A blog exploring pharmaceutical relationship marketing, emarketing and innovation with a focus on rare disorders.
The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

Listening Through Your Web Data

Posted by | 1:33pm on Monday, February 4, 2008

The more you dig deep, the more you can discover, and the more you can discover, the better listeners you will be. 

Traditionally, listening to your patients and caregiver audiences occurs through market research, focus groups, surveys and the like. While still important initiatives, these can be costly and time consuming. Moreover, market researchers have to jump through hoops in an attempt to get data that is not skewed by user psyche.

Fortunately, we now have web analytics to add to the picture. Though it will not complete the entire picture of a patient profile, it does offer some valuable and actionable insight with relative simplicity.

The internet has evolved to a place where users not only receive information, but also leave information, all kinds of valuable information about themselves and their peer groups.

Your potential patients are leaving information about themselves with every click. It’s likely that you already have an analytics tool in place, but the amount of data may be overwhelming. Here are a few metrics that will help you pull out patient and caregiver needs.

Top viewed pages:

This metric will tell you what pages are most visited by your users. For example, the sleeping aid, Lunesta has a page entitled, “Lunesta and Dependency“. If this page is among the top viewed pages, one may infer that addiction to sleeping aids is of great concern to patients, and marketing executives can act accordingly by creating more robust messaging about how Lunesta is a non-narcotic.

Referring Search Phrases:

A referring search phrase is a word or series of words people have searched to get to your website. Some examples of search phrases for lung cancer may be, ‘lung cancer’, ‘cure for lung cancer’, or ‘lung cancer treatment’.

This is more of a characterization of a visit than a metric, but no less valuable. Referring search phrases reveal what language your patients speak in. Unfortunately, it also tells us what poor spellers we are – which, by the way, is also important. Even poor spellers need healthcare, right? There are ways of helping them find you, which is another conversation about search engine marketing…

Click-Through Rate:

The click-through rate is calculated by dividing the number clicks on a specific link by the number of times that link was viewed. For example, let’s assume you have a button on your therapy’s home page that says, “Sign Up for a free trial”. It has been viewed 100 times in the last week, but only clicked on by 2 people, you would not only have a click-through rate of 2%, but you also have a patient audience who’s not interested in your free trial.

It is important to note that this only tells you what’s happening. The patient is not interested. To discover the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ requires some further investigation, which is another conversation about user testing and online intelligence…

Bounce Rate:

The bounce rate has been hailed by Avinash Kaushik as sexiest metric ever. It’s simple and immediately actionable. Rather than tell you what your patients need, the bounce rate tells you that what you’re giving them, they don’t need.

The bounce rate is simply the number of visits that either had a single page view* or stayed for less than 15 seconds divided by the total number of visitors.

*A single page-view is not necessarily an unsuccessful visit, depending on the goal of the site. For example, www.nytimes.com may consider a single page view a success if the user got what they came for and that would be to read one article.

Starting with these four metrics, see what interesting insight you can gain from your patients’ behavior. The more you dig deep, the more you can discover, and the more you can discover, the better listeners you will be. And we all know that being a good listener is the cornerstone of a good relationship.

(Image courtesy of practicalowl via Flickr)

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

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