When it comes to marketing your hospital, getting stakeholders on board can be a challenge. They want to know where the budget is going and see a return on investment. Tracking that and tying it to ROI can be a roadblock for many hospital marketers. There are so many different sources with data that could help you show results, but the data doesn’t always tell the complete story or show what your stakeholders are looking for.

Luckily, there’s a lot of meaningful data you can access through Google Analytics — but how can you use that information to present the most relevant and valuable information to your stakeholders?

We talked to Chris Kligora, Senior Director of Client Success for LOCALiQ, about just that. Chris works with a team of client success managers who run the campaigns for some of our largest clients, including a significant number of healthcare systems. He works with our teams and our clients to identify how campaigns are performing and contributing to new patients and new revenue.

Hi, Chris. Thanks so much for talking to us today. Your team works with a lot of different types of clients, but they’re largely responsible for healthcare, right? Chris Kligora - LOCALiQ Senior Director of Client Success

Yes, our team works with some of the largest hospital systems. A lot of the major healthcare systems are using our technology to gain a competitive advantage. My team is interfacing with these clients, running their campaigns, and working with our other internal teams to deliver results for the client.

How are you typically working with these healthcare clients?

I’ll usually meet with the client and our team here to help plan the strategy and the tactics — help with the overall planning. I’ll also look at what the typical consumer journey really looks like for the client using the data that we have available.

I think one of the tricky things specifically about healthcare is there are so many different service lines and all of these different service lines have different buying cycles associated with them. And, so when it’s emergency, obviously, that’s a very quick consumer buying journey. Alternatively, when you look at something like oncology, those become very, very long buying journeys. And ultimately, what ends up happening is we have to be able to craft a message around the data specific to each service line to show how our solutions are working to influence their patients.

How are you finding and pulling this data?

This is where Google Analytics really comes into play. We take a look at the data and we start pulling it apart to identify what individual patients are looking for: what is the ultimate destination page on the website? How many times have they interacted?

So, it really becomes about helping our teams and our hospital partners understand what’s going on in the backend throughout the journey. We’re really good at finding that last-touch attribution, meaning what drove the prospective patient to become a lead; but many hospital marketers have trouble seeing how the prospective patient got to that point. They rarely become a lead the first time they interact with a hospital’s website.

How did you decide to use Google Analytics to tell this customer journey story?

About three years ago, I looked at the customer journey very, very differently and started really being able to identify latent conversions and buying behaviors and then doing attribution modeling around each of the individual digital solutions. I could then look at service lines and say, “okay, in this service line, we’re seeing the patient’s online journey look approximately like this.”

For example, we worked with a hospital system that had one service line where there was an average of 630 online interactions before a conversion finally happened. It was very, very eye-opening for the hospital system and their stakeholders, because, obviously, they’re focused on return on investment which is usually measured through last-touch attribution. And when you’re measuring just last-touch attribution, you may only get 30% of the story, which is great, but the other 70% needs to be told.

For example, here’s a report in Google Analytics that shows last-click conversions and also shows all the assists that Paid Search didn’t get credit for.

Google Analytics reporting example of last-touch and assisted attribution - LOCALiQ

So, how can you tell which metrics are important to measure?

It’s important to measure a lot of different metrics, last-touch attribution included, but it shouldn’t be the only factor you look at. Solely measuring last-touch attribution is kind of like calling into one of those phone doctors and telling him you have a sore throat — he can diagnose you with strep throat based on your symptoms, but he wouldn’t really know unless he swabbed you during an in-office visit.

It’s important to measure where consumers are interacting with your hospital system in their patient journey. In the case of the example I told you about, we sat down with the hospital marketer and her stakeholders and went through the consumer buying journey and how patients buy the different service lines for her hospital system specifically.

I think it blew her mind when they realized how much additional added value the other solutions were attributing to the patient journey.

This example shows single conversion interactions. In line 714, there were two visits from paid search followed by an organic visit, then a visit direct to site, followed by seven more paid search visits with the conversion happening on the last organic search.

Example of a conversion path in Google Analytics - LOCALiQ

It sounds like Google Analytics has a lot of valuable information. Are there any limitations to the data?

The downside to Google Analytics is that we only have a look-back window of 90 days. You can’t see data past 90 days. So, certainly, that’s one aspect you have to account for. Say a conversion happens on January 20 ““ you want to see all the times that patient interacted with the website prior to making the appointment, but you can only find that information back to October 20.

Some service lines may have buying cycles longer than 90 days. For these service lines, you may not be able to see the entire journey to make decisions, but you can use the information you do have to refine your strategy.

How is Google measuring this information?

Google gives each individual visitor that comes into the website a unique ID. When that visitor comes back a second time, Google looks and says, “I’ve seen that visitor before,” and can track that.

We set up goals in Google Analytics for our clients based on what they want to track and measure, and we use UTMs so we can determine where a consumer visited the website from. So, we can look at the data and figure out that a consumer first visited the website from a display campaign, and maybe they visited the website another 30 times before converting from an organic search.

And Google will allow us to look at every time the user visited the website and how they got there, so we can start to determine what the conversion path looks like.

There are a lot of different metrics you can measure that we look at to hone the marketing strategy, but it really comes down to looking at how each digital marketing tactic has influenced the prospective patient from their first interaction until they convert.

You mentioned you and your team will set up goals in Google Analytics for your clients. How important is setting goals in Google Analytics?

Extremely important. Without any set goals, Google won’t have a way to provide the specific information you’re looking for. You won’t be able to measure latent conversions, which are what we’re talking about here.

It’s also important to know that you won’t be able to see any information prior to setting up your goals in Google Analytics. You can’t set up your goals and expect to see results from the last 90 days. The clock starts once those goals are set. So you should set them early. And then revisit them often. What worked 60 days ago may not work today, so it requires constant optimization and measurement.

So, this helps to paint a picture of all the ways marketing is reaching them, right?

Every individual touchpoint is valuable in the patient journey. And the patient journey isn’t linear, especially with healthcare. Consumers are far more educated now when they go to make a transaction than they were in the past. Now, if they get a diagnosis, they might do research about the symptoms and treatments before they look for a provider. They’re reaching out to their networks on social media, they’re looking at reviews. It’s very fragmented.

But, Google Analytics allows us to track all those different places, so we know which touchpoints a consumer has passed through before becoming a patient.

Even with all this data, I’m sure there are still common objections you and many hospital marketers hear. What are they?

One of the most common objections we hear is about return on investment. It’s usually, “let’s shift all our money to the things that we know convert.” That sounds like very good decision-making, but long term, it doesn’t pay out. What generally ends up happening is as soon as you start neglecting the other parts of your marketing strategy, the leads just kind of dwindle because you’re not nurturing and guiding consumers throughout their journey.

Thanks to Chris for his insight into using Google Analytics to understand the patient journey and how patients are interacting with healthcare marketing. If you’d like to speak with an expert like Chris about how we can help you tell these stories to your stakeholders, contact us today.

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