Google Analytics is an incredibly helpful tool for healthcare marketing and communications programs.

Measuring brand recognition

Think about what things hospitals measure in terms of marketing. At the top of the funnel, hospitals generally look for two kinds of brand recognition. There’s global brand recognition, when a hospital seeks to be the best in category. For example, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or Johns Hopkins are very well-known globally as caregiver brands. In Google Analytics, a hospital would want to integrate organic branded search data from Webmaster Tools to see search volume of its name increase.

Be sure to segment and separate social media traffic as well. A key indicator of great reputation is people talking about you positively. One way to measure this is by returning visitors from social media channels. Someone who dislikes you is unlikely to continue visiting your website repeatedly.

Hospitals also look for recognition at the local level. Hospitals want and need people to be searching for them locally, within reasonable driving distance. Examine and measure organic search traffic within your geographic radius. If things are going well, local organic search traffic should be steadily increasing over time:

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Understanding your audience

Once on a hospital website, you must understand visitor behavior. What pages are visited most? What pages are visited most by new visitors to the site? Are prospective patients able to make inquiries quickly and easily? For example, by implementing event tracking, a hospital could determine how much or little information to ask for on web-based intake forms. Some information can be collected online easily; other information may need to be collected in person for patients to feel comfortable.

Finally, look at the hospital’s internal Internet range via filtering, especially if the hospital offers free WiFi to patients and families. What do people look at and search for on the hospital website while they are on premises? Are there certain pages that are much more frequently visited than others while patients are on site?

The ability to understand organic search for a hospital’s name, local search, and on-premises activity will shed light on how to market a hospital more effectively. Google Analytics provides an excellent solution for doing so. As long as it’s not implemented on any system containing PHI/ePHI (such as a patient intranet), it’s also possible to implement without running afoul of HIPAA as well.

As always, if your healthcare institution or hospital would like help improving SEO, understanding their audience, or building a communications program, contact SHIFT’s healthcare marketing team!

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