Google Analytics is one of the most popular and powerful tools for measuring and optimizing your website performance and marketing campaigns. Google has recently introduced a new version called Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which will eventually replace the current version, Universal Analytics (UA) or GA3.
GA4 is not just an update, but a completely new way of collecting and analyzing data across your website and apps. It offers many benefits and features that can help you better understand your patients, their behavior, and how you can present your services to them in the best possible way.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the next generation of Google Analytics. It was launched in October 2020 as a response to the changing privacy regulations and user expectations in the digital world.
GA4 uses a different data model and measurement approach than GA3. Instead of relying on sessions and pageviews, GA4 focuses on events and parameters. Events are any interactions that patients have with your website or app, such as page views, clicks, scrolls, booking appointments, etc. Parameters are additional details that describe each event, such as category, label, and value.
GA4 also uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps in your data and provide insights and predictions that were not possible before. For example, GA4 can automatically track certain events without any additional coding, such as outbound clicks and video engagement. It can also estimate the number of patients and conversions that you may lose due to ad blockers or cookie consent. Moreover, it can predict future behavior and outcomes of your patients, such as churn rate, probability of them booking a consultation, and revenue potential.
How does GA4 Differ from GA3?
GA4 is not a simple upgrade from GA3. It is a completely different platform that requires a new setup and configuration. Here are some of the key differences between GA4 and GA3:
Data Collection: GA4 uses a single tag or code snippet to collect data from both your website and app, while GA3 uses separate tags for web and app analytics. This means that you can measure and compare a prospective patient’s behavior across different platforms and devices more easily with GA4.
Data Structure: GA4 uses a flat data structure based on events and parameters, while GA3 uses a hierarchical data structure based on hits (pageviews, events, transactions), sessions, and users. This allows you to customize and analyze your data more flexibly with GA4.
Data Processing: GA4 processes data in real-time and applies filters and settings at the reporting level, while GA3 processes data in batches and applies filters and settings at the collection level. This means you can access and modify your data more quickly and accurately with GA4.
Data Analysis: GA4 provides more advanced analysis tools and reports than GA3, such as the Analysis Hub, the Debug View, the BigQuery Export, and the Data Studio Integration. These tools allow you to perform deeper and more complex analysis of your data with GA4.
Data Privacy: GA4 offers more privacy controls and options than GA3, such as the Consent Mode, the IP Anonymization, the Data Deletion Requests, etc. These options help you comply with the latest privacy regulations and respect patient preferences with GA4.
Why Should You Transition to GA4 for Your Healthcare Practice Website?
As a healthcare practitioner, you may wonder why you should bother switching to GA4 when you already have a working analytics system with GA3. Here are some of the good reasons why you make the transition sooner rather than later:
Stay Ahead of the Curve: Google has made it clear that GA4 is the future of analytics and that it will eventually phase out GA3. By transitioning to GA4 now, you can get familiar with the new platform and take advantage of its features before your competitors do.
Gain More Insights: GA4 offers more insights and capabilities than GA3 that can help you understand your patients better and optimize your website performance and marketing campaigns. For example, you can track user journeys across devices and platforms, measure patient engagement and retention, segment patients based on their behavior and attributes, predict patient actions and outcomes, etc.
Save Time and Effort: GA4 simplifies the data collection and analysis process by using a single tag for web and app analytics, automatically tracking certain events without coding, providing ready-made reports and templates, integrating with other Google products seamlessly, etc. This can save you time to see more patients that you would otherwise spend on customizing and maintaining your analytics system.
Protect Patient Privacy: GA4 helps you comply with the latest privacy regulations and patient expectations by offering more privacy controls and options. For example, you can use the Consent Mode to adjust how GA4 collects and processes data based on Patient consent, use the IP Anonymization to mask a patient’s IP addresses, and use the Data Deletion Requests to delete data upon request.
Transitioning to GA4 for your healthcare practice website is not a one-time switch, but a gradual process that requires careful planning and execution. It involves creation of a new GA4 property, installing the GA4 tag or code snippet, and properly configuring your GA4 property according to your needs and goals. You can use the Setup Assistant tool in your GA4 admin panel to do this.
If you need any help or guidance with setting up and using GA4 for your healthcare practice website, please contact Your Practice Online today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) 388-8569. Our dedicated team of experts in web analytics and digital marketing for healthcare practices can help you make the most of GA4 and grow your online presence.