When do you need to migrate to Google Analytics 4?

When do you need to migrate to Google Analytics 4?

With a July deadline looming, you might have heard that Google is updating Google Analytics from Universal Analytics (GA3 or UA) to their new upgraded version. The upgraded version is called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

But what does Google Analytics 4 do, and when do you need to migrate by? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics. It is designed to help businesses better understand their customers’ behaviour across different platforms and devices. GA4 uses machine learning to provide insights into user behaviour and to help businesses make data-driven decisions.

What is the deadline for migrating to GA4?

On July 1st 2023, GA4 will be the new standard, meaning all Universal Analytics properties will no longer receive data. However, 360 Universal Analytics properties will still be active until July 1st 2024. However, it’s a good idea to move your data and set up GA4 as soon as possible. 

What are the benefits of GA4?

Improved cross-device tracking: GA4 uses machine learning to help businesses better understand how users interact with their website. This includes tracking on mobile, desktop, and tablet.

Enhanced data privacy features: GA4 has several new features to help businesses comply with data privacy regulations, such as the ability to automatically delete user data after a set period of time.

More detailed insights: GA4 provides more detailed insights into user behaviour. This includes information on how users engage with your website and which actions they take.

Simplified reporting: GA4 has a new reporting interface that is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly. The platform’s home screen provides businesses with a quick overview of their website or app’s performance, with metrics such as active users, engagement, and revenue displayed prominently. The new reporting interface also includes a customizable dashboard that allows businesses to create their own reports and visualisations. This feature provides businesses with more flexibility in the way they view their data, allowing them to focus on the metrics that matter most to them.

Integration with Google Ads: GA4 is fully integrated with Google Ads, allowing businesses to measure the performance of their advertising campaigns more accurately. The platform provides businesses with insights into how users interact with their ads and how these interactions translate into conversions.If you have not upgraded to Google Analytics 4 by July 1st, 2023, your website will not be able to collect any new data past that date. Your website will still use Universal Analytics, but only to track information from before July 1st, 2023.

The integration with Google Ads also means that businesses can use the platform’s machine learning capabilities to optimise their ad campaigns. GA4 can identify which ad creatives and targeting options are most effective at driving conversions, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions about their ad spend.

What are the next steps you need to take?

Overall, GA4 can provide significant benefits and help you better understand and optimise your digital performance. If you do not make the transition to Google Analytics 4 before July 1st, 2023, your website will no longer be able to collect new data/information after this date. The current Universal Analytics will still be working, but it will only be able to record data that has been gathered before the deadline of 1 July 2023.

Here at Digithrive we are able to take the worry out of your hands and migrate your GA to GA4. To speak to one of the team about this click here.

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How does digital marketing help education institutions?

Digital marketing or online marketing is nothing new – in fact, the term “digital marketing” was first used in the 1990s, when the first clickable banner went live in 1993! However, digital marketing for schools is relatively new, which is why many schools do not have a school digital marketing strategy in place or are not taking part in any digital marketing activity that aligns with the school’s objectives.

This is why Digithrive takes a holistic approach to digital marketing; we see your school as both a business and an institute of education.

We will develop a marketing strategy that is customised to your marketing objectives and your specific target audience (don’t worry – we explain all of this jargon here in our guides!), focusing on the digital channels and social media platforms that will drive business success and improve your learning environment.

Generate More Leads

Developing a school digital marketing strategy allows you to focus on marketing activities that bring in more students – in the digital marketing world, we call that “generating leads”. Each student or parent who finds your school through search engine results thanks to searching engine optimisation results, could become a potential lead (and thus a potential conversion) for your school. Leads are generated through paid advertising, content marketing such as writing blogs or guides (using keywords, of course), local SEO (updating your Google My Business Page), and paid social media advertising.

Engage With Your Audience

Digital marketing does so much more than just splash your brand across the internet. For schools, it allows you to engage with more parents and students on the platforms they use daily – especially on social media. Not only can you inform current parents about events and important information, but you can also reach prospective parents with entertaining, engaging, and educational content. There might be some negative interactions and engagements, but with the help of our marketing managers, you can mitigate these and turn them into positive experiences.

Improve Local Visibility

You may think that digital marketing is solely meant for reaching people far and wide, but there is local SEO that you can use to improve your visibility in your specific area. Digithrive knows that schools are region-based, and a targeted marketing plan for your region will drive more valuable leads, as the people looking for schools in their area will find you at the top of their list. You can also produce extremely targeted content about your region and your school using local keywords, which will appear in search results for those terms.

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Cost-Effective Solution

Schools are not only places of learning – they are businesses too, and for many, a marketing budget can become exorbitant. With Digithrive, we make use of tools and technology that enable us to manage your advertising budget across different campaigns to get the best results. Marketing your school online is also flexible, allowing you to alter your content and budget or schedule whenever you need to. Our team of professionals will never give you a “one-size-fits-all” marketing plan; we work with your business budget to find the most cost-effective solution for your goals.

Measurable Results

Any marketing plan needs to have a goal in place that signifies the successful completion of the plan. This could be something like generating ten new leads a month or increasing the sign-ups to your school’s newsletter. Digital marketing allows you to track all actions taken by your audience and measure the results of your marketing plan, giving you clear metrics on the success of your campaign. By using analytics and statistics, Digithrive can adapt your marketing strategy to achieve the best results.

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Why should schools stay up-to-date with marketing trends?

Digital marketing is constantly changing, and it is important for your school to stay up-to-date with these changes. After all, you are also a business, and any business needs to stand out from its competitors online.

While you do not need to become subject matter experts overnight, staying abreast of what digital marketing tools and technologies are on the market and making waves in your industry helps you to remain relevant to both parents and students alike.

Understanding these trends will also empower you to choose the best marketing agency (and strategy) for your needs.

Some school marketing agencies might tell you that digital marketing success only comes from being on every platform at once, but we tend to disagree.

Let’s break it down: If your audience is not on Facebook, advertising or posting on Facebook won’t drive visibility or help with any lead generation strategies.

You need to focus your communications strategy on where your audience spends their time – not on where the general public gathers online.

Is digital marketing the right move for my school?

While print marketing is still highly relevant for schools today, without a digital strategy, you may find yourself losing out on a larger audience.

Your online audience is different to your print audience, and you will need to understand their needs and demographics if you want to provide meaningful content and interactions.

There is also the element of flexibility that comes with creating digital content to market your school; flyers and posters are fantastic local advertisements, but with digital advertising, you can create videos, gifs, and banners that are shown at the exact right time, to the exact right audience.

The measurability of digital marketing certainly trumps print marketing.

You can see exactly which advertisement drove which actions, allowing you to tailor all future content to match those successes – no more guessing if any potential parents have walked past your poster in the park and made a call to your school to find out about enrolments.

Having an up-to-date, mobile-friendly website not only helps you to remain relevant online, but it also allows you to create and share valuable content with current and potential parents and students.

Blogs and videos backed up by search engine optimisation tactics help you to build visibility and authority with search engines and with your audience themselves. And, with students becoming more digitally savvy, your school needs to reach them where they spend their day, in order to truly resonate with them.

Partnering with a digital marketing agency that understands your needs is the right move for your school. Let Digithrive teach you the ways of the internet, while you teach the future.

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SEO for schools

If your school wants to increase website traffic and enrollment numbers, then SEO (or search engine optimisation) is a key component in your marketing strategy. Employing an SEO strategy will help you get ahead of your competitors and rank higher than them on the most popular search engines. It will also improve your website functionality for the benefit of your current site users as well as prospective parents and students.

Here are our top tips for using SEO in your school’s marketing strategy…

Why is SEO for schools important?

Search engines, such as Google, want people to find relevant and helpful content when they use their platforms. Search engines rank your content based on keyword relevance. When a user enters a keyword or keywords into a search engine, the results page will show the most relevant content at the top.

Appearing on page one for the keyword you want to rank for is important as most users will never make it to page two. The higher you rank on page one, the more likely users are to click on your content.

How to do keyword research

Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing the search terms that your target audience will be entering into search engines. It’s important to plan out your keywords before you start writing the content for your school’s website as it will help you to identify the queries you should be targeting, and also how popular they are and how difficult they are to rank for.

To find keywords that have a high search volume, and are also relevant to your school, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. Keywords that have a high search volume are more difficult to rank for. The best practice is to choose keywords that relate to your school’s offering, rather than just aiming for the keywords with the highest search volume.

Keyword research will also help you identify related keywords. Related keywords are variants, semantically related terms, or synonyms to the main keywords that you’re targeting and want to rank for on the SERPs. 

What are the best keywords for your school?

The best keywords for your school will depend on specifics such as what you offer and where you’re based. Search engine optimisation is all about making your content as relevant as possible. Generic education keywords like ‘school’ are not only difficult to rank for in the search results, but won’t help Google direct your target audience to your site. The best SEO strategy is to choose more specific or longtail keywords (phrases). For example, the words ‘independent school’ as well as your school’s location gives Google more information and will also be easier to rank for than the word ‘school’.

How to use keywords to optimise the key pages on your school website

To optimise your content, use your main keyword and related keywords in your page title as well as subsequent heading tags, body text, image alt text and in the page meta description. Make sure you also use them on all the key pages on your website. Main keywords should only be used once per page, otherwise you will be competing against other pages for ranking.

Whilst keyword density is important, keyword stuffing, however, is not considered good practice. Overloading your content with keywords in an attempt to improve your Google ranking is considered webspam or spamdexing. If Google thinks that this is what you’ve done, it will negatively impact your search ranking. The best approach is to include your main keywords and related keywords within natural prose.

It is also important to optimise your homepage to boost your site’s ranking. For your homepage, you’ll want to include your school name as well as the type of school you are. The page title should be the name of your school.

What is the best practice for page URLs?

Using good practice across your page URLs will have a positive impact on your SEO. The page title should match your URL, or at least make up the majority of it. If you change a page URL, make sure you set up page redirects first. It can negatively impact your Google ranking if an indexed page encounters a ‘page not found error’.

How to use title tags and header tags

Using title and header tags in your copy is important for SEO because they help Google understand your content. They also make your content more readable and user-friendly for your website visitors. The best practice is to start each page with a headline using the H1 tag. Then you can separate your content into sections using the H2 tag and subsections using the H3 tag.

How to write a meta description

A meta description is an HTML element that provides a summary of each webpage. It’s the short paragraph that Google displays on the search engine results page. It’s important to make the meta descriptions for each of your web pages enticing in order to encourage prospective parents and students to click on them, rather than a competing school’s site. Your meta description should include your main keyword, as well as many associated keywords as possible.

Sizing images and using alt text

It is important to make sure your website images are not too large or too small, as this can have a negative impact on SEO. Make sure you resize and compress images as large images can slow down your site speed as well.

It is also important to add the correct tags and alt-tags to images. Search engines can only read data, so adding a title to your image helps them to recognise what your content is about.

Using internal links

An internal link is a link from one page on your school’s website to another. Linking to relevant pages throughout your content will keep the user on your site for longer. Internal links are also important for SEO, as search engines use them to navigate your site. Make sure your anchor text is keyword rich for both internal and external links, as Google factors this into your search ranking. There is no upper limit for links on each page and the best practice to use as many relevant links as you can.

Why are external links important?

Links to your website from other high-ranking websites can boost your Google ranking. Inbound links can give your school’s website credibility and authority. Using outbound links on your site can help encourage other high-ranking sites to reciprocate. External links can also help to increase your website traffic.

Using topic clusters

Using ‘topic clusters’ is an effective SEO strategy where you link your content around a master overview page called a ‘pillar article’. Topic clusters are also useful when you need to cover a broad subject in detail. Using topic clusters will allow you to dominate keyword categories in organic search.

Creating unique pages

Search engines favour unique content, and will ignore pages that it thinks are duplicated. The best practice is to not copy and paste from elsewhere and also make sure your copy isn’t too repetitive throughout your site.

Creating footer text

Your website’s footer should contain sub-menu links and key links to help your visitors navigate your site. A well organised footer works in a similar way to internal links and is an easy way of boosting your SEO ranking.

Add a blog to your school’s website

Finally, search engines love new and up-to-date content and a blog will help you add fresh content to your site regularly. Writing a blog post is also a good way of sharing relevant content with your school community as well as prospective parents and students. For the best search performance, make sure your blog is included within your school website and is linked to from your homepage.

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