Understand the True Impact of Your Marketing Investments

By Robin Goldsmith, VP, Provider Solutions, Crossix

Hospitals and health systems spend millions of dollars on digital marketing each year, but many marketers are unable to measure how these efforts impact real-world patient decisions and health outcomes. Digital campaign measurement strategies have long relied on click-through rates, Google Analytics (website visits), and lead tracking (landing pages and vanity 1-800 numbers). However, these proxy metrics miss something significant—insights into health behavior. Without this key information, marketers make very expensive decisions without knowing whether their efforts actually drive new patients to their facilities.

To address this gap, a new measurement standard has emerged that encourages marketers to focus on deeper, audience-centric insights about campaign performance. Brands in consumer-focused industries have long leveraged innovative data analytics to measure offline behaviors driven by digital marketing, and the healthcare industry has finally joined their ranks.

Crossix DIFA™ is now available to hospital and health system marketers. This digital measurement platform allows marketers to leverage actual health data to measure how digital advertising truly impacts patient behavior and the bottom line, all while remaining privacy-safe. For the first time, marketers can address key business questions, such as:

  • Does my digital marketing drive patient visits to my physicians and specialists?
  • Are my digital service line campaigns reaching my target audience?
  • What is my market share among the audience exposed to my marketing?

With these insights and more, marketers can understand the full impact of their marketing, measure the ROI of their investments and determine the cost per new patient acquired. 

For example, a health system in a competitive metropolitan area recently ran a digital marketing campaign for its cardiology service line, with the goal of driving doctor visitations from patients who likely have heart disease. This included patients who needed preventative tests performed, such as EKGs, heart screenings, etc. The overall budget was $450,000, with allocations of $100,000 to programmatic, $250,000 to health-specific websites, and $100,000 to lifestyle websites. Using DIFA, the health system was able to see which publishers were most effective at driving patient visitation specifically to its cardiologists.

As seen in Figure 1, the health system determined that programmatic media drove the most cardiologist visits to their facilities compared to the health-specific and lifestyle publishers. With the added knowledge of the number of visitations, the health system was also able to determine the cost per patient acquisition for each publisher. The programmatic publisher was the most cost-effective, with a $17.58 cost per patient, and the lifestyle publisher had the highest cost at $218.82 per patient. These insights enabled the marketing team to adjust the health system’s digital strategy.

On a larger scale, the health system was also able to determine how effective the cardiology campaign was at driving heart disease patients to their specific clinic vs. the overall market. When comparing the two, the health system learned that they were driving 5.9% of the overall market to their cardiology practice—a remarkable market share in a competitive market.

Additionally, the health system was able to validate their targeting tactics by measuring how many patients reached were diagnosed with heart disease and tying it to cost. Figure 2 shows the programmatic publisher was most cost-effective at reaching patients diagnosed with heart disease ($0.29 per each diagnosed patient reached).

Before investing in DIFA, the health system was only able to validate their marketing efforts by measuring a small number of clicks and the number of website-scheduled appointments. With concrete data on completed visits by real patients, the team was able to prove the value of their campaign.

It is clear that focusing on actual patient activity—not website activity—is changing the way marketers can (and should) measure digital marketing impact. Are you ready to take the next step toward true campaign measurement?

Reach out to me to learn more about how you can enhance your measurement strategy.

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.