Using the GA4 test property

Table of contents for Using the GA4 test property

  1. GA4 test property overview
  2. Creating a test property in Google Analytics 4
  3. FAQ
  4. Other articles related to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

GA4 test property overview

A Google Analytics 4 property comes with only one reporting view. So whenever you change one of the settings of your GA4 property, you permanently change the way the data is collected, processed and reported in your reporting view.

Following are the various methods through which you can change the settings of your GA4 property:

Every change you make to your GA4 property setting(s) has the potential to permanently inflate/skew your current analytics data

A typical website updates all the time. Likewise, we launch and pause marketing campaigns all the time. 

All of these changes force us to change the settings of our GA4 property from time to time. But whenever we change GA4 property settings, we risk inflating/skewing our analytics data.

Let us suppose you applied a new data filter to your GA4 property in order to exclude internal traffic from GA4 reports. Now if this data filter is not set up correctly, you will have to make changes to it. 

But while you are making changes to your data filter, you are also unknowingly skewing your analytics data in the background. 

So you need to create a separate GA4 property just for testing purposes. We can call this property a GA4 test property. 

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Creating a test property in Google Analytics 4

A test property is just like any other GA4 property. You create a test property in the same way, you create any other GA4 property:

Follow the steps below to create a new GA4 test property: 

Step-1: Navigate to your existing GA4 property and then click on the ‘Admin’ button:

Admin 1

Step-2: Click on the ‘Create Property’ button:

Create Property GA4

Step-3: Give your new property a name (use the words ‘GA4 test property’ somewhere):

GA4 test property

Step-4: Select your reporting time zone and currency and then click on the ‘Next’ button:

reporting timezone

Step-5: Supply your business information (like industry category, business Size, how do you intend to use Google Analytics with your business?) and then click on the ‘Create‘ button at the bottom:

your business information ga4

Step-6: Click on the ‘Web’ data stream:

Web data stream ga4

Step-7: Enter your website URL and stream name and then click on the ‘Create stream‘ button:

Enter your website URL and stream name

Step-8: Copy the measurement ID by clicking on the copy button. We are going to use this measurement ID later while deploying the GA4 tag via GTM:

Copy the measurement ID ga4

Step-9: Navigate to your Google Tag Manager account and then click on the ‘New Tag’ button:

gtm New Tag

Step-10: Name your new tag ‘GA4- Test Property’:

ga4 test property

Step-11: Click on ‘Choose a tag type’:

Click on choose a tag type

Step-12: Click on the tag named ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration‘:

Google Analytics GA4 Configuration

Step-13: Enter your measurement ID in the ‘Measurement ID’ text box:

Enter your measurement ID

Step-14: Click on the ‘Choose a trigger’ button:

Choose a trigger

Step-15: Click on the ‘All Pages’ trigger:

All Pages trigger

Step-16: Click on the ‘Save’ button to save your new tag:

save tag gtm 1

Step-17: Click on the ‘Preview’ button:

preview container gtm

Step-18: Enter the URL to your website and then click on the ‘Start’ button to begin previewing your container:

start tag assistant

You should now be automatically redirected to your website. 

Step-19: Navigate back to the GTM preview window and then click on the ‘Continue’ button:

connected

If you see your tag ‘GA4- Test Property’ listed under the ‘Tags Fired’ section then it means your GA4 test property tag is firing on your website:

tags fired

Step-20: Click on the cross button at the top left-hand side of your screen:

cross button gtm preview mode

Step-21: Click on the button ‘Stop Debugging’:

Stop Debugging gtm

Step-22: Click on the three dots menu:

Click on the three dots menu

Step-23: Click on the ‘Delete’ option from the drop-down menu:

delete button

Step-24: Navigate back to your GTM account and then click on the ‘Submit’ button:

submit button gtm

Step-25: Give your version a descriptive name and then click on the ‘Publish’ button:

publish container gtm

Step-26: Navigate to your website and then browse a couple of web pages.

Step-27: Navigate to the ‘Real Time’ report of your GA4 test property:

Realtime 1

Step-28: Scroll down to the section ‘Event count by event name‘:

Event Count by Event Name ga4

You should now be able to see some ‘page_view’ data in the report. 

This proves that the data is flowing in your GA4 Test property.

Note: If you don’t immediately see any data then wait for full 24 hrs and then try again. 

Step-29: Copy all the configuration settings that you are using in your live GA4 property to your test GA4 property. 

So if you have enabled Google signals for the live GA4 property then enable Google Signals for your test GA4 property.

If you are sending ecommerce data to your live GA4 property then also send ecommerce data to your test GA4 property. 

Make your test GA4 property a carbon copy of your live GA4 property in terms of set up.

Step-30: Going forward use your test GA4 property for testing any new configuration setting before you use it in your live GA4 property.

Frequently Asked Questions about Using the GA4 test property

What is a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) test property?

A Google Analytics 4 property comes with only one reporting view. So whenever you change one of the settings of your GA4 property, you permanently change the way the data is collected, processed, and reported in your reporting view.
Let us suppose you applied a new data filter to your GA4 property to exclude internal traffic from GA4 reports. Now if this data filter is not set up correctly, you will have to make changes to it.
But while you are making changes to your data filter, you are also unknowingly skewing your analytics data in the background. So, you need to create a separate GA4 property just for testing purposes. We can call this property a GA4 test property

What are the differences between Google Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

The main difference between Universal Analytics and GA4 is the measurement model. Universal Analytics uses a measurement model based on pageviews and sessions including different events. In the case of GA4, it uses a measurement model which is based on events and parameters. So, any interaction in GA4 will be considered as an event even though it’s a pageview.

You can read about the difference in more detail here: Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?

What are the advantages of using the GA4 property over Universal Analytics properties?

Following are the key advantages of using the GA4 property:
1. GA4 property provides more robust cross-device and cross-platform tracking.
2. GA4 provides much more accurate reporting on unique users across platforms.
3. GA4 provides advanced analysis reports (which were earlier available only to GA 360 users).
4. GA4 provides a free connection to the Big Query.
5. There are no limits on the volume of data you can send to a GA4 property.
6. GA4 allows automatic tracking for certain types of events (like scroll tracking, video tracking, exit tracking, site search tracking, etc).
To learn more about the GA4 advantages, check out the article: Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Other articles related to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#1 GA4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?
  5. Google Signals GA4 – See demographics (gender, age) in Google Analytics 4
  6. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  7. Google Analytics 4 training and tutorial
  8. Using the GA4 test property

#2 GA4 Integration

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery

#3 GA4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. How to set up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  4. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  6. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#4 GA4 Conversions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Tracking Guide
  2. How to import conversions from GA4 property to your Google Ads account

#5 GA4 Dimensions and Metrics

  1. GA4 Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. GA4 Dimensions Tutorial
  4. GA4 Custom Dimensions Tutorial

#6 GA4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#7 GA4 Specialized Tracking

  1. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  2. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 Data Import Tutorial

#8 GA4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to create and test filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude internal traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP filter

#9 GA4 Analysis Hub

  1. Analysis Hub Google Analytics – Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to use the user lifetime report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to use path analysis report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to use the Funnel Analysis Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#10 GA4 Advanced

  1. How to use Debug View report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. Understanding GA4 measurement protocol
  3. How to create a remarketing audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. GA4 Audiences – Creating custom audience in Google Analytics 4
  5. How to build comparison (Advanced segment) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#11 GA4 Reporting

  1. How to create custom insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

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