We discussed the reasons why Google made the switch to Google Analytics 4 in a previous blog post. Now we are going to show you how to create your own Google Analytics 4 property! As a note, I will refer to Google Analytics 4 as GA4 throughout this blog.
How to Create a Google Analytics 4 Property
Let’s begin by logging into your Google Analytics account and selecting Create Property. In the future, every new property you create will default to GA4. If you wish to create a Universal Analytics account, you can. You will need to click the Advanced Settings and select Universal Analytics.
After you click on the button to create a GA4 property, you will customize your property details. These are details such as the name of the property, the timezone you are in, and the currency you use for your business.
After you click Next from the previous screen, you will see an additional screen where you will enter details about your business. Select your industry category and your business size. Then you will check off the different ways you intend to use Google Analytics.
Setting Up a Datastream
Google defines a stream as a source of data for your GA4 property. Google allows you to set up an iOS app, Android app, and Web data stream. For this blog, I am going to show you how to set up a data stream using web. Click on Web, and you will see a screen where you set up your webstream.
Insert your website’s URL without the https://. Read the paragraph about ‘enhanced measurement.’ It tells you about the different measurement interactions that will be categorized as events in your web data streams. Clicking on the +3, you will see all of how an event will be triggered. If you click on the cog icon, you will be able to turn these measurements on and off. Notice that you cannot deselect page views. This measurement will always be on.
This is where you will find the details on your webstream, additional settings, and the status of your stream. Your new stream will say no data received in the past 48 hours. This is because there isn’t any data being recorded because you have not finished setting up tags for your property.
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Tags are bits of code that get embedded into your website to collect data. Essentially, it is Google’s little door to your data. This step is where you decide what that door is going to be. You have two choices; either add a new on-page tag or use an existing tag that is already on your website.
Adding a Tag
If you do not already have an analytics account, you will need to add a new on-page tag. I will not go into details on how to do that in this post. However, I will not leave you hanging. Check out this blog  by Monster Insights that details the steps to add a Google tag to your website.
Using an Existing Tag
Select Use the existing on-page tag. You will see two items to choose from, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. You can use either of these products to control your on-page tag. Each drop-down item has directions on how to link that tag. After you follow these steps and connect your tag, you will be able to see this connection in your Additional Settings. This will tell you the IDs of each tag connected to your site. I opened up both my Universal Account and new GA4 account in two windows and had them side-by-side. This helped me see everything and copy and paste IDs without getting them confused. You do not have to do it this way, but it was helpful for me.
GA4 allows you to connect to your existing analytics account. What does this mean? It means that these two accounts link and communicate data. Google suggests running these two accounts side by side and comparing your results to ensure you see the correct results. You will need two IDs: your GA4 Property ID and your Universal Analytics ID to link your accounts. Do not panic if you do not know what these are, it is easy to grab these IDs in your property settings. You will then link your two accounts. Google will quickly let you know if the tag is invalid or if your property is already linked to that tag.
Going through Setup Assistant’s Settings
Now that you have data flowing to your property, you can check out your additional settings. Google organizes this nicely in the GA4 property settings, calling it Setup Assistant. Using this tool allows you to make the most out of your GA4 property.
The first settings you will see are the Tag Installation Settings. If you click on this, you will see the data stream that you set up for your property, followed by Custom Event Measurement, User ID, and Enhanced Measurement.
After 24 hours, you will start seeing your data populating! If it has been 48 hours and you still do not see your data, don’t panic. There is probably an issue with your tag setup. Even something as simple as the tag not being in the header can cause data misconfigurations. If you suspect that your account is not collecting the correct data, compare it to your Universal Analytics account. This is why Google encourages users to use and operate both side by side.
How to test
Conduct a real-time report to see if you can see yourself on your website. Open up your website in a new browser, and then click real-time report on the left menu under Home. This report takes a snapshot of your current website traffic and shows you how many users are on your website. You will see a map in the background of the dashboard. Find where you are in the world, if you see a pulsating blue circle in your current location, yay! Your account is working. If not, check that your settings allow your internal traffic to be tracked and try again. If you still do not see yourself, you have an issue with your configuration and need to examine your data streams.
You may notice that your home screen looks a lot different from your Universal Analytics account. The first thing you might notice is that your data is broken down into report cards. These report cards help you answer questions about your data, like, what your top campaigns are, and how well you retain your users. These help you get a snapshot of your data, while still allowing you to dig deeper into reports by opening up them.
Having both a Google Analytics Four property and a Universal Analytics property is recommended by Google. GA4 only begins tracking data once you have set up the property. While GA4 gives you access to data you haven’t had before, it doesn’t provide a lot of insight into historical data. This is why Google Support suggests having both a GA4 account and a Universal Analytics account running side by side .
Now that you have at least two properties, it will be important to be able to toggle between the two. I named our Google Analytics 4 property Eri Design GA4, so I can tell the difference when I log in every day.
With that being said. Google has alluded to the ultimate end of Universal Analytics. Experts agree that this will not happen until the end of 2021. Stay tuned for more blog posts dedicated to Google Analytics 4!