What Google’s Latest Updates Mean for Your Practice

In a world gone virtual, there’s no doubt that Google is king. From guiding internet surfers to the answers they’re searching for to providing analytics that help practice owners manage their orthodontic and dental marketing strategies, Google is as deeply connected to your online experience as the keyboard you type on. So when the Internet giant changes direction, it’s no surprise that everyone is all eyes and ears to catch their next move. 

When Google announced its transition from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in October 2020, Neon Canvas began working proactively to stay ahead of the changes. Now that Google is planning to completely phase out UA for GA4 by July 2023, we’re taking to the Internet to explain what Google’s latest updates mean for your practice before the switch. Let’s get after it. 

GA4 Uses Cookies Differently

With an emphasis on privacy and inter-device reporting, GA4 is about to change how we use cookies to track analytics. 


Tracking the movement of users across the web is one of the most important tools marketing agencies have for driving traffic to their clients’ websites, and cookies are responsible for providing this data. Cookies are often described as the breadcrumb trail that web surfers leave behind, showing Google where they’ve been on the Internet and how they travel from one page to another. 

There are two major types of cookies: first-party and third-party. You’re in control of first-party cookies because you are the one that places them on your site to track how users interact with it. You’re not in control of third-party cookies, which can be placed on any site from an outside source to track user data. Third-party cookies have been flagged as privacy concerns so often that one of the major reasons Google created GA4 was to address the issue. 

Enter GA4. This privacy-centric system only tracks first-party cookies, respecting your – and your users’ – confidentiality. 

Reporting Across Multiple Devices

In recent years, we’ve witnessed a major uptick in the number of users accessing the Internet from devices other than their laptops. Internet surfers may start a query on an app, pick it up again on their desktop later, and then return to their search on their smartphone all in one day. Unlike UA, GA4 makes it possible to track a user’s research journey across multiple devices, giving us a richer, more holistic insight into how surfers move across the web. 

GA4 Uses Engagement-Rate, Not Bounce-Rate

Say goodbye to bounce-rate metrics and hello to its inverse: engagement-rate metrics. 

Bounce-rate and engagement-rate analytics work toward the same goal (attempting to describe how successful a web page is at getting users to interact with it), but they approach the problem differently. Bounce-rate uses a negative angle, showing you how many people leave your site without interacting. It doesn’t factor in time, which limits the scope of what successful “interaction” really means. 

Engagement rate is a more positive, open approach to Google analytics. Instead of counting how many users leave a page, engagement-rate counts how many users stay on a web page for longer than 10 seconds. 

They’re two sides of the same coin, but the subtle differences matter. Imagine a user clicks a link to one of your blogs that you shared on Facebook, spends seven minutes reading it and absorbs the information, and then leaves the site with a heightened sense of trust in your brand. Under UA, that individual would’ve been considered a bounce – but that doesn’t effectively describe the nature of the visit, does it? 

GA4 considers time spent on a page in addition to click-through rate, which reflects a subtler form of engagement than bounce rate is able to capture. By counting these softer impressions left on a user – even if they don’t continue to navigate your site – GA4 paints a clearer picture of your website’s user experience than ever before. 

Google Has Changed the Ad Game

Additional Google updates have replaced outdated ads and fine-tuned existing ones to provide more effective marketing to your prospective patients. 

Responsive Search Ads

In an effort to streamline best practices for ad strategy, Google recently phased out Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in favor of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). RSAs use a range of deadlines and descriptions in rotation, using the power of AI to determine the best combination. Over time, the system learns to highlight the high-performing combinations more frequently, giving you better results. ETAs are no longer available for use, so the shift to RSAs levels the playing field and makes regular optimization more important than ever. 

Performance-Max Campaigns

As the newest campaign released by Google, these campaigns take advantage of Google’s machine learning and smart bidding to perform based on your business’s unique goals. They deliver conversions and value by optimizing your ad performance in real time. 

Data-Driven Attribution

According to Google, “Data-driven attribution gives credit for conversions based on how people engage with your various ads and decide to become your customers.” This marketing tool uses conversion data to determine which ads and keywords will perform the best to help you accomplish your business goals. Overall, DDA provides better insight into various ad types and keywords and how they impact the customer journey allowing you to budget and allocate resources to maximize results. 

Neon Canvas Is a Google Partner

But what does that mean for your business? 

Being a Google Partner means that Neon Canvas and our Google experts are recognized for maximizing campaign success for our clients, driving client growth by maintaining campaigns, and demonstrating certified Google Ads skills and expertise. Google Partners get access to a wider range of benefits and support, including the ability to showcase the Google Partners badge on the website and marketing materials.

Working with Neon Canvas means you get all the benefits that Google partnership has to offer. With a track record of success and the certifications to prove it, Neon Canvas stays ahead of the game to bring your brand a return on investment that’s well worth your while.

Take advantage of the success that orthodontists, dentists, and other professionals have experienced with Neon Canvas: contact our team today for your free website audit

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