My relationship with GA4 is very much like a rollercoaster ride.
After the initial sense of dread (nobody likes change!), I have found myself largely enjoying the ride albeit with some definite lows that have taken the edge of the highs.
Actually, if I am really honest, I have to admit that there have been more lows than highs.
That is not just a result of the forced (steep) learning curve, but a reflection of the fact that some really very basic features that we have been so used to with Universal Analytics were not available in the new platform. It simply hasn’t felt ready for prime time in many areas.
Not only has that been incredibly frustrating, it hasn’t helped appease a general lack of trust in some of the data. It has also made it much harder to defend the migration to GA4, which is a challenge that I have found myself embracing over the past 18mths.
Whilst I think that not having ‘last month’ as a default option in the incredibly painful date selector, one of my biggest gripes has always been the lack of scheduled emails. There simply has not been a way to send emails from GA4.
This is a really good example of the frustration that GA4 has caused as many users will have enjoyed a regular snapshot report that arrives in their inbox straight from the horse’s mouth. Not having this available in GA4 at launch, nor even after the shut down of Universal Analytics felt like a very unwelcome step in the wrong direction.
I am not entirely sure when it was released as I haven’t seen any fanfare, but look what I noticed in GA4 last week:
I am pleased to say that it is not a mirage. You can indeed now schedule an email to send a GA4 report. You have the option to choose a daily / weekly / monthly / quarterly report and can attach a PDF or a CSV, so you should be able to get the data that you want straight into your inbox.
Typically, it is not a bed of roses and I cannot see any way to schedule an exploration report, which does limit the usefulness somewhat, but I am hoping that this is a stepping stone and we will shortly see email scheduling (and a much improved sharing process?) to the Explore Reports section.
You should also be aware of the painful delay in data appearing in GA4 and I would sound caution about relying on data that is less than 48hrs old. That does somewhat diminish the value in a daily report, but a daily summary can still be a useful barometer as long as you appreciate that any ‘young’ data is very likely to be under-representing the actual figures.
All in all, some good news and a definite high(er) point in the GA4 rollercoaster ride.