Wouldn’t it be nice to test Google Analytics 4 without the risk of permanently damaging or losing your data?
Thanks to the Google Analytics 4 demo account, you can do just that.
The GA4 demo account has two properties: web-based only and both mobile- and website-based.
Let’s talk about both, how to get the most out of them, and their limitations.
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1. Add GA4 Demo Properties To Your Account
2. Benefits of Google Analytics 4 Demo Account
3. Can’t Find the GA4 Demo Account
4. Google Analytics Demo Account Limitations
Add GA4 Demo Properties To Your Account
How do I access my Google Analytics demo account?
To add the Google Analytics 4 demo accounts to your GA account, first make sure you’re signed in to the Google account with which you’ll want to access them. If you’re not sure to which account you’re signed in (or if you’re signed in at all), simply go to Gmail or YouTube and see which account comes up.
Once you’re sure you’re signed in to the right account, all you have to do is click the following links:
Google Merchandise Store (Web data only)
If you’re not sure which one to add, I recommend both. Since there are differences between the two, there may be some actions you can only do in one of the two accounts.
To be clear, you do not need to create a demo account in Google Analytics 4. It already exists for you to access and experiment.
In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s also a Universal Analytics demo account (with web data only). But since it will be obsolete by the second half of 2023, we’re not going to talk about it here.
Benefits of Google Analytics 4 Demo Account
Here’s why I like having the Google Merchandise Store analytics demo account, along with the Flood-it! account demo account:
- You can analyze real data without making any changes to your website or app
- Take the real-time dashboard for a test drive
Many people have asked me whether GA4 is adequate for real-time analysis. This is especially important for newsrooms and other content platforms that are used to tools like Chartbeat and Parsely.
While the data Google’s demo provides may have nothing to do with your platform, you’ll get a good idea of the data available in the 30-minute report.
- Experiment with comparisons
Comparisons in GA4 are the equivalent of segments in Universal Analytics. This is an effective way to compare multiple audience segments in the same dashboard. Especially if you have audiences set up on your account.
- Create Explorations
Newer users will probably find the Explore section of Google Analytics 4 the most intimidating. What I like about this in the demo account is that not only can you create your own reports, but other users have made theirs public, too.
That means you can take a look at, and experiment with, reports they have already set up. From what I can tell, this is only available in the Merchandise Store and not Flood-It!
Can’t Find the GA4 Demo Account
Are you having problems accessing the GA4 Demo Account? You’re not alone.
Sometime in the spring of 2022, they disappeared from many users’ dropdown menus in their GA4 accounts. They’re probably still there, though, so long as you added them to your account at some point.
Assuming you already followed the instructions at the beginning of this post to add the demo properties, here’s how to find them:
1. At the top of your GA4 dashboard, click the part where it says All accounts > [Account Name]
2. In the dropdown menu, type “demo” into the search bar.
3. Click on the Demo account you want to access – Flood-It! or Google Merchandise Store.
It’s that simple. You’re now ready to continue using the GA4 demo accounts.
Also see: Google Analytics 4 Events, Tracking, Creation
Google Analytics 4 Demo Account Limitations
For all the benefits of the GA4 demo account, it does have its drawbacks.
Since it’s accessible to anyone who has Google Analytics – that is, millions of people – it’s not 100 percent customizable.
- You can’t create or edit events or parameters
While you can analyze existing events, and learn how some of them were created, you can’t change them.
Since events are the foundation of GA4, it’s important you understand them. You’ll have to use your own dashboard for this.
- You can’t create audiences
This is something else you’ll have to learn with your own dashboard.
You can access the existing audiences, but not much more.
- You can’t edit the Reports dashboard
It makes sense that we can’t add or edit events, audiences or reports. Between the property quota limits the fact that data is shared, it’s for the best. Otherwise it would be a custom-dashboard free-for-all.
Whatever data is available would be a moving target, at the mercy of the latest user’s edits.
- You can’t use DebugView
Yes, you can access the DebugView page. But you can’t actually test Google Tag Manager tags and triggers. For that, you would need access to the Demo Account’s GTM container, which you can’t.
Granting millions of users access to the same container would create a similar nightmare to that of shared events and audiences.
As with any tool, the best way to learn Google Analytics 4 is to experiment with it on a regular basis.
Use the demo account to build confidence, then make permanent changes to your own dashboard.
Also see: How to Lower My Bounce Rate in GA4