our goal is to be able to turn off the tests completely without losing the data in Workspace. [When we archive tests, we also lose the data.]
We have noticed that tests that have been switched off for a long time still track quite a lot of visits and also orders.
We wonder how this happens, and whether the visitor still sees the actual variant with changes, or the original (switched off) version?
Any ideas why this is happening and what we could do?
It is cause of different expiration setting in target variables. The Target variable sent to Analytics has a default 90-day expiration period. See answer to your question explained here Why are Target metrics sent to Analytics even after the activity has been deactivated?
If you want to view Activity Impressions or Activity Conversions in Workspace, apply a "same touch" attribution model so they reflect accurately. Best practice is view reports for that activity only for the time period the activity was live.