How long does it take Google Analytics to delete a user’s data from a property?

We at Scitylana are curious about how long it takes for Google Analytics to clean up after a user requests deletion of data. We set out to test it.

Expecting it could take days  – we will be testing once every day.

Since we have the Scitylana plugin installed we have a Google Analytics clientId attached to all hits in the view we tested.

Baseline setup 2018-05-29

As a baseline for the test we query our Google Analytics property for hits on my personal clientId 373080416.1509547250

This is the query I’ll run every day.

The data extract shows each individual data point tracked on the site in a periode from 2018-01-01 thru 2018-05-29.

 

Blogpost - Baseline 2018-05-29

Requesting deletion

Now we have to send a request for deletion to Google Analytics Deletion API.

We are doing this with our free and public tool. First we authorize access to our Google Analytics account. Then select the property we want to delete from. And finally select Client ID and paste the our specific clientId  373080416.1509547250 and hit Delete.

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Now the request is sent successfully to Google Analytics, we can start checking if we have been deleted.

First check 2018-05-29 (post deletetion)

Running my query gives me the exact same data as my baseline query.

#Update 1: 2018-05-30

Still no changes. Data remains exactly the same. Except one additional hit I made yesterday visiting my sites frontpage.

Blogpost - Baseline 2018-05-30

 

#Update 2: 2018-05-31

Screenshot of the day – still no deleted user – Since I haven’t visited the site since the 29th, the dataset is exactly the same as yesterday.

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@Analytical_Tom came with interesting feedback on Twitter.

#Update 3: 2018-06-01

@Analytical_Tom found that Google has released a delete user button in then User Report interface. When using this button we get some more info on how long the deletion process takes and what is deleted.

Once a delete is requested Google States to following about when the deletion is complete.

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This means is can expect the User Report table to be cleaned within 72 hours. But this is really not of interest to me since I’m only interested in what the API responds. And since the User Report is not available thru the API it makes do difference here.

It seems as I need to wait a total of up to 63 days before I see changes to the response via the API.

I will update this article again in 2 weeks time to see if I should get lucky.

 

#Update 4: 2018-07-06

OK, I waited a bit longer than 2 weeks. I was expecting that is will take quite a while before i see the my visitor deleted. I can report that the data is still available in Google Analytics. I’am only 38 days in the experiment and I have an estimated 25 days to go – sigh… 🙂

My long wait is relieved by watching the football/soccer world cup even though my home team Denmark is out – but anyway I can cheer for my danish mates in Tour de France instead. 🙂