Key Post Highlights
> What is paid campaign data really telling you?
> What potential pitfalls come with paid campaigns?
> How should healthcare organizations use paid campaigns?
Let’s face it — analytics isn’t everyone’s jam. However, we know that we need insights from data to help us make data-driven decisions. With paid efforts, it’s critical that we get those insights to determine what is yielding an ROI and what we should eliminate, and most importantly WHY we should eliminate it.
I like to see analytics as a love langues. They are either whispering words of affirmation that my efforts were successful or doing me an act of service by letting me know that it’s time to eliminate a program.
The reason I love analytics so much is because I love seeing that the work our strategy and content teams are putting in is paying off, as well as the opportunities to improve or change things up based on what they reveal.
But I also understand that if you don’t know what you’re looking at or what kinds of KPIs you are looking for, then your analytics aren’t going to be useful, or should I say, loving to you. So let’s talk about understanding paid campaign analytics.
Understanding Website Analytics From Paid Campaigns
- When you are using paid ads to boost or expand your reach, there will be two sets of analytics:
- The analytics you get from the paid platform itself. This is often Google Ads or Facebook Ads, but it can also include any social platform or channel that you use to pay for ads — even if it’s podcasts, commercials, or radio spots. All of these things come with metrics.
- The metrics you will see on your side of the wall, which are typically available in Google Analytics, Hotjar, HubSpot, or your CRM of choice.
It’s important to take the analytics provided by the paid platforms with a grain of salt. For a number of reasons, those numbers may not actually add up. When looking at the metrics related to paid campaigns, you really only want to know two things:
- What is working and why?
- What should be eliminated and why?
What Is Your Paid Campaigns Website Analytics Telling You?
In order to figure out what is actually yielding an ROI when paying for conversions or driving traffic to your site, the first thing you need to learn is what the industry benchmark is for paid advertising by platform. My favorite source for healthcare advertising benchmarking is produced by WordStream.
Now that you know what the goals should be, you may be patting yourself on the back because your metrics are spot on. Or you’re totally freaking out, because your results aren’t even close. Don’t panic, sometimes it takes a while to achieve these benchmarks. It’s totally doable over time by testing campaigns, promoting what is working, and eliminating what isn’t.
The next thing you need to do is calculate your:
- Average click-through rate (CTR) = clicks ÷ impressions
- Average cost per lead (CPL) = total marketing spend ÷ total number of new leads
- Average cost per click (CPC) = total cost of your clicks ÷ total number of clicks
- Average conversion rate = number of conversions ÷ number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period
- Average monthly spend = sum of all the months spent ÷ total number of values (months) in the set
With this information, you can look at industry advertising benchmark data to make some determinations.
Here is where things get really interesting. The metrics from your paid efforts are indicating the performance of your ads and the performance of your landing pages and offer.
- Data Set 1: Average click-through rate (CTR), average cost per lead (CPL), and average cost per click (CPC) indicate campaign performance.
- Data Set 2: Average conversion rate indicates the performance of your landing page and offer.
This helps get to the reason WHY your campaigns are either performing well or not. For example, if everything is hitting the industry benchmarks in data set one, but your conversions aren’t hitting, what the data is telling you is that it’s time to optimize your landing page and/or offer for conversions.
It’s normal to have success in spots, even within the same data set. DON’T just throw the whole campaign away without truly evaluating each part on its own result. Once all things come together, that’s what I like to call the vein of gold.
The Potential Pitfalls Of Paid Campaigns
The first few times you pursue a paid campaign, you typically won’t get super high success metrics. With this in mind, I recommend that you look at your own site data.
It doesn’t matter how many conversions paid platforms report. Do you actually see those people in your own data? Did those people actually reach out to you? Did you get a phone call from them? Did they really fill out the contact form?
Even what Google Analytics reports as conversion and what actually is a conversion may not be the same. There could be inaccurate set-up. It’s also on your marketing teams to check their own CRM to see if there was follow through on the part of the user. That is what you should count as an actual conversion, whether you are looking at the analytics or not. Trust what you can actually see.
Remember: Paid campaigns are intended to pay off now, not later. When I hear people say, “Oh, it might take some time for my campaign to be effective,” I tell them, “No. Paid should be instant. If people aren’t converting or at least hanging out on your site for a while, that’s a failed attempt.” Depending on what the data is telling you, you may need to scrap it, pivot, test something else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that anybody in healthcare marketing should not be doing paid campaigns to immediately convert patients. This is mainly because that’s typically not how patients make decisions about their healthcare.
Surveys suggest that:
- About half of us pick our hospitals or healthcare providers based on word-of-mouth from family and friends,
- About 20% of us say social media influences our decision, and
- Nearly 70% of us turn to online reviews when picking a provider.
None of those things points to people choosing providers based on paid campaigns.
The only outliers are campaigns inviting prospective patients to get a second opinion and for touring specialty departments like birthing centers.
Then How Should You Use Paid Campaigns For Healthcare Marketing?
If you’re going to use paid campaigns, my suggestion would be to come up with a strategy to remarket to your patients. Now, you may be thinking, “Oh gosh, this is healthcare marketing, I can’t remarket. That’s a HIPAA violation.” No, calm down. I’m not talking about the industry standard of remarketing.
I’m talking about capturing audience members in a database so you can send them newsletters, ask them to follow you on social media, and stay in touch with you. You only want to pay to get them once, by giving them something very resourceful so that they sign up to get regular marketing communications from you that have nothing to do with their private health data.
- Always trust the results you can see, like a new lead in your CRM.
- Paid only works while you are doing it.
- Healthcare marketers need to remember: Audience behavior indicates that ads don’t typically drive new patient appointments.
All in all, you can’t succeed unless you try. So, go ahead and try to see what impact paid programs can have on your organization’s business goals in 2023.
Coming up in part 2: What language is your organic content metrics speaking and how can you use it to create more and better performing content?