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3 Changes Dental Practitioners Should Expect From Google’s New Analytics Platform

data privacy concerns

The digital media landscape is constantly evolving, thanks to growing concerns and regulations on privacy and data security.

At Bullseye Media, our team has you covered when it comes to keeping pace with these changes, like Google’s recent announcement about its analytics platform.

Google’s analytics platform (currently called Universal Analytics, or UA for short) is one of the industry-leading tools we use to market your dental practice online. It offers statistics and analytical tools that allow us to collect data and gain insight on your potential patients’ online behavior. It helps us measure your web traffic, visibility, and leads.

Google recently announced that it will sunset (or retire) UA in July 2023, encouraging companies to begin (or quicken) their migration to its newest analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The new platform tackles growing concerns around data privacy and keeps pace with new regulations.

At first, it may seem like Google’s announcement is not especially relevant to you, but we’ll explain why it matters to your dental practice and what you can expect.  

First, to put your mind at ease:

However, as the GA4 rollout happens, you should prepare for changes in three key areas: data collection, user permissions, and reports.

1. Data Collection

As privacy laws have gotten stricter, first-party owned datasets have become more important. First-party data…what does that even mean? 

To put it simply, first-party data is the information that your dental practice receives directly from your patients, or potential patients. This could include form fills or any information that the person agrees to share with you (vs. information that’s collected and shared via third-party online cookies).

While Google’s current UA doesn’t use third-party cookies, GA4 changes the way Google collects and tracks data. For example, we will no longer have access to the location information attached to an IP address. GA4 will also have new country-level controls, so data collection can be fine-tuned by market or jurisdiction of a law.

Key takeaway: It’s important for you to request data directly from your leads, and to do it in a way that ensures accuracy and usability (like online forms that request the user’s zip code or other relevant location-based info).
2. Permissions

Did you know that you are required to ask users (and patients) for permission before communicating with them or marketing to them in certain ways? This question isn’t directly related to GA4, but it’s something that has changed in recent years due to evolving privacy regulations.

Many dental offices don’t realize that they need to ask for permission before sending a text message. Similarly, your patients and website visitors need to “opt-in” (either via a checkbox or another way) before you can collect their data and/or send them marketing messages. 

Work with your legal expert to ensure that you’re following current privacy regulations.

Key takeaway: Make sure your websites and forms include the right wording, permissions, and options to collect and use personal information.
3. Reporting

As we adjust our backend processes and test the new features of GA4, we may eventually change the way we report your marketing efforts. While your monthly or quarterly reports may look different, we will continue to focus on reporting the things that really matter to your bottom line—the leads you receive from form fills and phone calls. 

We are looking to the future and making adjustments so that your reporting will be the best it can be when the GA4 rollout happens.

Key takeaway: We’ve got you covered! Your reports will still include the data that matters most to you.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions or concerns about the Google update or data privacy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

This is part 4 of our data and measurement blog series. Click on the articles below to explore more topics in our series.

Part 1: Stop Googling Yourself
Part 2: Dental Practitioner’s Top 4 Questions About Lead Generation
Part 3: The Formula for New Dental Patients: CPA + CPL = $$

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