Measurements vs. Metrics: Useful Marketing Analytics for Your Healthcare Practice

Measurements vs. Metrics: Useful Marketing Analytics for Your Healthcare Practice

It can be overwhelming to measure the success of your healthcare marketing efforts. 

Whether you’re trying to increase awareness about your practice, schedule more appointments or encourage people to download your health app, you must focus on the right data when analyzing digital results. 

After all, that analysis will guide your future marketing decisions and, ultimately, your revenue.

There are two questions you can ask yourself to find the most helpful analytics data to grow your practice:​

  1. Is this number a measurement or a metric?
  2. Is this metric a performance metric or an outcome metric?

You’ll grow your healthcare practice by focusing on performance metrics over time.

Measurement vs. Metric

What’s the difference between a measurement and a metric?

Measurements in Healthcare Digital Marketing

A measurement is a data point at a single point in time. This includes measurements such as:

  • How many people visited your website this month
  • How many appointments were scheduled online last quarter
  • How many total active patients your practice has
  • The number of new subscriptions to your health e-newsletter this year

Whether you’re a dentist, therapist, hospice care provider or something else, these types of numbers are important in reaching your healthcare practice’s goals. However, they must be put into a larger context to be actionable and to spark improvement. 

That’s where metrics come in.

Metrics in Healthcare Digital Marketing

A metric puts your measurements into context. For example:

  • The change in website traffic compared to last month
  • How many appointments were schedule online last quarter compared to the same quarter last year
  • The percent increase of total active patients compared to last year
  • The growth in your email list year-over-year

By identifying metrics, you’re able to put your practice’s data into context of the past, which gives insight into the changes you’ve made along the way and encourages improvement. 

If you have a measurement goal to have 50 appointments scheduled online each month, there’ll be no incentive for improvement if your team is consistently meeting that goal. However, if you set a metric goal to increase your online appointments by 5% each quarter, your team now has a goal to pursue continual digital growth.

It’s kind of like building strength in the gym. If you have been working for the past year to accomplish a 100-pound power snatch, you’ll be thrilled when you finally do it. What then? Will you be content to perform 100-pound power snatches forever? Of course not! You’ll set your next goal of 105 pounds, then 110 pounds, and so on. There will always be a new goal to continue working toward.

By choosing to focus on metrics over measurements, you’ll continue to grow your healthcare practice’s digital results and revenue.

Outcome Metrics or Performance Metrics?

Now that we understand the difference between measurements and metrics, we must look at the various types of metrics and consider which is the best to use for your practice. 

What Is an Outcome Metric?

An outcome metric looks back at what has already happened.

These outcome metrics are studied after the work is already completed. They can provide useful insight for the next time you do similar work, but they can’t change the result.

Typical outcome metrics are the examples mentioned above: traffic or revenue growth month over month. Knowing what happened to your traffic or revenue compared to previous timeframes is helpful for knowing what to do in the future. 

However, if you don’t have the metric until the month is over, you can’t correct the course and improve that month’s performance.

For mid-stream adjustments, you need performance metrics.

What Is a Performance Metric?

A performance metric measures the key activities that lead to successful outcomes.

Performance metrics are analyzed on an ongoing basis to make sure your work is on track to hit the target. If you don’t reach your performance metrics, you know that you will not meet your outcome metric. Fortunately, performance metrics help you make changes to alter the ultimate outcome.

In the power snatch example above, measuring only the weight on the bar won’t make you stronger. Instead, you must measure and assess all the variables that work together to create — and improve upon — a successful power snatch. For example, if you could work to drop under the bar more quickly, your overall bar weight and strength would also eventually improve.

A typical performance metric would be something like the number of phone calls made to current patients who are due for an appointment in order to reach the outcome metric of increasing the number of appointments each year. If you make enough phone calls, you should reach your goal of appointments set.

Similarly, publishing a specific number of blog posts could be a performance metric that will help you reach your goal of increasing traffic month over month. The more content you share online, the more people will visit (and, take the next step to schedule an appointment online). If you fail to publish fresh educational content, it’s more likely that you will not reach your outcome metric of increased traffic.

At 9 Clouds, we focus on a handful of key performance indicators (KPIs) to help us measure and improve our performance metrics. Learn how to establish your own KPI metrics in the article below.

Why Digital Metrics Matter for Healthcare Marketing

These days, the healthcare journey begins online. Well before patients ever pick up the phone, they are Googling symptoms, clicking ads on Facebook and reading reviews of providers in their area.

Your practice can jump ahead by investing in digital marketing practices that attract, educate and delight patients in your community. By then keeping a keen eye on your metrics and results, your practice will be well-positioned for continual growth.

Data is powerful and works best with a clear target. Knowing if you will hit the target before the end of the month, quarter or year, however, is business-altering.

Get the data your healthcare practice needs by downloading our Performance Benchmarks Report for Healthcare Digital Marketing. We compiled marketing metrics and measurement tools from reputable third-party resources as well as from our own clients to help you see how your own marketing stacks up.

Download Our Healthcare Benchmarks Report »