Four Tips for Improved Digital Analytics in Pharma Marketing


Contributors: Ben Katz, Principal Digital Strategist
Published on: 29 September, 2016
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With the evolution of digital measurement, we can track and measure any online campaign at a very granular level. With marketing budgets shrinking, this brings increased pressure for brand teams to prove the value of their online marketing efforts and improve performance over time. So while this influx of digital data can provide a rich understanding of your online program performance, it can also lead to several problems often experienced by brand teams, including:

  • Data paralysis – Brand managers may become overwhelmed with the sheet volume of data they receive, and find themselves unable to process the data or put it to use. The huge volumes of data generated by digital campaigns often demands a database to store and sift it. In addition, receiving multiple reports from different partners at varying cadences can make it challenging to put all the pieces together.
  • Unclear or contradictory results – Once the data is processed, some metrics may show improvement while others show decline. These contradictions make it difficult to interpret the results and take action based on the findings.
  • Data separation – Marketing data is often stored in many different locations, including Excel reports, dashboards, databases, and third-party tools. This separation makes it difficult to gather a holistic view of performance across the various tactics, websites, and channels used. The segregation of this data also prevents development of deeper insights and cross-channel learnings.
  • Lack of an independent view – Analysts working with the data may sometimes be involved with campaign creation, and therefore have a stake in the outcomes of the results. This can foster unintended bias and may skew interpretations of results.

The good news is that there are ways to address these challenges. While not all brands will immediately achieve a full understanding of their digital ROI, here are a few tips to improve your digital measurement:

  • Align success metrics with brand goals – Analytics and reporting should always stem from the brand’s digital strategies and objectives. Therefore, it is important to create key success metrics that measure the performance of these objectives to drive a greater understanding of how marketing efforts are working achieving your goals. Since the ultimate goal of prescribing often cannot be directly attributed back to online campaigns, marketers should use proxy metrics that reflect the closest online action related to their goal. For example, if your goal is to drive patients to a doctor’s office, you can track the percent of website visitors who download the doctor discussion guide as your key success metric. Be sure your analytics partner is also tagging your campaigns and websites properly, so that these key success metrics are tracked and can be attributed to specific campaigns and channels.
  • Use efficiency metrics – Different campaigns and marketing channels will have large variances in the volumes of engagement they drive. This variance depends on the tactic, spend levels, creative, and the message of the ad. Given these differences, it is important to use efficiency metrics rather than volume metrics to enable apples-to-apples comparison of results across channels and tactics. By using percentages instead of raw numbers, marketers can impartially view the differences in campaigns across their ecosystem. For example, if a marketers’ goal is to increase registrations, it may be more meaningful to measure registration rate (the percent of total visitors who register) when comparing campaigns.
  • Segmentation enables deep insights – Once you have your key efficiency metrics selected, these measures must be segmented in order to glean insights and learnings from the data. Whether by marketing channel, campaign, creative, message, audience, or trending across time, segmentation reveals to marketers what is working and what’s underperforming.
  • Tie online action to offline success – It is often difficult for pharma marketers to attribute their ultimate goal of prescribing back to the online campaigns that may have influenced that prescription. However, many advances have been made in aiding this connection in the past few years. One way to help draw the connection between online pharma efforts and offline success is through a co-pay card program, thereby matching registration to redemption through a patient-specific de-identified ID. There are also a number of third-party data matching vendors that can tie digital exposure to data sources such as insurance claims data.

To learn more about DRG’s marketing analytics effectiveness services, please visit our Marketing Effectiveness area.