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Measuring Medical Website ROI with Google Analytics

Years ago we would pay to install and use a product called Urchin analytics on all our sites so that we could effectively monitor the traffic to the site.  We were interested in where the traffic was coming from (search engines, direct, referral), the length of visit and what content was performing and not performing.  Urchin was a great tool until along came Google.  In 2005 Google bought our favorite analytics tool and did something incredible.  Loaded with cash, Google bought Urchin, made the tool better, and started giving it away for free!

Fast forward to July 2012 and the majority of sites on the web use Google Analytics to measure traffic and behavior of visitors.  Our own MDwebpro Insights platform which monitors hundreds of medical sites for common SEO problems also monitors sites to determine if their Google Analytics is installed correctly.   While the majority of sites do use Google Analytics and have it configured correctly, we are constantly amazed at how many sites we come across that are not using some type of analytics to track site usage.  Especially when you can get a great product like Google Analytics for free.

In my experience we come across two types of medical clinics out there.  First we find clinics that have a website — it could even be a great site — but they have no analytics installed and no method in place to report on the site performance.  The other type of clinic has a site and has analytics installed but there isn’t anyone responsible for reviewing the data and reporting on performance and recommendations for improvement.  My goal in this article is to convince you to call your web developer and ask why you don’t have analytics installed if you don’t.  Or if you do have analytics, find someone to take ownership of the review process.  Our favorite saying is, “you can’t improve on what you can’t measure.”  So let’s get a system in place to measure results.

Measuring Medical Websites

The image above is the main Google analytics dashboard.  It is interesting as an overview of:

  • Visits
  • Unique Visitors
  • Page Views
  • Pages per Visit
  • Average Visit Durtaion
  • Bounce Rate
  • Percentage of New vs Returning Visitors

This aggregate view of data is always interesting to get an overall sense of site traffic and trends over time.  But the real beauty of a solid analytics package is the ability to drill down into into specific segments of traffic.  On our sites we will generally segment traffic by:

  • Marketing Campaign
  • Traffic Source (Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, Email, …)
  • Paid search traffic vs non-paid traffic
  • Referral programs

The image below shows an example Google Analytics view of the non-paid search engine traffic segment.  In this view you can see how the traffic from search engines doubled helping us to quantify success.

Whith this data in hand, we can accurately report on which marketing efforts are having an impact and which are not.  When these segments are tied to goals on the site, we get an even more clear picture of ROI from each source.  Common goals we measure are:

  • Coupon downloads by product or service (i.e. botox vs skin care)
  • Scheduled consultations
  • Rewards registrations
  • Open house registrations
  • Educational downloads (i.e. The Complete Mommy Makeover Guide)

The image below shows goal completions for the non-paid search segment.

With each of these goals we collect valuable information on the site visitor to help us in our continued marketing to these users.  This is where we outgrow Google Analytics and extend the functionality with our own tool set.  As we expand our profile on each visitor, some data we may collect are:

  • Name (first, last)
  • email
  • Phone
  • Products and Procedures of interest (based on selections and topics viewed on the site)
  • Search phrases used by the visitor to find your site
  • All forms completed on the site
  • All visit stats by the user (pages viewed, length of visit, content viewed)

With this extended user profile data we can now begin to fully leverage email marketing and targeted call to actions on the site based on the visitors behavior.  This results in more successful campaigns and more patients through the door.  It all starts with a correctly installed analytics package on your site.  You can check your site using our website grader.  If your site doesn’t have analytics installed, contact your web developer or contact us and we’ll do it for you.

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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