What Is Big Data Analytics & Its Role in Healthcare Marketing

Updated on January 14, 2019

By Ajay Prasad

ajay prasad

Big data analytics is primarily used for uncovering hidden patterns, correlations, and trends in areas related to finance, clinical, administrative, and operations in any organization. However, it can also provide revealing insights into your patients’ behaviors, actions, and sentiments that can help you accomplish your healthcare marketing goals.  

According to a study by Dell, big data analytics can help organizations garner competitive advantage, customer growth and retention by providing better targeting of marketing efforts, optimization of ad spend, social media marketing, and much more. This trend is on the rise for organizations around the world, including the healthcare industry.   

What Is Big Data Analytics in Healthcare? 

Big data analytics—when talking in terms of understanding its use in marketing your practice—is the process of examining large and varied data sets of patients to identify their needs and preferences by uncovering trends and patterns, and the unknown correlations. The process looks into the patient data at large that includes their behaviors and sentiments, activities and interests, demographics, etc.

The gained insight is then utilized for different business benefits such as finding new revenue opportunities, pushing effective marketing strategies, better customer service, improved operational efficiencies, and competitive advantages over competitors.  

Where to Access the Big Data    

While the electronic medical & health records (EMRs & EHRs), doctor’s notes & prescriptions, etc., are more tangible sources of information, they can be difficult to access and use for marketing purposes. The less concrete and unconventional sources, such as wearable health monitoring devices, healthcare apps, medical devices, and sensors, can aid in the understanding of your patient experience and health outcomes. However, use of this technology requires an infrastructure and a comprehensive plan to ensure proper health data collection and analysis. 

Individual healthcare practices would need a closer view of patient data to help them understand their patients’ experiences and emotions, and learn about their behaviors, actions, and interests. This data can be used for improving healthcare experiences at their clinics and for highlighting this accomplishment in marketing your practice.     

One of the best places to access such ‘big data’ on your potential and existing patients is through the Analytics dashboard of different online search and social media platforms, such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. These are the platforms that patients use on a regular basis for health inquiries, or for finding treatment centers. As they move across these different channels to find their answers or solutions, the analytics technology of those platforms keep recording each and every aspect of their movements and shows it on a real-time basis through a dedicated dashboard under the administrative section of the related business accounts. 

One of the most common analysis tools is Google Analytics. Most patients usually start their healthcare search on Google and then move on to other platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Google analytics provides audience data about user-interactions with your practice’s website. It provides user data in two building blocks: dimensions and metrics.  

Dimensions are the attributes of data such as the city where the traffic is coming from, the webpage you’re measuring, or the social media channel you’re evaluating. Metrics are the quantitative measurements of those dimensions. For example, if you’re looking at the average age of all the patients who’ve visited your website (dimension), the age range of 25-34 years you’ve recorded would be your metrics. 

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube analytics also provide detailed actionable insights into audience actions and behavior that allow you to create and execute focused marketing campaigns for each platform. 

Different third-party artificial intelligence-enabled tools can also be used to keep a track of the highly-scattered ‘big data’ in the form of patient feedback and comments. These patient comments are scattered across different social and other online platforms – review sites, forums, blog comments, etc. AI-enabled tools use Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to identify and categorize user opinions expressed through comments on each platform. This allows you to get a peek into the overall patient experience regarding your service and practice.    

Implementation in Healthcare Marketing Strategies

Big data analytics provides you with ample opportunities to use the derived actionable insights for executing result-driven marketing strategies & campaigns. Let’s have a look how it can improve your healthcare marketing efforts and outputs: 

  • Optimized Website: Your website is the primary touchpoint for your patients. With data analytics, you can learn how your patients are interacting with your site and make changes accordingly. That’s called website optimization based on user preference.  
  • Targeted Advertisements: You can create and run specific marketing campaigns that are optimized for better return on your ad spends by targeting the selected group of patients. Suppose, data analytics shows that a major percentage of your patients are females of a specific age-group, and that most of them use a mobile device to access your website or social media page or profile. In that case, you will know that your advertisements should target women of that specific age-group, and also that a proper content format must be used—video or image ads—to ensure that they are responsive to mobile device screens. 

Data analytics also lets you measure your ad campaigns very closely so that you can immediately initiate any required changes to ensure a better return on your investment.   

  • Relevant Content: Knowing the audience group of your patients, and having behavior and action-based insights on them, allow you to create content that they find relevant and useful, and worth referring to others. This also improves your content’s search result rankings, which as a result also increases your brand’s visibility. Social media is also growing as a major content consumption platform for healthcare. You can ensure you are gaining benefits from your social media platforms by utilizing data analytics to enhance the quality and relevance of content.   
  • Conversion Rate Optimization: Conversion rate optimization or conversion optimization, is the process of increasing the rate at which patients coming to your website take a desired action—filling an appointment form, calling the office, etc. Google Analytics lets you know which pages are driving higher conversion rate and which ones have a low rate. By analyzing the reasons for both, you can make required changes and improve overall conversion for all pages.

Utilizing data analytics into healthcare marketing strategies and campaigns will positively affect your healthcare marketing efforts by increasing their efficiency and output. Healthcare practices should always look for new avenues and opportunities to include data analytics at every step of their healthcare delivery and marketing strategies. 

Ajay Prasad is a healthcare marketing and reputation management expert and founder of GMR Web Team, a healthcare digital marketing agency. He seizes opportunities that can help his clients, mostly healthcare providers to grow their practices. He firmly believes that increasing patient satisfaction, stellar online reviews and robust internet presence are the three pillars of a thriving healthcare business.

You can follow Ajay at:

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.