Using the GA4 Test Property – Testing Google Analytics 4

Last Updated: September 12, 2022

What is a GA4 test property?

A GA4 test property is like a typical GA4 property, but it is used only for testing purposes.

Why do you need a GA4 test property?

A Google Analytics 4 property comes with only one reporting view (unless you are using GA4 Subproperty feature of GA4 360).

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:

  1. Changing the reporting timezone or currency of your GA4 property
  2. Adding, Editing or removing a data stream.
  3. Enabling/disabling the enhanced measurement events 
  4. Changing the settings of the enhanced measurement events
  5. Managing connected site tags
  6. Creating an API secret to enable additional events to be sent through Measurement Protocol
  7.  Modifying incoming events and parameters
  8. Creating new events from existing events (custom events)
  9. Configuring your domain for cross-domain measurement
  10. Excluding internal traffic from being tracked
  11. Adding or removing domains whose traffic should NOT be considered to be referrals (unwanted referrals)
  12. Adjusting session timeout
  13. Adjusting timer for engaged sessions
  14. Enabling/disabling the collection of universal analytics events
  15. Enabling/disabling Google Signals Data Collection
  16. Changing user and event data retention settings 
  17. Enabling/disabling ‘Reset user data on new activity’
  18. Adding, removing or editing data filters
  19. Uploading data from external data sources
  20. Changing reporting identity
  21. Changing attribution settings (like reporting attribution model and lookback window)
  22. Deleting data from the GA4 property through data deletion requests
  23. Linking GA4 property with other Google products (like Google Ads, BigQuery, Google Search Console)
  24. Marking/un-marking an event as a conversion
  25. Creating new events
  26. Creating a new conversion event
  27. Changing the network settings of a conversion event
  28. Creating new audiences
  29. Creating, editing or archiving custom dimensions
  30. Creating, editing or archiving custom metrics

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. 

How to create 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

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

create property 1

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

property name

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

Step-5: Select your industry category and business size:

business information

Step-6: Specify how you intend to use Google Analytics with your business. 

Check all the boxes that are applicable to you and then click on the ‘create‘ button:

create

Step-7: Click on the ‘Web’ data stream:

web

Step-8: Enter your website URL and webstream name and then click on the ‘Create Stream’ button:

create stream

Step-9: 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

Step-10: Navigate to your GTM account and then click on the ‘New Tag’ link:

new tag

Step-11: Name your new tag ‘GA4- Test Property’:

property rename

Step-12: Set the tag type to ‘Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration’:

tag type

Step-13: Enter the measurement ID you recorded earlier in the ‘Measurement ID’ text box:

measurement id

Step-14: Set your trigger to fire on all pages and then click on the ‘Save’ button:

all pages

Step-15: Click on the ‘Preview’ button at the top right-hand side:

preview

The Tag Manager preview mode window would open in a new browser tab. If it doesn’t then it means your browser is blocking the window.

Step-16: Enter your website URL and then click on the ‘Connect’ button:

connect

Once you clicked on the ‘Connect’ button, one new tab will open up in your browser window which shows your website.

Step-17: Switch back to the browser tab which shows your Tag Manager preview mode window and then click on the ‘Continue’ button:

connected continue

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

Step-18: Click on the cross button at the top left-hand side of your screen:

close

Step-19: Click on the button ‘Stop Debugging’:

stop debugging

Step-20: Click on the three dots menu:

domain edit

Step-21: Click on the ‘Delete’ option from the drop-down menu:

delete 1

Step-22: Navigate back to your GTM account and then click on the ‘Submit’ button:

submit

Step-23: Give your version a descriptive name and then click on the ‘Publish’ button:

version name 1

Step-24: Navigate to your website and then browse a couple of web pages.

Step-25: Wait for at least 30 minutes

Step-26: Navigate to the ‘Real Time’ report of your GA4 test property:

You should now be able to see some data in your report:

real time

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

Note: If you do not see any data then wait for full 24 hrs and then try again. 

Step-27: 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 e-commerce data to your test GA4 property. 

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

Step-28: Going forward use your test GA4 property for testing any new configuration setting before you use it in your live GA4 property.

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  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 & tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook
  8. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  9. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  10. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  11. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial
  12. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More

#2 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property
  6. BigQuery GA4 schema – Send custom GA4 data to BigQuery

#3 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced measurement events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically collected events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to set up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to rename events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder

#4 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to import conversions from GA4 property to your Google Ads account
  3. GA4 Conversion Rate – How to find it and use it

#5 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#6 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are predictive metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#7 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

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

#8 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to track single page apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters – GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#9 Google Analytics 4 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

#10 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to use the user lifetime report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to use Path exploration report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path analysis
  4. How to use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to segment GA4 data by data stream
  10. Organic Search Traffic Analysis in GA4 – Complete Guide

#11 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to build comparisons (advanced segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#12 Google Analytics 4 Reporting

  1. How to create custom insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to use Debug View report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model comparison report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#14 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating custom audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to create a remarketing audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. How to connect and export data from GA4 to BigQuery
  3. events_ & events_intraday_ tables in BigQuery for GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

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)

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the Difference?
  5. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More
  6. Google Analytics 4 Training & Tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook

#2 Google Analytics 4 Property

  1. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  2. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  3. Google Signals GA4 – See Demographics (Gender, Age) in Google Analytics 4
  4. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  5. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  6. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial

#3 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#4 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced Measurement Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically Collected Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to Set Up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to Rename Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to Use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder

#5 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to Import Conversions from GA4 Property to Your Google Ads account

#6 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#7 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are Predictive Metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#8 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

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

#9 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to Track Single Page Apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#10 Google Analytics 4 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

#11 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to Use the User Lifetime Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to Use Path Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path Analysis
  4. How to Use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to Use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  8. How to Create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to Segment GA4 Data by Data Stream

#12 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to Build Comparisons (Advanced Segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Reports

  1. How to Create Custom Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to Use Debug View Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#14 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model Comparison Report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating Custom Audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create a Remarketing Audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#16 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. BigQuery GA4 Schema – Send Custom GA4 Data to BigQuery
  3. How to Backfill GA4 Data in BigQuery
  4. How to Connect and Export Data from GA

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