Using a Google Analytics demo account can come in handy for many reasons – from testing how to implement a new feature, to showing someone how to use a report. But before I give you my 5 top reasons let’s look at a few ways to create a demo account:
- Create a new blank account: This will allow you to navigate reports, but since you won’t be implementing the tracking code on a website all of the reports will be blank. The best way to use this type of demo account is to show people how to configure Google Analytics, for example how to create and apply a filter to a reporting view.
- Create a duplicate reporting view: This is where you create a new set of reports based on an existing tracking code that is already installed on a website. To create this type of demo account, navigate to ‘Admin’ and under the ‘View’ column click on the drop-down and select ‘Create new view’. This will create a new reporting view based for that particular property. This new view will begin to collect data once you’ve created it and because it is a separate view you can modify the configuration without worrying about affecting your primary reporting view.
- Use Google’s demo account: This account includes data within the reports which makes it perfect for showing people how to use the reports. To use Google’s demo account, log into your Google account and then navigate to https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/demoAccount this will add the demo account to your list of accounts you can access within Google Analytics. Learn more about setting up Google’s demo account.
Now that we’ve looked at some ways to create a demo account, here are my top 5 reasons for using them:
- Sharing techniques for using reports and interpreting data: It’s so important to empower people to use Google Analytics, to actually understand what they’re looking at. Opening up a demo account and walking through the interface (and getting people to follow along) can be a really powerful way to learn Google Analytics.
- Playing with a new feature you want to implement: There are new Google Analytics features released on a regular basis and I find it really helpful to play with new features before setting them up in a primary reporting view. Using a single HTML page you can implement a feature, send data into a demo account and make sure you get the data that you’re expecting.
- Testing ideas for new dashboards and reports: Sometimes you might not have all the data you need within your primary reporting view (this is especially the case if you are an agency working with a new client). Using a demo account allows you to construct a dashboard or custom report quickly. If you’re playing with the new Google Data Studio you can also access demo Google Analytics and AdWords data to test out your reports.
- Troubleshooting problems with data: Sometimes weird things pop up in Google Analytics and the data within your reports just doesn’t look quite right. Using a demo account you can simplify the setup and narrow down the problem to understand what is (and isn’t) happening.
- Testing a custom configuration: There are different ways to modify the data that comes into your reports. It’s a great idea to test these before applying them to your primary view. Custom configurations to test include: filters, goals, channel groupings and calculated metrics.