Podcast #45

Healthcare Marketing Analytics: How to Track Growth

When a multi-location healthcare group is trying to grow, having an effective marketing analytics framework is essential. How can organizations with ambitious growth goals set themself up for good reporting?

Episode Highlights:

Rich Briddock

Rich Briddock: “Call tracking is usually the most important piece of tracking for our clients because most of our clients gets phone calls. You get online appointments, you do get form submissions, you do get live chat appointments, but the majority is going to be phone calls.”

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite podcast. The only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex Membrillo: What’s going on everybody? We’re going to have fun today. We’ll get a lot of high-growth healthcare groups that are coming to us. They’re high-growth but they’re still small, and they’re wanting, where do I start with my marketing? Then the next evolution of the building blocks after I get my website, SEO search, Facebook ads, all that stuff, is how do I track results, and what are the results I need to track? We’re going to be talking about that for the next 15 minutes.

Everybody, welcome Rich Briddock to the show today. He’s our SVP of Performance Market Media Strategy and Innovation. I don’t know what his title is anymore, but welcome, Rich.

Rich Briddock: Thanks for having me, Alex.

Alex: [laughs] You heard his beautiful voice before. He leads a lot of our thought leadership around media where things are going for high-growth healthcare groups. He’s head up our analytics department. He’s been with me almost a decade at this point. Super brilliant and an awesome accent, so you’ll think he’s smarter than he is, but he actually is that smart besides the accent. Okay.

Let’s get rolling here. To start, Rich. When we’re looking at metrics to tack and KPIs, before we get into advanced stuff, which I’m excited to talk about, I don’t like to talk about basic for too long. You’re just getting a marketing director comes in, she just got funding, what are the basic things you want to see them set up? We get on these discovery calls often, and the basics are the– Let’s go to the basics quick, and then we’ll evolve from there. What are the things you like to see?

Rich: In order to let’s say, essentially manage and optimize campaigns effectively, you’re going to want to have at least the bottom line lead tracking from the website, right?

Alex: Okay.

Rich: The stuff that you’re trying to drive initially, once that person gets the landing page or gets to the website, and you should do that across all your channels. I think a lot of people just say, “Oh, I’m setting up a PPC campaign. Let me set up call tracking to PPC, and then SEO gets completely neglected over here on the other side, and you don’t set up the same tracking.”

Alex: You should have tracking for your organic leads. You should have call tracking for your organic leads-

Rich: Correct. First, like [crosstalk]–

Alex: -but you don’t get keyword-level data.

Rich: You don’t get keyword-level data, but you’ll get landing page-level data. You will get some insight onto what concept people are consuming before they’re calling you, what pages essentially you need to rank, which pages are driving the phone calls. There’s definitely some values–

Alex: It’ll tell you organic, net new leads.

Rich: Right. It’ll tell you if I’m paying $10,000 a month for my organic program because it’s generating enough revenue to cover itself as a [crosstalk].

Alex: Yes. Okay.

Rich: That’s super important. Call tracking is usually the most important piece of tracking for our clients because most of our clients gets phone calls. You get online appointments, you do get form submissions, you do get live chat appointments, but the majority is going to be phone calls.

You don’t want to scrimp on this. You want to go for a proper high-end call tracking provider. They’re not incredibly expensive, but we would recommend CallRail. They’re HIPAA-compliant, so that’s massively important. You obviously need to be HIPAA-compliant, and they give us a ton of flexibility with call tracking to understand the nature of the phone calls. They’re not just the number of phone calls that are being tracked, but also what’s happening in those calls, what people are calling about, you can do call listening, you can tag calls if they’re a new patient appointment, if they’re an existing patient appointment.

Alex: Do you you have to listen to it to tag it or will it automatically-

Rich: You don’t have to–

Alex: -after I’m– It’ll listen for keywords and tag it?

Rich: Yes, you can set up any so just say, “Schedule my appointment,” as a phrase and they say that in the call, you can tag it as an appointment call.

Alex: Okay. Any other vendor you suggest?

Rich: That’s primarily it. The other vendor that is also HIPAA-compliant is Invoca. You could also use Invoca. I think there’s a number of others out there, obviously.

Alex: A lot of our clients are using Callbox.

Rich: What was that?

Alex: The Callbox.

Rich: Yes. Callbox is–

Alex: What do you think have that special or something with a call center or like that? What was it? Oh, agent. You can evaluate the agents or something.

Rich: Yes. Callbox has this thing where it can evaluate agent performance, and it does have a sentiment analysis of each phone call, and then it has a human listening component as well. If you want human-verified calls and human-verified call categorization, Callbox actually listens to every single call that it’s got.

Alex: Pretty good. Pretty good. I want to make sure we shout it out to everybody because I need them to sponsor our conference next year.

Rich: That’s a good point. That’s a good shout-out.

Alex: Okay. We are compensated for these mentions.

Rich: Yes. Call tracking providers are fantastic, and we love them all. The main thing is that you use one.

Alex: Yes. CallRail is in Atlanta, so that’s near and dear to our heart, ATL. Other than CallRail-

Rich: Other than Call–

Alex: -other than call tracking, what are the other thing you like to see? A lot of these groups don’t have other basic stuff. What does it?

Rich: Yes, so essentially if there’s any way for someone to become a lead through the website, that should be tracked. If I can submit a form and become a lead, if I can do a live chat, which you become a lead, if I can book an appointment online through either a first-party or a third-party, online appointment, scheduling system, that should all be tracked.

Alex: Even if it’s Zocdoc? Can something like Zocdoc, can you get any visibility?

Rich: You have to work with Zocdoc on that. It’s not something that they’re just going to give to you, but we’ve worked with Zocdoc in the past to get it set up. It’s a bit of a pain, but–

Alex: Yes, that was also like the biggest group in the country. They were an incentive to do it.

Rich: That’s true.

Alex: Call scheduling happens through epic through the EHR or the scheduling appointment online. Is that happening through the EHR systems or who are the usual providers of the appointment scheduling systems?

Rich: There’s a bunch of third-party providers. Obviously, you mentioned Zocdoc. There’s LocalMed I believe is another big one. There are some healthcare CRMs like advanced MD that offer it as part of their CRM.

Alex: They’ll let you see how many came through digital?

Rich: Yes. There’s some sourcing but it’s not the primary effort of what they’re doing. It’s better that we’re able to independently try it on our end. Then, because it’s the signal that the campaigns need like, so on Facebook side and Google ad side, if you don’t have these conversion signals, you can’t optimize to them. If you go and optimize to them, you can’t drive performance.

Alex: You don’t know what campaigns you working on?

Rich: Yes, exactly. You just blind it and optimize in the dark. Then I think the other key thing about tracking web leads is it’s also important to try and understand even directionally the value of those leads.

Alex: Before I get into that, which is what I’m excited about, we’ve got some pretty cool tech we’ve been working on for like half a decade. There’s other basic stuff I like to see in SEO. Rankings are still important. A lot of clients aren’t actually tracking their rankings for all their locations. Just do it for your locations. Plus service line. Waco, Texas dermatologists, Atlanta Dental Implants, like just track location for all your locations plus your service. Track those rankings, they still matter. The rankings lead to traffic, to traffic leads to organic leads. Since you don’t have keyword-level data, the ranking’s still important. I just want to throw that out there. That is very important for SEO.

Search, Facebook, any other main– and Google analytics, good enough for PR, you want to make sure they have that. Do they think data studio, do they need a funnel where all these fancy things we use or not?

Rich: Google Analytics is the cornerstone of understanding what’s going on with your website. For 99% of clients, it will give you everything that you need. Where we come in is blaring in more of a holistic view of what’s happening with your digital program.

Alex: Okay. Let’s talk about that now. What are we doing? We’re piping in every channel into this thing. Doesn’t Google Analytics do that? No. How are we?

Rich: Google Analytics will capture a user once they come to the website and they will have limited information about where that user has come from. They’ll typically know the source and the media. I come from Bing PPC, but if it’s not a Google product, they won’t know anything more.

Alex: Yes. Good thing no one comes from Bing, but yes.

Rich: All right, but in terms of Facebook, they won’t know the ad that the user clicked on unless you’re using very advanced UTM parameters and you’re sending that data into Google Analytics which most people don’t do.

Alex: We do that?

Rich: We do it, but we use it for other purposes, which we’ll get onto you later in this podcast. I guess long story short, Google Analytics will only give you a partial picture of what drove the traffic there, and some of the data, it won’t capture at all. Things like on Facebook where we’re trying to nurture the top of the funnel through video view campaigns to educate the prospective patient on the service or the practice, none of that information will exist in Google Analytics, because it’s a video view that happened on the Facebook platform. Google Analytics will not see it, but we will report out on that in addition to the Google Analytics data in our reporting solution to you.

Alex: In our reporting solution is what that’s aggregating all of this.

Rich: We use funnel which is the data connectivity solution that sits behind the scenes, which I think most of our clients probably won’t be that interested in, and then we use Google Data Studio, which is Google’s BI tool to visualize through dashboards.

Alex: Funnel combines all the Facebook and we have SEO information, ranking traffic. Where’s that coming? It’s coming out of Semrush.

Rich: Or advanced web rankings if it’s local ranking.

Alex: That’s typing into funnel or?

Rich: Funnel.

Alex: Okay. Our clients, we do this for them but there’s a lot of in-house teams that may try to attempt this themselves. Can they?

Rich: Anything is possible but it’s a lift. We have essentially a tech stack that is the CTL solution funnel, which is pretty expensive.

Alex: Sure.

Rich: Then we have a big query data warehouse layer that sits on top of that, so we send all the information into a data warehouse, so it’s stored and so our clients can access it if they want to run ad hoc queries. Also, so that if there’s any issues with API connections with funnel, the dashboard doesn’t go down, they still have access to it. They can still access the data, it’s redundancy, and then we have the BI solution as well.

You’ve got a pretty robust tech site that you would have to recreate, we cannot mention all the connections in all the customization that our analytics team does to the data to transform it. It would be a lot of work if you had to spin this up yourself. We have clients that have BI teams that do this, but–

Alex: They’re the biggest groups in the country.

Rich: Correct. Okay.

Alex: The small amids, it doesn’t make sense. They should just pay us a bunch of money to do it. Tons of. This have been fun, Rich. We’ve talked about all the basic stuff people need to get going on their analytics, KPIs through Google Analytics, and piping in different types of information tool. Those are all the basics you like to see.

Next level, our PE-backed high-growth healthcare groups all want to get to a point of understanding their cost per acquired patient. Some people in other interviews call it CAC, cost per acquired customer. We got cost per acquired patient. How did we get to that point to where we know for the money we spent on our digital advertising, we didn’t just drive this many leads but we drove this many patients? How did we get to that point?

Rich: Yes. It’s a bit of a long and arduous journey.

Alex: Okay. Give us a slight in this [unintelligible 00:12:05] journey.

Rich: Yes, I will. We’ve been working on trying to solve this problem as you alluded to for some time now, I think three or four years.

Alex: Through long five.

Rich: [unintelligible 00:12:15] What we’re finding is more and more healthcare groups have either a CRM system or some equivalency of a CRM system, whether it be a patient management system or an EHR system where they are keeping patient information and outcomes and revenue associated with those patients. We have essentially been able to take disparate technologies and put them together in order to understand from an initial ad exposure, click through to the website, and then a web lead.

What then happens to that lead in the CRM and then crucially pass that information back to the ad platforms and back to Google Analytics to say this phone call that I drove from my rehab clinic became an admin on August 23rd, 2022. It was from a Google ad. This was the keyword, alcohol rehab near me, and so we’re able to pass that data back to Google Ads, back to Google Analytics, back to being ads so that those platforms know that he would drove that end patient. That we can then report out on the cost per acquired patient in your reporting but also you have that data in your platform.

Alex: Will Google Ads then do something with it, or we just bid up like crazy and show 100, like, because we know that that drives actual patients we go crazy on it?

Rich: It depends on the number of patients you’re driving. It’s short–

Alex: One, it’s not enough data.

Rich: Yes. If you’re driving 10 incredibly high-value patients a month, it’s more of a directional play. We’ll look at that data and say, okay, medical detox as an ad group tends to drive a lot of admins. People who come through there as leads tend to be much more likely to become an admin, maybe their need is a lot more acute because they need a detox. We’ll say, okay, we’re going to bid up on that because we know if we can get a phone call on that ad group, there’s a much higher likelihood that there’s going to be an admin that results from it, but it’s not algorithmic based.

If you’re like a primary care physician or urgent care, and you have thousands of patients a day or hundreds of patients a day, and you’re passing that information back into Google, then you can bid against it using smart bidding techniques.

Alex: Okay. Let’s go back to the basics of setting up this foundation. Do you have to have a CRM to make this work?

Rich: You don’t have to have a CRM but you have to have some way of passing patient data back to us. It could be a patient management system. It could be a CRM. It could be just a database that you can–

Alex: EHR, usually where these go into and nobody has anything outside of that. Does the EHR, where you need a spreadsheet like autonomously pass it.

Rich: You have to be able to schedule data out of that EHR and send it to us on a regular basis in the format that [unintelligible 00:15:11]

Alex: We know VII total anonymous list.

Rich: Yes. You shouldn’t be including VII. We’ll give you certain pieces of information and then you will need to be able to store that and send it back.

Alex: That comes back into a tool or Google Analytics or what?

Rich: It comes back into a data platform.

Alex: What’s the platform?

Rich: The platform is called Ruler Analytics.

Alex: Ruler Analytics, everybody.

Rich: Ruler Analytics will send the information to the marketing platform. It will send it to Google Analytics, it will send it to Google Ads, it will send it to Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, et cetera. Ruler also integrates with that reporting solution so we’re able to report out on here’s what happened.

Alex: Our dashboard will contain all of that information where you know the traffic, the leads, and piped in the CRM so from ruler into the dashboard, [unintelligible 00:16:01] solution. Let’s talk about the best-case scenario here. It sounds like a pain in the ass if it’s coming from your PMS or your EHR. You really need a CRM to make this scale.

Rich: CRM would be the best.

Alex: Get a CRM early, what’s the best one for healthcare?

Rich: Salesforce is the best one.

Alex: Because?

Rich: It’s HIPAA-compliant. They have healthcare-specific products and they have the richest feature set. It’s super easy to integrate and it integrates with everything. They have a huge amount of infrastructure around it. They’ve great implementation partners. I can go on.

Alex: And they have an awesome conference.

Rich: They have a great conference.

Alex: I’ve gotten pushback on Salesforce in the last few calls I’ve been on and it’s because it was expensive.

Rich: It is the most expensive.

Alex: These groups were trying to use it for call center and intake. They’re going to service cloud route and stuff like that. Try to at least just get to CRM if you’re serious about marketing. When we were at Dreamforce, two years, it was before the pandemic, it could be eight years ago at this point, I feel like a lot.

Rich: 2019.

Alex: I lost my hair and my damn sense of time. They said financial services was Salesforce’s number one vertical, healthcare number two. They care a lot about vertical, the integration is being pushed, meaning the products will continue to get better, more API. That’s good. CRM is ideal. You mentioned some of the stuff with the admin. Are you saying that we have an actual cost per patient, and we can track it back to a digital campaign currently for clients?

Rich: That’s what I’m saying.

Alex: All right. Very cool. It is possible. When you call this innovative solution bridge.

Rich: We are calling it patient stream.

Alex: I love your stand. It’s like I didn’t know that was going to be announced today. We got the patient team. We’ve been working on a long time. It’s an amalgamation of a lot of different technologies. You don’t have to do anything extremely proprietary. It sounds like it’s the combination of a lot of disparate technologies, putting them into one thing that helps improve marketing.

Rich: I think that’s what a lot of analytics is right is taking data from different places and connecting it with one another and making it tell a story. Essentially, this is just kind of the ultimate step in making that data connected.

Alex: Whatever you learn, since we’ve gotten some clients that we know cost per patient on some digital campaigns, what have we done with that information? Have you seen any tangible changes in the way we approach media since we’ve learned a lot?

Rich: Yes. Definitely, in terms of, especially on the more directional side because a lot of the clients that we work with have pretty high-value patients. It’s lower volume, but high value. For those clients, some of the directional changes that we’ve taken is we’ll fund channels differently now.

Before as an example, for one client, we were spending quite a lot on social because the front-end lead acquisition costs on social were really strong compared to search. Then when we got the downstream data, it was obvious that search was actually driving the vast majority of all the downstream activity and social was not really contributing as much. We pulled back a little bit on social and funded more in search because that was ultimately driving it up online and the ROI [unintelligible 00:19:09]

Alex: If you were just looking at vanity metrics, traffic impressions, it seemed like social wins driving better quality leads or good quality leads.

Rich: Exactly.

Alex: Downstream, it was total [unintelligible 00:19:19] It was obvious that paid social was driving [unintelligible 00:19:22]

Rich: Yes, leads that just were basically dying [unintelligible 00:19:24]

Alex: Guys, paid social is no longer lead acquisition. That’s for the next podcast. We’ll talk about demand generation versus demand capture, but paid social is a damn billboard. It’s a billboard at this point and it’s a really good one. It’s a billboard.

Rich: You can take that analogy and apply it to anything. You may have the same observation inside one channel, but you’re looking at an ad group that has an amazing CPA on the front end and it’s great at driving phone calls and it’s great at–

Alex: [unintelligible 00:19:53] driving actual patients.

Rich: In terms of the actual quality of those patients like it’s maybe the solution that they’re actually looking for is tangential to what you offer, but it’s not exactly what you offer. Even though it’s a great front-end CPA, because they’re not educated at that point, they’re not then becoming the patient that you want them to become.

Alex: Damn. You connected on you learn a lot more. You probably stop bidding on that keyword. This was a lot of fun, everybody. I’m really passionate about analytics and tracking and getting further along. This healthcare has always been so far behind its marketing. We are really moving things quickly now in full-funnel attribution and getting to a cost-acquired patient, piping that back into marketing.

Thank you, Rich. Thanks for sharing your insight. This is really fun. I think you just got a lot of marketers wondering, “How the hell can I get this going?” Both from the basic stuff all the way to like, “I want a CRM. Let’s get it going.” Thank you, Rich. This was fun.

Listen, you got to subscribe and I want you to leave a review. These things come out every week so please keep listening. Let me know if you enjoy it. Shoot me a note on LinkedIn. I’ve had two people in the last few years say they love it. This is very exciting feedback.

Rich: [laughs]

Alex: Let us know if we can do anything to improve. Five stars or get out of here. Thank you so much for listening. Keep coming back.


Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.


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