GA4 Digital Marketing Data Preservation

One of the best ways to strengthen your small business’ digital marketing success is through consistent, thoughtful analysis of data. Digital marketing analytic platforms (like Google’s ever-popular Universal Analytics, or UA) allow business owners to gather data over long periods of time. These historical marketing metrics provide invaluable insight into which marketing techniques worked in the past and what may work better in the future. 

With Google’s transition from UA to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) drawing closer by the day, it’s important for small business owners to identify, understand, and take steps to manage their digital marketing data preservation options. The last thing any business owner wants is to wake up on July 1st, 2023, and realize they’ve lost access to their entire digital marketing data history. 

A Special Note to Non-Google Analytic Users: If you’re thinking this article doesn’t apply to you, think again! Every business owner needs a reliable way to save, pull, and analyze marketing metrics over long periods of time. Don’t leave your marketing strategy to luck – adopt a robust digital marketing data preservation process to ensure you have access to historical metrics regardless of system updates, platform changes, or file corruption. 

Digital Marketing Data Preservation
Step 1: Identify

Strategy is the name of the game when it comes to digital marketing data preservation. You need to identify which pieces of data are important to long-term digital marketing success and consequently worth hanging on to. This means prioritizing historical data in terms of future impact, usefulness, and development potential.

When zeroing in on which data is worth preserving for your business, consider:

  • Which digital metrics do you find yourself consistently focusing on during recurring marketing performance reviews?
  • How far back do you want your digital marketing data preservation efforts to reach?
  • Do you have any growth or downsizing plans ahead that could be impacted by historical marketing data?
  • Which data points specifically impact short and long-term marketing goals and projects?
  • Do you have any staff or team members who rely on historical marketing data when executing their job duties?

 

Be cutthroat with your digital marketing data preservation decisions. You don’t want to waste time and resources hanging on to data points that don’t serve the future of your business.   

Digital Marketing Data Preservation
Step 2: Store

Isolating and identifying the data you’d like to retain is only the first step in successful digital marketing data preservation. Next, you need to select the best historical metrics storage option for your unique business operation. 

Choose the best digital marketing data preservation option for your business by covering all possible access and utilization scenarios ahead of time. Think about how often you’ll access the data, who will need access to the data, your data storage budget, and the reasons why you’d need to access the data.

 

Spreadsheets: A Reliable Standby

Excel and Google Sheets are familiar, compatible, and fairly easy to manipulate. They require little (if any) cost and offer tons of support and training for free. Google even offers a free analytic tool to manipulate, share, and access Google Analytics data within Google Sheets. Spreadsheets offer a plethora of data organization options and are a fast, easy way to create a reliable digital marketing data preservation system.   

That said, few business owners want to mess with v-lookups while attempting to comb through millions of data rows. Similarly, spreadsheet data imports must take place manually, which takes time and resources away from other areas of business and marketing. Business owners with large amounts of historical digital marketing data may consequently want to steer away from spreadsheets. 

Cloud Data Warehouses: The Sky’s The Limit

Online, cloud-based digital marketing data preservation storage solutions offer easy, streamlined integrations that eliminate the need for manual uploads and time-consuming reporting methods. Google offers cloud-based storage through BigQuery, a serverless enterprise data warehouse with limitless analytical and sharing capabilities. Add Google’s Analytics Reporting API to easily isolate the data you want to find, and just like that, you’ve got an all-in-one data storage solution with fully functioning, automatic reporting capabilities.

Is the cost of a cloud-based data warehouse, however, worth the potential return from your historical marketing data? The answer depends entirely on your marketing strategy. If you consistently use historical marketing data and/or plan on using stored data for an extended amount of time, online data warehouses may be the perfect fit for you. If you tend to store historical marketing data more for peace of mind and for use on rare occasions, paying for storage may not be the best solution for your digital marketing data preservation needs.

Custom Databases: Premium Results for In-House Experts

Some businesses already have the tools they need to create a fully-customized, in-house digital marketing data preservation system. Custom databases allow you to house historical marketing metrics within systems and technology solutions you own and retain on-site. Because these custom database and storage systems are housed within the business itself, business owners can fully own, manage, and secure their data without the need for off-site/cloud-based management or oversight. This provides endless options in terms of data size, analysis, and sharing capabilities. 

The trade-off, however, is that custom databases require significant investment (both in terms of cost and time) toward things like infrastructure, data security, compatibility, and management. Custom databases are not the best solution for smaller businesses or those with less need for massive amounts of storage space. 

Digital Marketing Data Preservation
Step 3: Utilize

Once you’ve identified and stored the digital data you need to keep your marketing strategy on track, you’re ready to pull up, analyze, and reference your historical metrics as needed. Don’t be afraid to delete obsolete data as you go; a recurring purge of outdated or unneeded metrics keeps your digital marketing data preservation efforts healthy and current while saving you time when the next analytic platform update inevitably occurs.   

Is your small business ready for GA4? GreenCup Digital is here to help. Our experienced web development team offers insight, partnership, and customized small business solutions, including digital marketing data preservation, platform integration, and strategy analysis. Learn more about how GreenCup Digital can streamline your online marketing efforts by connecting with us here. Together we can ensure your GA4 conversion and small business digital marketing analytics provide the feedback you need to earn engagement, sales, and success.

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