How to Export Data from Universal Analytics: A Comprehensive Guide | GlowMetrics

Jun 20th 2024

Digital Analytics Insights

5 min read

Posted by Joanne Kearney

How to Export Data from Universal Analytics: A Comprehensive Guide

As part of the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4, you will only be able to access your UA property’s data until July 1, 2024.  Learn how to export your data now before the deadline.

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Whether you’re a data analyst or a digital marketer, having access to your website’s analytics data is crucial for making informed decisions. Universal Analytics (now replaced by Google Analytics 4) provided a treasure trove of information about your inbound traffic sources, user behaviour, user demographics and sales funnel behaviour among many other things. Given this data will no longer be available from July 2024, we have provided details on how it can be downloaded – to be used as a historical reference point.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to export data from your Universal Analytics property.

Exporting Data from Universal Analytics

Google Analytics offers several ways to export data, each suited to different needs and levels of technical expertise. Here are the primary methods:

1. Exporting Reports Directly

The simplest way to export data is directly from the Google Analytics interface.

Note: this method is quick and efficient for exporting specific reports or a small amount of data (there is an export limit of 5,000 rows).
Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Log in to your Universal Google Analytics account and navigate to the view you want to export data from.
  • Step 2: Go to the report you want to export. You can choose from various standard reports such as Audience Overview, Acquisition Reports, Behavior Reports, etc.
  • Step 3: At the top of the report, you’ll see an “Export” option. Click on it.
  • Step 4: Choose your preferred format (PDF, Google Sheets, Excel (XLSX), or CSV).

2. Using the Google Analytics Reporting API

For more complex data needs or regular automated exports, the Google Analytics Reporting API is a powerful tool.

Note: This method requires some programming knowledge but allows for a high level of customization and automation.

Here’s a basic overview of how to use it:

  • Step 1: Set up a project in the Google Developers Console and enable the Google Analytics Reporting API.
  • Step 2: Authenticate your application using OAuth 2.0.
  • Step 3: Write a script in a programming language such as Python or JavaScript to query the API and extract the data you need.

3. Google Analytics Add-on for Google Sheets

If you’re not comfortable with APIs or coding, the Google Analytics add-on for Google Sheets can be a great alternative. These add-ons allow you to pull data directly into a spreadsheet where you can manipulate and analyse it.

Note: This method combines ease of use with flexibility, making it a popular choice for many users. Please note there are limitations on the number of cells allowed in the workbook (up to 10 million cells). Customisation on the configuration options is available to pull only the data you need.

  • Step 1: Install the Google Analytics add-on from the Google Workspace Marketplace: https://workspace.google.com/marketplace/app/google_analytics/477988381226
  • Step 2: Open Google Sheets and cope this template: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zXEBEQQk6TPeGb7-Wm2J0uM0q0XnTdJqrfikCTmYs8c/copy
  • Step 3: Change out row 3 with your own UA View ID.
  • Step 4: Review the Start and End Dates on the data that you are pulling. The larger the date range, the higher the chance that you’ll hit the cell limit.
  • Step 5: Review the Metrics and Dimensions across each report. Remove or add any dimensions and metrics that you’d like to add. A list of dimensions and metrics can be found here: https://ga-dev-tools.google/dimensions-metrics-explorer/
  • Step 6: Use the Order option to order your data by a dimension or metric.
  • Step 7: Navigate to Add-ons > Google Analytics > Run reports.
  • Step 8: If you encounter processing limitations when you run the report, you can use Filters, Segments and Limits to reduce the amount of data in reports. For more details on using these features, follow our video or get in touch if you have any questions about how to use commands to extract specific data.

4. BigQuery Export (GA360 Enterprise accounts only)

For businesses dealing with large volumes of data, exporting Google Analytics data to BigQuery offers a scalable solution. BigQuery is Google’s fully managed data warehouse, capable of handling vast datasets.

Note: this method is ideal for advanced users and Enterprise customers who need to run complex queries and integrate Google Analytics data with other datasets.

    • Step 1: Link your Google Analytics property to BigQuery (this feature is only available for Google Analytics 360 accounts).
    • Step 2: Configure the export settings to specify which data you want to export.
    • Step 3: Use SQL queries within BigQuery to analyse your data.

 

Best Practices for Exporting Data

  • Plan Your Exports: Identify the specific data you need and the best method to extract it. This planning can save time and ensure you get the most relevant information. Don’t think you have to download everything – remember for some methods mentioned above there are limits on the data you can extract.
  • Automate When Possible: Use APIs or add-ons to automate regular data exports, reducing manual effort and the risk of errors.
  • Ensure Data Security: When exporting and sharing data, always follow best practices for data security to protect sensitive information.

Exporting data from Universal Google Analytics is a powerful way to extend the usability of your analytics insights. Whether you’re performing a deep dive into your previous website’s performance, sharing historical insights with stakeholders, or backing up your data for benchmarking, choosing the best option to export your data before it is removed is important.

Struggling to make the transition from UA to GA4?

Check out some of our other GA4 blogs such as How to Use GA4 to Inform a Site Design, Creating Custom Insights in GA4 or a Guide to Audience Signals in GA4. For more support, feel free to comment below or get in touch with us at contact@glowmetrics.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following GlowMetrics on X, and LinkedIn or by subscribing to our newsletter for the latest tips and news in the world of Digital Analytics and Marketing.

Don’t forget you can also sign up for a free account on our Resource Hub to access a wealth of valuable resources, including exclusive Digital Analytics and Digital Marketing how-to videos and insights across GA4, SEO, PPC and more.


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GlowMetrics

Posted by
Joanne Kearney

Joanne has over 10 years’ experience working in digital analytics, executing and managing many large scale projects across the UK and Ireland. Joanne is also an experienced trainer, having developed many customised corporate training schemes and regularly speaks at digital and analytics events.
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