Feb 14, 2023

Google Analytics 4: Why Your Team Should Start Migrating Today

The deadline for digital marketers to migrate to Google Analytics 4 (or GA4) is fast approaching. If you and your team haven’t already made the jump, you only have a few months left to migrate your web and mobile properties to GA4.This looming deadline means healthcare marketers need to act fast if they want to leave enough time for a phased, strategic migration. As anyone in digital marketing knows, learning how to use new or updated measurement tools – and training entire teams to do the same – is challenging and sometimes even costly.Worsening this challenge, the previous version, GA3, more commonly known as Universal Analytics, has been around since late 2012. But while GA experts have become very used to this well-established platform, they have a lot to gain with the migration to GA4.

What Happens If You Don’t Migrate to GA 4?

As of July 1, 2023, all web and digital properties that remain on Universal Analytics will be unable to process new hits or collect data on user behavior.Today’s healthcare marketers rely heavily on platforms like Google Analytics to gain insight into their target audiences. From dynamic and responsive search ads to display and video, the Google ecosystem is responsible for a significant portion of the tactics and channels marketers rely on to reach patient and provider audiences.The Google Analytics platform allows marketing teams and agencies to understand who’s interacting with different ads and what those users’ subsequent actions are.Not being able to gather data on these types of ads means brands still using Universal Analytics won’t be able to track the investment (ROI) of their campaigns. And more importantly, they’ll have little direction for how to improve campaign performance – and avoid wasted advertising spending – whether that means refining audience targeting; tweaking ad creative, messaging or copy; or trying different channels.Enterprise users of Universal Analytics 360 have a bit more time to migrate, but before they make the decision to delay, healthcare marketing teams need to consider the data and insights that they’re missing out on by waiting until the last minute.

Benefits of Starting Your Migration to GA 4 Now

What’s new in the latest version of Google Analytics? Well, actually quite a lot.Google Analytics 4 offers users:

  • More ways to control data privacy and security,

  • A completely new approach to measuring and tracking user traffic.

  • Better integration to track users across devices and channels.

  • A single reporting view (rather than the 25 possible in GA3) that can have endless “audiences” or “data streams” to filter results.

Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 measures user behavior based on “events,” which represent each instance a user interacts with your site or app, rather than measuring activity through sessions or pageviews.In its move away from Universal Analytics, Google has been especially focused on improving its ability to deliver cross-device tracking. Understanding how users encounter and engage with a brand across their various devices provides valuable insight for healthcare organizations. As mobile device usage has skyrocketed, more patients and healthcare providers have integrated mobile web and app usage into their daily routines.

How Your Organization Can Get Ready to Migrate

At OpenHuddle, we always recommend that healthcare brands err on the side of more data and more time with that data – because insights plus opportunity equals growth. Users who don’t migrate to GA4 will have a new property automatically created by Google’s SetUp Assistant in the coming months. But that automated property likely won’t have the customizations you need to be successful.Here are four ways you can start preparing your digital properties for a smooth migration to GA4:

  1. Create a GA4 property (separate from your existing Universal Analytics property), launch it, and start gathering data. Remember to add a tracking tag to your site or app for this property to start processing new hits.

  2. Take time to manually set up tagging for events to ensure that all needed data is being sent to both your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties. You’ll also need to confirm that all needed events are added to the new property, which can include events like impressions, user log-ins, searches, shares, or content selections.

  3. Record the events you regularly track in your old web properties, especially those you’ve designated as conversions. Add these events to the new property and experiment with the complex triggers and attribution models you can implement in GA4.

  4. Compare data between your Universal Analytics and GA4 properties to ensure you’ve set up metrics and events correctly in the new property ahead of the migration deadline.

For support in your transition away from Universal Analytics, contact us and learn how the team at OpenHuddle can help you migrate successfully and take advantage of everything GA4 has to offer.

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