Making Google Analytics Work for Your Healthcare Organization

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03/13/2019 in Blog

As payment reform and demand for better value have forced healthcare organizations to streamline operations, healthcare marketing departments have faced enormous pressure to prove their worth. The message from leaders in the C-suite: It's fine to devote time and energy to outreach, and to engage with prospective customers wherever they may be, but you need to show your efforts are delivering a return on investment. Healthcare Marketing is no longer an expenditure department. Do you have the data to show ROI?

One way to answer that is to use a tool like Google Analytics to track visitor traffic on your organization's website and quantify the strengths of your online campaigns. But you have to do more than just install the javascript and sit back. To really put Google Analytics to work, you'll need to learn your way around its methods and metrics and make Google Analytics check-ins part of your routine.

Ready to make data deliver for your team? Here's a five-point primer on proven best practices:

1. Begin with benchmarking: Benchmarking allows you to understand how your website is performing for important metrics and allows for analysis of performance trends overtime. Google Analytics provides the ability to analyze the performance of your site based on visits from different devices (desktop computers, mobile devices, or tablets), traffic from different channels (organic, paid, social, etc.), traffic by region (city, state, DMA), and traffic by content page. By starting with an initial benchmark, you’ll understand what questions still need answered, which can lead to additional setup around conversion/event tracking, as well as help you build a process for your on-going Google Analytics check-ins.

2. Consider content performance and behavior data: With the removal of keyword referral data to further protect users’ privacy, content performance metrics are the best way to understand SEO performance. Google Analytics offers built-in functionality called content groupings, which allow you to organize your website into similar groups for analysis. We recommend building content groupings for each service line in order to compare performance across departments, as well as within a single service line to identify top performers and areas needing further analysis.

Similarly, Google Analytics provides certain metrics around user engagement the system categorizes as “behavior flow." You should look at behavior flow to get an idea of how visitors to your site tend to move around from one page to the next, where they go after they hit your campaign landing page, for example. When you find something about their patterns of engagement, you can focus on strengthening the weak spots on your site through revisions to the design or changes in content.

3. Include regular check-ins: Once you're familiar with the range of metrics Google Analytics offers — and understand where your site could use the most help — the key to putting the system to work is going back to it on a regular basis. Get in the habit of checking traffic and content performance every week, and do a deeper dive into the metrics at least every month.

4. Integrate: While the data and reporting Google Analytics offers may seem substantial enough, it pays to take things a step or two further by integrating your CRM and marketing automation platforms. Google Analytics, like any web analytics software, only collects information about anonymous visitors, and only tracks actions (appointment request form completions, Find-a-Doctor searches, etc.) made through your website. It can't tell you whether a visitor to your website later scheduled an appointment with a provider over the phone, or completed an appointment or procedure at one of your facilities. But when you bring your other marketing systems into the mix, you’ll be able to piece together the larger story of downstream performance and report on wins, as well as identify areas for improvement.

5. Take action: Unfortunately, while the Google Analytics reports can tell you a lot, they can't do the hard work it takes to see improvements. As the data comes in, use it to determine where you need to make adjustments and develop a plan for creating new content. Maybe it's a matter of implementing a better keyword strategy or focusing additional attention around creating additional supporting content. Either way, the polishing and perfecting will get easier over time — especially as your website evolves.

Making sense of your data and gaining the insight you need to make smarter decisions will help you deliver better results for your healthcare organization. But, like learning any new skill, it takes time to master and you may find that working with an experienced partner can help increase both the speed and effectiveness of your efforts.

Want more insight into finding a CMS solution built for measurement and optimization? Read our Definitive Guide to Healthcare CMS.