GA4 updates explorations date range, data retention settings


Google Analytics 4 has updated its explorations feature and data retention settings.

When you save an exploration with a preset date range (like the last 28 days), GA4 will now display data from the last 28 days from when you opened the exploration, not from when you initially created it.

Regarding data retention, if a GA4 property becomes large, event-level data retention will automatically reduce to two months when exceeding 25 billion (for standard) or 250 billion (for 360) billable events in the last 31 days.

The updates were announced on the Google Analytics Help Center.

Why we care. Marketers will need to take note of the explorations update to ensure accurate reporting, and those with large GA4 properties will need to take action to prevent data loss.

What is an Exploration? Explorations is a set of advanced tools that go beyond regular reports, allowing you to discover deeper insights into your customers’ behavior. When you want to explore data in more detail, you can use explorations to:

  • Quickly make ad hoc queries.
  • Easily configure and switch between techniques.
  • Sort, refactor, and drill down into the data.
  • Focus on the most relevant data by using filters and segments.
  • Create segments and audiences.
  • Share your explorations with other users of the same Google Analytics property.
  • Export the exploration data for use in other tools.

Adjusting the timeframe of an exploration. To change the time frame of an exploration, follow these steps:

  1. At the top of “Variables”, click the currently selected date range.
  2. Select a preset date range (e.g., “Last 28 days”), or use the calendar to select a custom date range (e.g., May 1st to May 31st).
  3. Click OK”.

Data retention update. In the future, if a standard property becomes Large or a 360 property becomes XL (collecting over 25 billion and 250 billion billable events in the last 31 days, respectively), the event-level data retention setting will automatically decrease to 2 months. Event-level data older than 2 months will become inaccessible and permanently deleted. This adjustment will affect only a small number of Google Analytics properties.

Warning email. If your property is approaching these limits based on weekly event volume, Google will send a warning email to all property administrators. Once the limit is reached, another email will be sent to all administrators, informing them that the data retention setting has been lowered.

Between receiving these two emails, you can decrease the number of billable events sent to the Google Analytics 4 property, to ensure compliance with the current limits for your property size and to maintain longer event-level retention. If the warning is for a free property, upgrading to 360 is an option to access higher limits.

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Deep dive. Read Google’s Explorations guide or Data Retention documentation for more information.


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