Tracking these performance metrics will help improve your hospital's digital marketing outcomes.
With more and more patients using the internet to seek out health-related information, medical marketers must prioritize a strong paid search presence if they want to remain competitive. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can boost website traffic and conversion rates, but unless you’re setting clear objectives and actively measuring and managing your campaigns, it’s unlikely you’ll see a solid ROI.
At the start of any campaign, you should outline a clear set of key performance indicators (KPIs), which will help you define your specific goals and track your progress over the course of the campaign. Here are a few metrics that will help guide you down the path to success.
Every KPI assessment should start with clicks, defined simply as the number of clicks you received on an ad over time. While they aren’t a great indicator of performance on their own, clicks are a great mid-month gut check for ads that are either performing well — and can handle more spend — or ads that aren’t working, which you can pull from use.
2. Click Through Rate (CTR)
The next KPI to check is your click through rate, or the number of clicks you received divided by the total impressions over a defined period of time (usually a month). Remember that what constitutes a good CTR highly depends on your industry; the average CTR for health and medical services is 1.79%, and it may also vary by sector.
3. Quality Score
Whether you know it or not, Google assesses the quality of your campaigns before deciding how much you pay. Every campaign receives a score between one and 10, based upon an ad’s perceived “quality” — e.g., its format, relevance, landing page experience, and anticipated CTR. If your score is a six or below, you’ll pay more per click. If it’s a seven or above, you’ll pay less.
Fortunately, Google makes it easy to find your Quality Score within Google Analytics. As of May 2017, you can even track your score over time to help better determine the causes of improvement or decline.
4. Cost Per Click (CPC)
Your ROI is largely dependent on the price you’re paying for each individual click. CPC can help you determine whether you’re overpaying or underpaying for inventory, as well as identify the source of clicks that are both valuable and inexpensive. To calculate it, divide the total cost of your campaign by the number of clicks the ads received.
5. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Simply put, your CPA is the price you pay for every new customer acquired.Your CPA will be affected by your Quality Score, as well as the strategy of your campaign. Google offers a handy feature called Target CPA, an automated bid strategy that optimizes conversions at your desired CPA. Once you choose your number, AdWords will construct a strategy that wins bids at or near that CPA, on average.
6. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is far and away the most important metric in PPC advertising, as it’s your best indicator of whether an ad campaign is actually working. To count as a conversion, users must complete a valued action such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or viewing a key page as a direct result of your ad campaign.
7. Impression Share
Many of the markers already discussed evaluate a campaign’s performance by itself, but impression share compares your ads with others. Your impression share is the total number of impressions received divided by the number of impressions you could have received. If your impression share is 40%, for example, you can assume that the other 60% is owned by your competitors.
8. Average Position
Average position is also a comparative metric, and describes which position an AdWords ad is shown in most of the time. Google calculates your ad rank by multiplying your quality score with your maximum cost per impression (CPM). Keep in mind, since this number is an average, your position may have jumped from day to day — higher on some days, lower on others.
There’s a strong temptation to aim for the #1 spot, which is understandable, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee more conversions. Therefore, you shouldn’t use this as your only target indicator.
9. Budget Attainment
Though most digital marketers receive a monthly budget for paid search campaigns, it’s easy to under- or overspend because of bid fluctuations, especially without the benefits of automated bidding. It’s important to know how close you came to your target budget so you can continue — or change — your strategy as necessary. If you bid manually, it can also indicate whether automated bidding would be a worthwhile investment for your organization.
10. Lifetime Value
The last KPI to consider is the lifetime value of the customers obtained through PPC ad campaigns. It’s important to remember that a patient’s lifetime value doesn’t just include the recurring annual revenue from appointments and procedures — it also includes the referrals that they’ll make to friends and family throughout that lifetime. In other words, when a patient acquired via PPC makes two referrals that result in new appointments, they’re effectively doubling their lifetime value. In other words, sometimes the ROI on your campaign will be delayed.
When combined, these KPIs tell a larger story about the success of your ad campaign, more so than any independent metric. But you can — and should — choose to focus on the KPIs that best align with your goals. Since all these measurements are interconnected, improving a few will likely improve the re