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Time is ticking, are you ready for Google Analytics 4?

Digital analysis is an essential ingredient in the recipe for most PR and marketing campaigns. Since it first launched back in 2005, Google Analytics has become a mainstay for brands looking to track campaign performance.

It has completely transformed the way businesses understand their customers’ behaviour, from their first visit to a website through to a sign-up or purchase.

However, change is coming, and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is set to replace the current version – Universal Analytics – on 1st July 2023. After that date, Universal Analytics will no longer collect your data.

July may seem a long way off, but now is the time to do the groundwork for the move to GA4. If you’re not prepared, you could find yourself on the back foot, analysing your website without any historical data.

Why is Google Analytics changing?

When Universal Analytics was first developed, there wasn’t anything like the complexity of today’s multi-channel, multi-device, multi-platform and customer engagement. That’s why GA4 is not simply an update, it is a complete rebuild which should take digital analysis into a new dimension.

The navigation will take some getting used to, but with separate tools for data collection, reporting and analysis, GA4 should give you a better view of your existing and prospective customers’ behaviour. With the new interface, you can more effectively track where your users come from, how they interact on your site and where they exit.

Google has also implemented machine learning technology into GA4 to allow for predictive customer insights, and many businesses will welcome the improved integration with Google Ads.

Better insight into conversions

One of the changes we’re most excited about is the advancement in conversion tracking.

While Universal Analytics focuses on page views and sessions, GA4 is more of an events-based platform. That means it gives you more information about the actions people take on your site, such as starting a sale, downloading a white paper or clicking on ‘contact us’ – and the paths they took to get them to this point.

This is incredibly useful in understanding what drives people to convert and will help you see which of your marketing approaches are most successful within each of your customer types.

So when you have set up your GA4 property, it’s a good idea to look at creating some of these events straight away so you can start measuring the key actions you want people to take. With GA4, there are clear parameters that allow you to define events very specifically. This enables you to look in detail at the actions taking place on your site.

The earlier you do this, the better as you’ll see what is driving customer activity over time and can adjust your marketing and PR to bring more people to your site and keep them engaged.

If you know the customers buying your product are coming from Google Ads or the people signing up to your webinar are coming from Facebook, this knowledge will help you improve your conversion rate.

It’s time to create a GA4 property

The first step is to create a GA4 property in your Google Analytics account if you haven’t already done so, and we’ll show you how to do it later in the blog. This will enable GA4 to start recording your information from the moment you set up the property.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite ready to make the full transition to GA4. Your current Universal Analytics tracking will run alongside GA4 until July, so you can continue your day-to-day reporting for now, giving you time to think about your tracking and analysis needs in the months ahead.

The benefit is that when you do make the move to GA4, you will already have collected some valuable comparison data.

How to set up a GA4 property

You can set up a GA4 property in a few simple steps.

  1. Go to your Google Analytics account and click on admin and setup assistant.

Google Analytics 4 set up

 

 

2. Click on properties and create the new GA4 property. Give it a name.

Google Analytics 4 property

 

3. Add the new GA4 tracking tag to your site. This is easy to do if you use Google Tag Manager. Alternatively, you will need to put code onto your site so that information will be pulled into the new GA4 property.

 

4. Set up new tracking items as the ones you used in Universal Analytics will not migrate across. This could include events, goals (conversions) and audiences.

 

5. Make sure the new events you set up reflect the actions you want your customers and prospects to take and the goals you want to achieve.

 

6. Take the opportunity to create more sophisticated audiences based on the improved information you will have from GA4 about attribution. This will help you target customers more effectively and you can also use this information to get more from other platforms such as Google Ads.

 

7. Check that your new GA4 account integrates with the other platforms you use, as integration will not take place automatically.

Make GA4 work for your business

Once everything is in place, you will want to be sure that GA4 is collecting data in the most useful way for your business. Check the events you’ve set up are tracking properly and the tags are firing correctly so you are getting exactly the information you need for your PR and marketing strategies.

It’s also worth remembering that although Universal Analytics will no longer collect your data after next July, you will still be able to download the previously processed data it holds for some time afterwards.

But think carefully about what you decide to download, and just focus on the key data you need for your business decisions.

While it may seem like an added headache you don’t need, setting up GA4 now will ensure a smoother transition in the months to come.

It also provides a great opportunity to review your data goals long before the July deadline comes along.

If you would like to read more about digital marketing analysis, read our blogs on keyword research and targeting teachers on Facebook.

 

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

How to generate leads for my education product

A steady stream of leads is key to increasing sales of your education product.  And one of the best ways to generate leads is by using your own PR and marketing content.

When teachers and school leaders search online for information, solutions or answers to questions, you want your content to pop up in front of them. You want your content to solve a problem, so they can get to know more about your business, understand you’re an expert and be open to buying from you.

Content can take many forms including research, a report, an infographic or a podcast.

But what are the specific steps to using content to generate more leads from the education sector?

Let’s look at the process and how you can ensure the leads you’re getting are of the very best quality.

Research, research, research

Kick off by researching key areas – start wide and home in as you go.

When it comes to understanding what your target audience are searching for online, Google is a great place to begin.

For example, you can find out what headteachers are searching for in relation to your education product or service by using Google Trends and a range of other keyword research tools.

We’ve written a full blog on how to do this here.

Other research ideas 

Once you’ve carried out keyword research, there are other ways to find out more about your target audience and what they’re looking for:

  • Research the media that teachers read. Whether that’s Teach Primary, Times Higher Education or Independent Schools Magazine, you’ll get a view on what interests the very people you want to attract.
  • Hang out with them online. You may follow headteachers on LinkedIn or hop onto a UKEdChat. During these weekly Twitter discussions about education, you’ll find out about the issues education professionals are facing at the moment and can also ask questions and become a part of the discussion.
  • Interview schools you with to get as full a picture as possible about your target audience. Find out how they like to receive content. Is it via email or do they prefer to listen to podcasts?

Then use all of this information to understand what they need more of or less of. What bothers them or excites them. And most importantly, how your education product can help.

Look at pre-existing content

Once you’ve found the area you’d like to focus on, you can delve deeper to find out more.

This includes:

  • Looking through any pre-existing content you have access to already, like case studies or previous reports.
  • Taking advantage of research that already exists in the public domain, for example Teacher Tapp regularly surveys their database of 8,000 teachers about what’s going on in schools and publishes the results.
  • Interviewing experts in your organisation or externally to ensure you have interesting, relevant and useful information to share with potential customers.

Generating content through leads – an example

Background 

Let’s take the example of an organisation that helps students get into the top universities around the world. We worked with them to generate leads among affluent parents in London. Our research showed that these parents were comfortable supporting their children when they were applying for Oxford and Cambridge. Yet they found it more difficult to help with the application process for the Ivy League universities in the USA as the system is so different.

We decided to develop a Beyond Oxbridge guide for parents, explaining the main differences between the UK and US university system.

Expertise 

Within the business itself, there were a series of experts we were able to interview in order to develop the content, including course work and exam tutors, university admissions professors and previous students.

They gave us all sorts of useful information, such as how the application process works, what life is like on campus and how to get an athletics scholarship. They explained how undergraduate courses in the US allow for a wider range of subjects to be studied and how to finance a degree in the States.

Research 

We carried out our own research as well, using the QS World University rankings for top institutions according to subject. We were also able to tap into existing research, such as information on employment opportunities and average graduate salaries according to university attended.

This process made sure we had all of the relevant information to prepare the best content possible for potential customers.

Create the right content

The next step is to start creating your content. Choose the medium you think will work best for your audience. If you’re not sure, then try out one and test the results.

Your content can be in written form, such as a report teachers can download, a series of top tips emails you plan to send out, or a blog post for your website. It can also be multimedia content, like a video or podcast interview with an expert, an infographic guide or a webinar training session.

An example 

For our university admissions organisation, we opted for a guide format that was hosted on a gated landing page on the client’s website. In order to download the report, parents had to share their email address for further contact by the marketing team.

On the back of this guide, we also developed additional pieces of content, such as articles on the Beyond Oxbridge theme for education publications and infographics for social media. All content had links back to the landing page with the report on it, so we could use Google Analytics to track where leads were coming from and assess which content was producing the best results.

The content generated 428 leads in just a few weeks of promotion, plus additional web site traffic for the company.

Don’t forget the follow up once you generate leads

Be prepared for what you plan to do once the leads start coming in.

Drop them into your lead nurturing programme or follow up with a phone call or an invite to a demo of your education product. Maybe you could offer a free trial or some free consultancy.

You can continue to use relevant content at each stage of your customer journey to help move them along the marketing funnel, such as targeted email marketing or a case study from one of your clients.

Follow these steps and in no time, you’ll be an expert at using content to generate leads for your business and it will support your overall education marketing strategy.

If you want to know how to get your education product noticed by senior leaders in education, you can download our Influence Schools White Paper. You may also be interested in our guide to good PR Planning.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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