Upgrade to GA4 Complete

Google Analytics upgrade

By Nicholas Garcia

Google Analytics code is placed on websites to record information about user visits. The Google Analytics dashboard then produces reports that measure traffic and engagement on the UIW website. This allows us to understand the performance of our marketing and the university and collect and analyze valuable user insights.

As of February 2023, UIW has migrated to Google Analytics 4 (“GA4”). GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics and replaces our current version, Universal Analytics, which will no longer process data as of July 2023. With this upgrade, we can now access comprehensive website analytics reports available through an online dashboard. The dashboard was built using Google's visualization product Looker Studio and the GA4 Explorations interface.

GA4 includes privacy controls to comply with evolving rules and regulations around data confidentiality, and it leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide sophisticated and predictive insights about user behavior. This information helps institutions understand how well their website attracts prospective students and converts them into applicants.

There are three significant differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics to highlight:

  1. Users: GA4 collects data using an events-based model, which records all events a user completes instead of creating a new session when a user returns to a site. This model deduplicates users and focuses on what users do on the site, where they come from, and what brought them there, providing a complete picture of a prospective student’s journey. GA4 can collect unified data from multiple devices for a more accurate impression of user behavior. Analytics can measure a single user journey across devices based on the best available user identifiers.
  2. Reporting: GA4 has high-level reports built-in, and users can create custom reports in the "Reporting" tab for more specific insights. This functionality gives institutions greater freedom in how reports look and allows for a deeper drill-down to the most important data. Different templates can be used to target different insights for prospective students.
  3. Google Ads: GA4 provides deeper audience integration with Google Ads, allowing for more in-depth audience lists. Insights and predictions powered by artificial intelligence can be used to predict outcomes at each stage of the enrollment funnel, such as attrition rates and potential revenue.

Overall, GA4 significantly improves over Universal Analytics, with better privacy controls, more accurate data collection, and more sophisticated insights that help institutions better understand and serve their prospective students.