisits the site their data is stored another 38 months – you will only lose data on people who haven’t visited your website in more than 3 years.

–  This change is connected to new regulations on data collection from Europe coming into effect on May 25th, 2018, called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR for short.

Further reading

Here’s a great plain-language post “New Data Retention Policies in Google Analytics” from Krista Seiden’s blog.

The Single Most Important Report in Google Analytics

How to find and read the most important report in Google Analytics

If you only looked at one piece of information in Google Analytics, what should it be?

Whenever I look at a new (to me) clients’ account I go straight to this report in Google Analytics that tells me instantly how their website (and online marketing) is doing, and what needs to be done to properly set up Google Analytics.

I am going to walk you through this one report: what it is, how to set it up and what it’s trying to tell you.


Tracking Signups as Goals in NationBuilder

NationBuilder works well with Google Analytics

If you are trying to connect with supporters of your cause, NationBuilder is incredibly powerful software for the price.   And Google Analytics is incredibly powerful web analytics software at any price (though it happens to be free).

In this tutorial I am going to show you a very important step in using Google Analytics with NationBuilder: tracking NationBuilder website conversions as goals in Google Analytics.